Don’t Worry

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to not worry? About anything? I know the Bible tells us not to worry, and we pay lip service to that. But deep down, if you are anything like me, you have a running list of things that you can drag up at a moments notice to worry about. I’ve been reading more about the sovereignty of God. And it strikes me really hard, how foolish worry is. Either God is in control or he isn’t. If he is, then why are we worrying? If he isn’t then yes, we should definitely live our lives in fear and trembling. My reading of the Bible seems to say that actually, Yes, he is in control. So, why the heck am I worrying about everything? 

 

Does he love me or not? We sing the song “Yes Jesus love me…” and smile at our children when they sing it so sweetly. But do we believe it? If Jesus loves me, and he is God, then what on earth do I have to worry about? 

 

I think what scares me, is that we don’t have any promises in the Bible that say we are going to live a life without pain, without hardship, without trials. God doesn’t promise that. He does promise that he will be with us always, that he works all things to good, that he will never leave us or forsake us. But I worry…I don’t want trials and hardships. And I have a hard time seeing how God can be in control and love me when I am suffering. 

 

What if God is using those hardships and trials to change me? What if it’s more important to him that I grow to be more like him than that I stay in a state of constant ease and comfort? That seems very un-American. The American dream is to pursue wealth and happiness. Going through suffering that changes our character and strengthens us and makes us more like Jesus, just doesn’t seem right. Not very loving. God’s must have lost control somewhere along the way.

 

My dream is to live a life without worry. To be able to confidently say, God’s got this. He’s in control. I can trust him. He loves me. 

 

No matter what the circumstances, I want to walk in his perfect peace. 

 

Lord may it be so. 

 

Though I am secretly worried about what trials and hardships I will have to overcome before I finally get it! I guess it comes down to faith. And the Bible says that we can ask God to strengthen our faith…:”Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” 

 

I guess that’s my prayer tonight as I write this. Lord I believe. Help my unbelief! 

 

 

Fat Fridays: Confessions

Confession.

I am addicted to food. Not in the good way that everyone is, where you need food to keep you alive. No, I have a dependency on food to help me feel better when I’m stressed, or angry, or fidgety, or worried, or bored. I do not use food to keep me alive. I use food to alter my mood. In fact, the foods that I choose to alter my mood are slowly killing me. And I know this. And then life gets really stressful and I reach for the junk, the sugar and highly processed foods because, for a couple minutes, they make me feel better.

 

Confession.

 

I am not superwoman. I read all these accounts of men and women who have struggled with weight for years, and then one day, they just decide to stop. They exert their willpower and inner strength and somehow manage to completely alter their course in life. I keep thinking that I can be one of those people. I will exert my amazing will power. I will summon up my inner strength. I will take amazing Before and After pictures and wow the world with my amazing feat of weight loss. Look at me, I’m so amazing….Except that, I’m not. Amazing. The longest I’ve been able to exert my will power is about 9 months and then I give in to the old cravings and the old lifestyle and I’m back to square one. 

 

Confession.

 

I am not really smart and wise when it comes to health and nutrition. I keep thinking that I will just do enough research, read enough books, and then, Voila! I will know exactly what I should and shouldn’t eat. When I should and shouldn’t eat. What supplements I should take every day. I’ll figure out the exact perfect exercise plan and system. I’m smart. I just need to do a little research. In fact, I actually am as gullible as the next person, just as susceptible to the current trends as everyone else. I have read and heard so many different diets and health plans that my head is literally spinning. I have NO idea who is right. Keto, low-carb, vegan, calorie counting, low-fat, carb counting, portion control. Who knows? Gentle walking, brisk walking, interval training, yoga, pilates, weight lifting, all of the above. Who knows? 

 

Confession.

 

I am at the end of myself. I need to change. My weight keeps getting worse. My health is getting worse. My quality of life is getting worse. I do not want to stay in this place. And I don’t know how to get out of this place. I am thoroughly stuck. 

 

Conclusion.

 

I just went and read through the 12 Steps for AA. I don’t think I knew how wrapped up in God those steps are. 

 

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 
  4. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 
  5. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 
  6. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 
  7. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 
  8. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 
  9. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 
  10. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 
  11. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 

 

Copyright  1952, 1953, 1981 by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.) All rights reserved. Rev. 8/16 

 

I think what I need is a meeting for food addicts. Do they exist? If they don’t, they should. 

 

Car Trips, Sick Kids, and the Effects of Worry

This week has been a bit tough. My husband has been gone for a whole week (gets home tonight, yay!). He and my oldest son went on a road trip to Montana where my son is going to be at a Bible School for a year. They took a bit of time so they could visit Yellow Stone National Park and camp along the way. It was their “We Did It” trip that we are trying to have with each of our high school graduates, celebrating their success at graduating, and our success at keeping them alive for this long. They had a good time and I’m glad that they were able to take the trip. But, it’s been a long week. 

First of all…My son who just left has a driver’s license. I am now taking over all the driving that he did for our family. Yikes. I had no idea I had become so reliant on him to drive my other teenagers to all their events. It was usually not a big deal for him because he was attending the same events, but still, I had no idea. I am suddenly living in my car. 

Second…My two year old waited one day after his dad left, and then proceeded to get some kind of stomach problems that has had him throwing up every night and having crazy-crazy diarrhea. Also occurring at night. During the day, he runs around laughing and playing, eats ok, has a couple diapers that are bad, but then they become fine. Then night time hits and once again he is projecting body fluids everywhere. I finally took him to the doctor today and her opinion is the initial bout of stomach sickness messed up the balance of his guts and so now we’ve got to work on getting that back into order. 

In the meantime, I’m walking around half-dead because all night long I’ve been jerking awake wondering if he’s about to throw up on me. Because, of course, a sick baby’s place is with his mom, in her room, on her bed. The first couple nights I didn’t know he was going to get sick and he came and found me in the night in distress. After cleaning him up, I laid him down next to me in my bed. Watching over him. Making him feel safe and secure. Except that I was then a nervous twit all night. Every time he would cough or sneeze or moan or even roll over, I was leaping from the bed, ready to run him to the bathroom as fast as possible. I had special blankets laid out on my bed. Here, this is your blanket. If you throw up or your diaper leaks, it can all happen on this easy-to-wash blanket. Except, of course, he didn’t want to stay on his special blanket and he would keep rolling over and snuggling up to me and I would just lay there, eyes wide open, feeling like I was holding a ticking bomb. Needless to say, I am on the third day of having to strip my bedding and wash it. 

Third reason it’s been a rough week…Today I went down to the gas station to buy a container of Gatorade for the sick boy.  I opened the little fridge door at the gas station, reached in to grab the drink I wanted to buy, and something went POP in my neck and I was suddenly in very bad pain. Because, you know, reaching for a drink is very strenuous on the body. Good grief. So I then spent the morning heating and icing my shoulder as the pain continued to spread. It has eased up a bit as long as I don’t turn my neck to the right or the left. Who needs to turn their neck anyway? 

I’m trying to have a sense of humor about all this, but I’ll admit my stress levels have been a bit high. I find myself worrying a lot. It’s very possible that my neck popped because my muscles have been in a constant state of tension from trying to carry the weight of the world. 

As I sat here icing and heating my shoulder, God reminded me of something. This is his family. These are his kids. This is his house. He’s in control. He’s got this. Me getting all tense and stressed is not solving a single problem. He has helped us through all kinds of crazy problems in the past, and the current things I’ve been worrying about, he’s going to take care of those too. Right now, all I need to do is take it one moment at a time. It’s going to be ok. 

So, I’m going to sit here and rest my neck. Get my kids to help with the immediate chores and just try to relax for a bit. God is good. I can rest. 

 

The Tooth Fairy (Revisited)

I’ve had a total of four teeth lost by children in this house the past week. It seems like a good time to pull out my tooth fairy post that I shared on Facebook a while back, but I still want to get it on my blog site. Enjoy.

Our family doesn’t do Santa Claus. We don’t do the Easter Bunny either. But, for some inexplicable reason, we have kept hold of the Tooth Fairy. I would like to go on record right now and say that being the tooth fairy has to have been one of the most difficult parts of parenting. I am the loser parent who is always forgetting that her child eagerly put his tooth under his pillow, and then in the morning they come down crying, disappointed because the tooth fairy never came. I can tell you that there is no feeling lower than seeing your child cry because you forgot to sneak into their room in the middle of the night, swipe a tooth, and replace it with a dollar. (I will blame this on sleep-deprivation, short-term memory loss, and the fact that I’m usually asleep before all my kids have finally settled down) And so, I have gotten very creative with my excuses. “Oh honey, sometimes the tooth fairy comes later in the morning! Just go put that tooth back under your pillow and check again this afternoon. I’m sure she’ll show up soon!” And this is from ME. The mom who believes in total honesty with her children, who never sugar-coats anything with euphemisms, who has up-front explained where babies come from when her 6 year old inquired about her pregnancy. 

 

When it comes to the tooth fairy, I am suddenly a pathological liar. I have even written letters of apology to one of my kids, “from the tooth fairy”, because she was late…again. 

 

Of course, my older kids have done everything in their power to catch the tooth fairy. Levi once strung his entire room with yarn, creating a web around his bed with lots of various objects balancing on the web so that when the yarn was moved, everything would fall off. I left that challenge up to Andy. Then there was the time Anna tied a bundle of books over her pillow with the string attached in such a way that if someone touched her pillow, the books would fall on her head and wake her up. I thought I could outsmart that one but, alas, the books fell right on her head as I was leaning over her. I panicked, dropped to the floor and rolled under her bed. Frozen, my heart thumping, just waiting to be discovered. And the silly kid didn’t even wake up. As I lay under the bed, it occurred to me that perhaps, this tooth fairy business was getting a bit out of hand. 

 

I have gotten lazier as the years have passed. Sometimes I’ll get Anna to be the tooth fairy for me. She rolls her eyes but does the deed. Today though, I had a real moment of inspiration. My 11 year old told me he had just lost a tooth. He expressed his doubt in the existence of the tooth fairy and I told him that since he is now heading into the teen years, the tooth fairy handles things differently. Since he doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy, the tooth fairy won’t come. BUT, since I still believe in the tooth fairy, he can go and put his tooth on MY dresser, and in the morning it will be replaced with a dollar. I am a genius. 

 

Fat Fridays: Update

Hey Everyone,

So, I haven’t posted here in a while. I’m just going to give you a quick update. I’m not done with Fat Fridays. I plan to keep posting. But, I always want this site to be honest and upfront. And Honestly, I don’t feel like being honest and upfront with the world right now. I’m in full-blown retreat at the moment trying to figure out what is wrong with me and why can’t I just get on board with health and start making good changes and just lose this weight. What’s wrong with me?

Right now I have nothing to say.  And I don’t want to lie or keep on boring you with all my failures. So, I’m stopping for a little while until I can get my equilibrium back. I hope to be back soon.

Until then…

 

Emptying the Nest

It is the end of an era. My oldest son is leaving home tomorrow. He’s off to Montana for a year-long bible school. He worked really hard to get to this point. He managed to graduate a year early from high school so that he could have a year in between college to do something different, take some time to figure out his direction. I am overwhelmingly proud of him. He worked two jobs this summer, stayed connected to the church, started dating a very sweet girl. What more can you ask of your child? And now he’s leaving. And I am now swamped with a whole bucket-load of differing emotions. 

If you think about it, this whole motherhood thing kind of sucks. You take these newborn babies and pour your life into them. Every decision you make for the next 18 years takes them into consideration. Will this be good for my kids? And then they start growing up and developing independence and you run the tightrope walk of trying to make sure they are safe and also giving them the space they need to learn how to take care of themselves. And then they grow up, they learn everything you expected them to learn in their time at home…and then they leave. And it kind of feels like your heart is walking out the door…Except, this was the whole point. From day one you have been working to get them to Here. Where they can now step out, fully equipped, and start living their own lives. 

And there are tears because you can’t believe you made it to this point. There were definitely some moments along the way where I was positive my child would never make it to adulthood. And you are kind of in awe at God’s mercy and grace that got you and your child to this point. And so there are tears. 

And then there is relief. After all, part of leaving the nest is outgrowing the nest. There’s not enough room here for my mostly-adult child to become a full adult. He needs some space. It’s hard to stretch your wings and learn to fly when you keep bumping into your parents. And it’s hard to get on with parenting your other kids when there’s an overgrown chick bumping into you all the time. And so I am relieved that he has found a good place to spend this next year. And I’m excited for him, excited for all the adventures he’s going to have and all the things he’s going to learn. 

And he’ll be back. Christmas, summers, transition times when he just needs a safe place to land while he shifts gears.

My oldest daughter is also taking off in a couple weeks for a year in Alaska. 

Needless to say, my heart is doing that crazy thing where it is swelling up with pride and joy and at the same time, breaking in half. 

Man. Being a parent is painful. 

 

 

The Art of Mental Health

I’ve been thinking some about mental health. Our family has been going through a lot of big transitions these last couple weeks as my kids have all started back to school. My oldest son is getting ready to head off to Montana for a year, my oldest daughter is home for a quick visit after her summer in Alaska and then she heads back to Alaska for another year. 

Trying to adjust to a new schedule, new routines, new family dynamics, has been exhausting. My body’s response to lots of stress and change is to kick in the insomnia. So, lately, somewhere around 3am, I wake up and can’t go back to sleep for hours. I think I probably could go back to sleep easier if my thoughts would just stop. Racing thoughts. Anxious thoughts. Little worries that quickly turn into life-threatening tragedies. And I’m laying there just wishing my brain would shut up and go to sleep. 

I have been fighting anxiety and panic attacks since I was nineteen years old. I’ve learned some things over the years. When I’m in a full-blown panic attack I find that reciting my Creed of Beliefs out loud helps things to calm down. Writing down all the things I’m afraid of and then writing on top of those things scriptures where God has promised to take care of these particular worries is also a big thing I can do. But usually my anxiety doesn’t reach those levels. Usually I can keep it under control. 

It was only this week that I connected some dots with my behavior. I suddenly realized that some of my life-long habits are actually ways of controlling anxiety. This week I have been carrying around a book of Sudoku puzzles (very fun math puzzles!). When I’m sitting in a room with all my kids clamoring around me, telling me about their days at school, playing with each other, asking for me to watch them do a trick or look at this picture they colored, I sit there and work on my Sudoku puzzles. Whenever they want my attention I look up and give it to them, but as soon as they’ve moved on, I go back to my puzzle. So, this week, I suddenly realized that when I’m doing Sudoku all my racing thoughts go on pause. It’s like, somehow, doing Sudoku uses enough brain power that it distracts those thoughts, but I can still listen to the conversations around me. 

After this major AH-HAH moment, I started wondering what else I do that has the same effect. Playing the piano definitely does that, though it takes too much brain power to be able to still listen to other people in the room. But playing Bach is kind of like pouring soothing oil on a raw wound. It creates order out of chaos. 

Reading books is also a huge one. I have been a bookworm since I was in Second Grade. But, I can read a book in the room with my family and still hear what’s going on around me, and stop reading and engage and then go back to reading. 

Then there are the times when I can’t do these activities because I’m driving or in a meeting or some other place where those things would be frowned upon. Well, then I usually have some story that I’m creating in my head and I run the story in my mind, kind of like a movie, making it up as I go along. 

I’ve always thought I was a little weird. Why do I do these things? I have to admit, realizing that these habits are actually ways that I manage anxiety is actually a bit of a relief. I feel like instead of being a bit weird and anti-social, I have actually just stumbled on ways of being a bit more mentally healthy. And it didn’t involve any illegal substances or harmful practices. Yay! 

Of course, it would be nice if those racing thoughts would just stop. And I find that I engage less in my Habits when I’m doing well spiritually, physically, mentally. But, I’ve also discovered that I can’t control everything that happens in life. Sometimes I have lots of time and energy to focus on being healthy. But other times life starts throwing a bunch of curve balls and instead of “living victoriously” it’s more like holding on to the roller coaster with an icy grip and just waiting for those big flips and turns to be over before you hit another straight stretch. 

I thank God for his mercy and grace that helps me to soar high, living the Great Life. And I thank God for his mercy and grace that helps me to just hang on and survive when life is hard. And I’m thankful for the coping mechanisms he’s helped me to find without my even realizing it.