The One Thing That Every Mom Needs in Order to be Successful

The One Thing That Every Mom Needs In Order to be Successful

It’s a bold thing to do to claim that I know the 1 thing that every mom needs to be successful but I do.  It’s not always intuitive and I often forget.  Sometimes I let other pressures and ideals get in the way and it can seem like they are more important for a bit but they aren’t.

It all comes back to this one thing.  It is what makes any mom, in any situation, successful.  It could be the sleep deprived mom, of a little one, that hasn’t taken a shower in days.  It could be the mom, with a whole handful of kids, that cannot seem to keep from losing it whenever things start to seem out of control.  It could be to mom of the teen that is questioning their faith and beliefs.  It could be the mom who has a grown son or daughter whose life hasn’t turned out as she’d hoped.

Really any and every mom just needs one thing.  There’s an issue though.  She doesn’t just need to be able to give this one thing.  She needs to know it, accept it and believe it herself, about herself.  It needs to fill her and be what she is made of.  It needs to be so deep in her that it spills out of her. Otherwise, she would be trying to give what she doesn’t have.  There is another source and unless she is tapped into it she can never give it fully.

It mends broken hearts and rights wrongs.  It is good and perfect.  It covers a multitude of wrongs.  It is the source of patience.  It never gives up and endures all things.

Sounds like a mom’s dream right?  I’m guessing you know what I’m talking about by now.  Yes, it’s love. Simple, plain old love.

It almost sounds so easy that we might be tempted to move on and not pursue this idea further but it’s worth sitting here for a moment and really thinking about what it means to be a mom filled with and overflowing with love.

Love.

It is what I need to be any good at this mothering thing.

I need it.  I need to sit in it, wait in it, accept it, let it fill me.

I need to know that I am loved.  I need to believe it in the deepest parts of who I am.

It can feel selfish to take the time to be filled with love.  It can seem self-serving to come to accept yourself, believe in God’s love and live life confident of being loved but it’s not. It is the only way to really love your children.

So, if you struggle with patience, struggle with understanding your child, can’t figure out why you feel so drained, or don’t want to play with your kids much – take time to be filled with love today.

Ask God to speak His love to your heart and fill you to overflowing. Take time to hear His Word about His love for you. It is deep and abiding and He really wants you to use it as your source.  Meditate on it, steep in it, dwell in a place where you believe it and receive it fresh each day.  If you do it cannot help but fill you up to overflowing and gush out on your children.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.Ephesians 3:17-19

Do you feel loved today? What is a way that you can fill up on love today so that you can become an even more excellent mother?

How to Cure Panic Attacks

How to cure panic attacks

If you’ve ever had a panic attack you instantly want to know how to cure panic attacks.  If you haven’t ever had a panic attack let me explain one so that you will understand just how terrifying they are.  They can come out of nowhere suddenly.  Whether something fearful happens or not they can creep up on you with startling quickness. As soon as it starts your heart begins palpitating and racing. It can feel as though your chest will explode with the electricity of your heart beat.  Your mind wants to tell you that surely this is a heart attack.  Your breathing becomes shallow and at the same time that your heart is beating erratically you just can’t seem to get a breath.  Now you feel like you are suffocating.  Other symptoms may tag along on this wild ride including tightness in your chest, vision blurring, weakness in your body {think week in the knees}.  It feels like your body is just giving up and you are dying.  Panic is an appropriate label for the attack that it is.

I began having these panic attacks 3 years ago after a particularly stressful time in my life as a mother of 6.  I was overworking myself and not well rested.  I was stressed in many areas of life and pushing myself too hard.  These panic attacks came from out of the blue and rocked my world hard.

I started on a journey toward attempting to figure out what they were and how to end them.  My doctor didn’t seem to understand and didn’t help much.  No one seemed to want to talk about them and it really seemed like I was the only one who ever had them. It took me months to actually figure out that they were panic attacks and not some other illness.

Figuring out that they were not harmful in any way took me much longer to figure out.  They sure feel harmful.  I was relieved to find out through reading several posts from doctors online that panic attacks are simply an adrenaline surge that your body gives off.  A person who has panic attacks has a sensitized nervous system that gives off this adrenaline surge in non emergency situations.

Our bodies are designed beautifully when you think about it.  We need a fight or flight response to handle extreme situations and an adrenaline rush does wonders for us when we actually need it.  When we don’t need it and our body falsely triggers one, it causes all of the same symptoms but because we are not fighting or fleeing, we suffer through it while it runs it’s course.

If you have panic attacks I’m assuming that you have had a doctor confirm that your heart is healthy and you don’t have other medical problems causing you heart palpitations or shortness of breath?  If this is the case for you then let me assure you that your body is fine.  A panic attack is not harming you.  I desperately needed to know that and it was hope for me while I was searching for answers.

After two years of sporadic panic attacks I switched doctors and changed my diet drastically.  I began taking Omega 3 regularly and Magnesium Citrate.  Both of these things helped me at first but over time it seemed I would have panic attacks whether I was taking great care of myself or not.

That is when I began to think the answer may be something other that my health.  All along I had been praying for wisdom, asking for prayers from friends and family, reading and studying about fear and asking God to show me roots in my life that needed to be addressed and dealt with for me to overcome fear and panic attacks.

I wouldn’t have characterized myself as a fearful person. I knew fearful people and I wasn’t one of them.  But all it took was stressful situations to set me into fear and more frequent attacks. Fear is sneaky too.  It hides in the most hidden places and even if you don’t think you are fearful any fear in your life is an open door.

After a particularly hard time I came across an audio book by Claire Weekes called Pass Through Panic.  I listened to it and she confirmed that panic attacks are not harmful.  Ms. Weekes was a general practitioner so I was confident that she had experience with patients who had panic attacks and anxiety disorders.  After more research I discovered that Ms. Weekes had suffered from panic attacks herself.

The amazing thing to me and the incredibly counterintuitive advice she gives to one suffering a panic attack, is to lean into it. All I ever want to do when I experience an attack is to fight it.  My whole body tenses and I fight with everything I have, praying that it will end quickly.  Sometimes they do and other times they linger.

This advice floored me.  Feel the panic?! Accept it? Lean into it?

But this is where the cure comes.  Over all of the months that I had panic attacks I was trying desperately to gain control, to be in control.  I hate the crazy out-of-control feeling of a panic attack.  Hate it!  I would read the Bible, memorize verses on scripture and quote them while going through the attacks.  Most of the time fear stayed and peace seemed distant.

I would read Isaiah 26:3 where it says

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

And I would try desperately to keep my mind on God.  It didn’t seem to work.

I would quote Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

But anxiousness kept coming.

So when Claire Weeks said to lean into an attack I wondered “Does this line up with God’s Word?”  Could this work?

I went back to the scriptures and discovered a few things.  They’re all about what God will do and not what I do.  He keeps me in perfect peace. He guards my heart and mind with peace. When I control and fight I am not leaning into Him and His work.

John 16:33 AMP says

 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

He has deprived the world of power to harm me. It’s not my own doing.

Again Isaiah 41:10 AMP says

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

He does the work!

As I began to realize that I was looking at this fear thing in a works based way and not a grace thing I was overwhelmed with God’s goodness.

I had been having panic attacks very frequently at this point and I could try this “leaning into them” quickly.  The first time it felt wrong and sickening and I didn’t know if I could do it.  But I surrendered to the waves of adrenaline.  Surrendered to my God bringing me perfect peace and not striving for it myself.

And it subsided quickly. Instead of feeling scared and overwhelmed that I had had yet another panic attack I felt tremendous peace that I could endure them.

Ms. Weekes reason for leaning into the attacks is so that what she calls “second fear” cannot prolong the attack.  She shares that the panic comes and is the first wave of fear but because of the symptoms, we begin to dread what is happening and the bewilderment of not knowing if we are okay takes us into a new wave that prolongs the adrenaline release.

I had the opportunity to practice this embracing of panic attacks several times in a short period of time due to sickness and stress that I was under.  I am amazed at how well it works to quickly dissolve the attack.

But what about a cure?  We don’t just want to get through the attacks we want a cure right?  Ms. Weekes shared that it takes time to retrain your body not to respond with adrenaline surges but that this “leaning in” will eventually retrain your nervous system and you can be cured.

I think it may be more complicated than that.  I think there are deeper roots of fear that cause our systems to work improperly in the first place.

I have found on my journey that God was wanting to do a deep work in my heart.  Fear grips a heart from early on in our lives and if we don’t ever expose the lies of fear they don’t just stay but they build.  Fear often manifests itself as control.  It’s either something that controls you or you use it to control others and circumstances.

To be out of control, to a fearful person, can feel like the most awful thing on earth. But the truth is we are not in control, cannot be in control and the more we try to control the deeper we are entangled in being controlled. Fear is battling God for control of you.  In order to let God have all of you and be in control you have to free fall, let go of control and surrender to Him.

When you surrender to not being in control and trust that there is a good, powerful and near God who is in complete control then you will have peace. Then He keeps you in His perfect peace.  Then your body begins to align with that peace and panic attacks have no place in your life. 

God wants to make you fearless. It’s a good and perfect gift that He wants each one of us to walk in. No fear. It’s often a journey and you cannot get there unless you let go and trust Him completely.

I’ve been learning to let go.  To free fall.  To surrender all control.  To live in a place of complete peace.  My panic attacks have subsided.  They no longer have a place. For the first time in years I feel great.

If you are battling panic attacks I hope that you feel some hope after reading my story.  I pray that you overcome fear and are healed. What are some areas of fear and control that you can let go of today?

 

That time I died

I wrote this post a few months ago and just feel like it’s for now.  If you are in a difficult place I hope that it encourages you.

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I’ve eased in and out of what I can only call depression more times than I’d like to count in the past few months.  Happy elation is closely followed with deep sadness over this lonely feeling that weighs my chest down.

I have been fighting this out of control depression with all of my know how and yet it seems beyond my fixing.

I knew that my numbers were off on the tests that the doctor ordered.  That explained a lot but did it really?  It’s the thoughts that moved me so readily from lightheartedness to lifelessness.

The theme in my mind is that I really just want to live. Fully live and as soon as I start feeling like I’m there I will shrink back into this hopelessness.  How do I ever get to living when I am so weighed down?

My relationship with God has felt different these days, it is less like we’re walking hand in hand and more like He’s watching me walk saying “which path will you take?  One leads to life. Now figure it out.”

I know He’s good and I know He’s loving and it’s not as if He’s leaving me to myself but at the same time – it was.  He was letting me choose.

I close my eyes tight on this day with the weight over my mind and stirring thoughts in my head.  I want to be free of this.  I want to really live.

“to die is gain”

“We are crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.”

I feel like I’ve died to myself a hundred times but this time I imagine myself with my own arms outstretched with nails in my hands.  I die so that Christ might live.  So that His light, that cannot be overcome, will be in and shine through me.

Hope

It’s simple really.  Abundant life, gain, it requires death.

My eyes close again and I let it overtake me.  Tears come now but not the kind that come from depression but the kind that are freedom bought.  I die to myself, my plans, my life and I’m raised back up with new life.

I give up the struggle…to be and do and have and to breath. I give in and just am. Death overtakes me but instead of darkness it is light.  The light of Christ. Behold I am a new creation. Old things have passed away.

This means that I can live life fully, abundantly, not conforming to the patterns of this World but conforming to the patterns of my Jesus with life and truth as my companion. And God smiles and says “I loved watching you make this choice. I delighted in you trusting me enough to die to you. Now, you will really live.”

I don’t want to make light of depression with this post.  For me a few months of ups and downs does not equate to the challenges that depression can bring.  But there is hope in dying to yourself even in your depression.  It surrenders your control and gives it back to God.  Even if that means walking through sadness and tears I promise you that these ashes will be turned to beauty if you will just cling to Him.  Don’t cling to overcoming depression but cling to the One who has already Overcome depression.  He is your Healer and your strength.  He may have some things to work out in you even here in these moments when all feels hopeless.  It’s often in these moments, our weakest ones, that He is holding us the closest and healing deep wounds.  Let Him work, sweet friend.  I’m praying for you!

 

Overcoming What Scares You

It’s taken me a long time, too long, to come crashing down.  I remember the moment clearly when I finally agreed that I had no control over my life. I had fought accepting the idea with fierceness but in that moment my life seemed to be upside down. If there were a black belt in attempting to be in control I would have had one.

I’m okay though.  Don’t worry about me and how I am doing now that I know I am not in control.  It’s better this way.

We do this thing in life where we agree with lies. It starts from the earliest of ages. For me it was probably around the age of 8 or so in a moment that I felt so helpless and out of control that I vowed right then and there that I would protect myself, that I would be in control from then on.

The funny thing is that, even when I thought I was, I was never really in control.  I was being controlled – by a lie – that I could protect myself and provide for myself and therefore be in control.

Waves of freedom washed over me when I realized that I was taking the place of what a good Daddy wanted to be for me.  My heavenly father wants control, all of it.  And He’s good to us with His power and control.

We attempt to control each other, our children, our spouses, our situations… For some moments it can seem that we have control but when the hidden things are revealed we are left holding on to ropes that we have bound around each other with manipulation and they are made up of only fear.

Control is always and only about fear.

Control is always and only about fear

Letting go is crazy scary. It’s like skydiving and not really knowing if the parachute will open.  But can I tell you what it means?  It means fear gets ripped to shreds and it has no way to grip you any more.

Imagine no more fear.

I believe that fear is rampant in our lives. It’s in our parenting, in our marriages, in our kids, in our ministries.  It keeps us from doing what we are called to do.  It paralyzes us when bad things happen because, since we are in control, it is up to us to fix the problem.

Yep, I just exposed control and it’s dirty little friend – fear.

Think about it for a moment.  What scares you to death?  Your kids falling off the deep end?  You can’t control that.  Getting a life threatening disease? You cannot control that.  Your spouse cheating on you?  You cannot control that.  What other people think of you?  You cannot control that.

Why not let go?  How about we quit talking about living by faith {while secretly controlling everything in our lives} and jump out of the plane?

Why is it worth it?  Because God’s in control.  And He really is in control, not like you and I think we are in control but really and truly.  When we let go of control He can do some amazing things in and through us!

What does it look like to not be in control?  It looks like falling to your death.  The leap out of the plane is the hardest part.  Once you begin to see what it’s like to surrender to your tandem jumper you begin to gain faith.  You start to lose yourself in the fall and actually enjoy it.  The view is incredible and the adrenaline rush pushes you to do things you never imagined you could.

Analogies aside I want you to know that God is good.  It’s Who He is and He never changes.  If you were lied to, like I was as a child, and believed in a difficult moment that you couldn’t trust others, that you needed to be in control and protect and provide for yourself, I want you to invite Him to heal your heart.  It’s as simple as repenting for believing the lie(s) and asking Him to fill your heart with the truth.

So who’s gonna jump?  I’m already out here waiting for you.  Let’s do this thing together!

An Invitation to Dream {Join me at Allume}

 

An invitation to dream

What do you do when you are waiting for your dreams to come to life? The temptation is to become discouraged when things don’t seem to be happening and you may be tempted to lay your dreams down.

Don’t give up though! There is something we are supposed to do in the waiting and there are ways to stay motivated and encouraged. Come join me today over at Allume where I am extending to you an invitation to dream and keep on dreaming.