I stopped seeing the beauty

So if you know me, you know how obsessed I’ve been with my kids over the years.

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You’ve seen the thousands of pictures I’ve posted of them

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You’ve seen all the heart felt posts about them

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Lately, there hasn’t been much of that. I stopped seeing the beautiful gifts that God has given me and started to see them as burdens that exhaust me

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“I have to get them to bed, finish praying, stop saying all the I Love You’s, so I can go downstairs and clean the kitchen, get stuff ready for tomorrow so I can be prepared to take them to school, be a good mom to them, blah blah blah”

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But am I being a good mom? Am I being a good mom by constantly thinking of the next thing I HAVE to do, in order to be their mom?

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I’ve realized recently that I have been doing this. That I’m constantly exhausted and feel the heaviness of the “burden” of having kids and wondering when the heaviness will release. When will I get out from the rock? Or whatever is on top of me, weighing me down?

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A good friend reminded me that motherhood is not supposed to be easy. We are called to die to ourselves every day and this is the assignment for now. This is just how this season is. Yes, it is tiresome and exhausting, but it’s not going to stop being this way for awhile. Expect it. Stop expecting it to be easy when this job was never meant to be easy

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The more I have expected it to be easy, the more exhausted and frustrated I become at my kids and at the fact that I’m working full time and can’t take care of them the way I WANT to.

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Jesus knew I’d be working full time. He knew I’d have four kids right now, that we’d live in a teeny tiny house with no central heat and a water heater that goes out after half a shower.

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I have to stop trying to get somewhere I’m not supposed to be yet. It’s not time for me to be well known on social media, and that time may never come. It’s not time for me to be able to stay home with my kids, and God has a reason for that that I may never know.

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This is not a season of rest. And no matter how much I love snuggling into my bed and writing long blog posts and dreaming of working from home so I can raise my kids at the same time, that’s not my assignment. I’m called to fold laundry instead of laying in bed, I’m called to do the dishes when I come home instead of brainstorming, I’m called to read to these girls instead of turning on the TV.

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Tough pill to swallow. The medicine might taste bad, but in the end, I’ll be thankful for it.

When will I stop needing help?

Why can’t I be the one helping someone else? I think to myself.

Why are we always the ones being helped, or needing help? I think, with resentment toward all the blessings I’m being bombarded with.

We’ve been married for almost 8 years, next month. 6 of them have been spent with my husband either at war, on trainings, missions, or schooling. 6 years of them and really more than that, have been spent apart. They’ve been spent individually.

He spent those years figuring out to be alone, watching his family grow from afar and learning how to fight for his country.

I’ve spent those 6 years figuring out how to be a mom. I don’t want to say single mom though, because for most of those years my husband was the bread-winner (I seriously hate that term). But he was.

Over the span of these long 8 years, we have needed quite a bit of help from other people. Whether it was friendship because I was alone most of the time or someone offering to watch my girls so I could study or clean…or have a nice Mother’s Day–gosh I cannot even describe how amazing it was for my cousin to come over in the morning and help my girls make me breakfast. It was help from my parents bringing all the girls soccer gear to their soccer games that we were consistently late to. It was family always opening their home to us, letting us stay as long as we needed. Giving us money in times of bad financial decisions. Helping us find jobs. Allowing me to have a “mom’s night out” to go to a Paint & Sip party, then go home to a newborn screaming for me, wishing I had my partner there with me…just to know that he was there. To watch my girls while I had the flu. To bring soup when I had the flu. Give us furniture. Give us food. Give me advice. Hear me vent. Bring over milk when it was too late to go get it and bring all my kids to the store. The amount of different kinds of help I have been presented with is purely amazing. But I also didn’t think it would last this long.

I thought this time of need would be over once my husband got out of Active Duty. It didn’t. In fact, we needed it more than ever after he was out. With trying to string our lives together on a fly because we weren’t ready to really be without the military just yet. To jump into jobs that didn’t pay enough, try to get my husband to go to school and work toward a career in something that he may actually enjoy. We weren’t out of the heat just yet.

This new season in a new state, brings new challenges and needs.

Needs.

I’ve realized that I hate needing things. I don’t like being out of toilet paper and needing to go get more. I don’t like being out of flour or milk.

I hate needing other people to help me and knowing that I couldn’t do it on my own.

This season has been slowly changing that. We have needed things like never before. I have needed an army to come alongside me to help with my girls. Childcare in TN is a desert, most of it is terrible and extremely expensive and the good ones are too far away. I’ve had new friends volunteer to watch my children for free while I work and my husband goes to school. I’ve had those same friends give us money just to do it, because I’m working two jobs right now, and they see me and care about me and our family.

I have a friend who knows that I’ll be going to church without my husband (he’s either studying or working for the Navy) with my children in tote, needing that extra help…and he’s there. He’s there with the stickers pre-printed, waiting for me to park, to carry my youngest for me so I can focus on the other girls and hold their hands. While his wife is inside holding a seat for me.

During tough marital spouts that we’ve had lately, I have been invited in these friends’ lives, they’ve allowed me to tell them my darkest feelings and never once feel judged for it and instead, they were there with complete understanding and love for my family. They take time out of their day because they know I need it. And they just give it. Without a thought.

They give me their time.

I told one of those friends the other day that I’m so tired of needing help. I just wish I could be the giver of help one of these days, and not need it!

“You will. This is why its being given to you so much now. So you can do the same for someone else later.”

She said.

I quietly thought to myself, you have no idea how long its been since I’ve been able to help someone else. 

I know she’s right. I know that I’m being shown how to give. This has been me learning from other people for the last 8 years. I’ve been in school.

During this time of being shown so much grace and help, I have started to welcome it, instead of resenting it. I know I need it and I know my heart is comforted by this help. It’s always at the right and perfect time, right before I feel like I’m going to break. I bend…for sure. But never break.

Now I know. I’ll be prepared to help. And if there is anything I have learned over the last 8 years of motherhood, it’s that if you aren’t prepared…you’re not going anywhere.

I’ll know how to help. I’ll understand what it looks like when someone needs help but won’t say it. I will give them my time. Our time is everything and if you stop your day to give your friend some of yours, it goes so much further than anything else you could ever give them.

 

Don’t save me, just listen to me

If you’re anything like me, I tell people things.

I used to pretend that I was always okay. So nobody would know what was actually happening in my marriage or my head.

But then I started to be honest.

My honesty was not a cry for help though

I’m honest with people so I can be honest with myself. So I can work through feelings and emotions. So I can confide in someone that will protect my heart.

I don’t confide in someone to fix me. I don’t want you to give me advice.

I want you to hear me say that I’m broken. That I’m numb. That I’m hurting. That I’m frustrated. That I’m mad.

And I just want you to sit there and listen.

Look at me and not feel pity. 

Feeling the realness of life does not mean you’re weak. It does not mean people should look at you and think lesser of you.

I just want you to be present with me. Not thinking of all the ways you can pray for me or all the things you should say to make it better. Because you won’t. Or all the ways that you feel sorry for me. Or how things should be.

Be there for me in the darkness. Hear me speak. Hear me cry. Make me feel safe enough to sit in your presence, in the quiet, in the tears, in the truth.

I know that this time will not last forever. I know Jesus is pursuing me, HARD. He has an army coming after me. Maybe you’re part of it? 

I need you to offer to do my dishes. Watch my kids so I can go read in quiet. Bring me coffee. Look at my four-kids-uniform and smile at it with admiration, not self-righteousness.

There will be a time, or there was a time in your life, where you need/needed the same things. And one thing you don’t want to see is someone look at you and think “you poor thing.”

No

I need you to look at me and think,

“You are a warrior. You are one of the strongest. You are special. You are amazing. I see your strength. I see your steadfastness. I see your faith. I see your spirit. I see your gifts and talents. I see your hope. I SEE YOU.”

And if you don’t see those things, then I ask that you pray for you to see them. But don’t come over until you do.

Don’t be the expert

I think something has happened with the way people blog right now. We’ve taken a turn from blogging through our trials, and describing the NOW. Instead we are trying to overcome the middle and get to the end as quick as possible.

So we can be the expert.

So we can be who you go to.

We want to give advice.

We want to give you, “10 ways to overcome _____________,” “7 Steps to ______________,” “How I dealt with ____________.”

But what if that’s not what we need? What if we need to see someone in the trial. We need to see you struggle. We want to see the human nature of life’s hardships.

But we don’t allow ourselves to even do that. Our pride is so big that we must overcome, come out on top, win win win, be delivered from…etc. You get what I’m saying.

Something that I have come to terms with and accept is that it is okay to not be an expert at everything. 

What I’m going through right now, I do not have to have mastered it in order to tell someone about it. I can talk about it while I’m IN IT.

Do you hear that??

YOU CAN TALK ABOUT IT WHILE YOU ARE IN THE MUCK AND THE MIRE.

In your DEPRESSION.

In your TRIAL.

In your ANGER.

In your LOSS.

In your GRIEF.

I have told myself this lie over and over for the past however many years,

oh, I can’t talk about that because I’m still going through it. 

We don’t need to wait.

There are lessons in that darkness you’re in.

There are blessings you need to tell people about.

There are people being brought into your lives to give you hope and show you the grace of JESUS!

And you need to speak of that grace.

And most of all, if you have the gift of story-telling and writing, you need to express it. You need to write it out for yourself. To see it, read it, know that it is happening and you can’t hide from it. You need to face this, so you can get past it.

AND THEN, you can tell people how you did it.

But do yourself a favor, and let people into your struggle. So much blessing happens when you do.

“Your Poor husband”

My oldest daughter has this thing she does when she’s uncomfortable but doesn’t want you to know. She slightly smiles and chuckles while scrunching her nose up as high as it could go but, its clear that the smile she has is forced. It’s how I can always tell when she’s lying to me about something. It’s how I can sense when something has hurt her feelings but she’s trying to be the “tough girl.” And all I want to do in those moments is tell her that it’s okay to not pretend you’re tough.

It’s good to feel your emotions and understand them. To decipher if what you’re feeling is true or if it’s a lie. But if you stuff it down, and pretend, you’ll never know what you feel or know about yourself. You won’t really understand if something actually bothers you or not.

I know this face. I know the expression so well. I can almost hear the unspoken words she’s saying as I’m watching her feel the realness of what she’s feeling.

“Ugh, you’re POOR husband.”

The woman says, as she looks at my four amazingly beautiful daughters.

One child is usually hanging on the side of the grocery cart. One is by my side trying to lead the pack as second-in-command. One is sitting in the children’s seat smiling at the person talking to us or trying to give me kisses. The other is either holding the hands of my older girls or she’s sitting uncomfortably in the grocery cart basket saying, “mommy, I want out!”

I want to start by saying, I understand this comment. I get that you “mean” well. You don’t have an ugly intention with this low-key snark remark.

All you’re saying is,

“man your husband’s dreams must have been crushed because he’s surrounded by girls that adore him. His only purpose in life was to have a boy and that was it. He would only enjoy fatherhood if he had boys to enjoy it with, who were like him. He must HATE being a dad to girls.”

Well, I want you to stop telling husband’s like mine, that. And I want you to stop telling my girls that boys are better than them. Because, without you actually realizing it, that is what you’re telling them.

Yep, my daughters will get chased around when they’re older. They will get hit on. They may have people make passes at them that are unwanted and unsolicited.

So…is this the only reason that my husband should dread being a dad to girls?

Is this the only reasoning behind the comments my daughters hear every single time we leave the house altogether?

The part that I “get” is that parenting daughters is hard in the teenage years. But I’m 95% sure that teenage boys are also very difficult. The other 5% is simply due to me not having more than one penis in my home (Sorry to the people who don’t call body parts by their name).

Often times I feel pressured in my people-pleasing brain to go along with this act. To pretend that I am also dreading having four girls. That I understand where that person is coming from, just so I don’t make them feel bad or uncomfortable that I don’t agree with them.

I say, ” Yep, we’re in trouble!” Or something stupid and cliche like that. Smile the fakest smile that I can muster, turn my head towards my oldest and rub her shoulder as I say it.

THAT is when I get the face. The face that tells me what that person just said hurt my child and made her feel uncomfortable. It made her feel inadequate and quite honestly, it always will. That face tells me that I just affirmed that person’s false assumption and made it look like I agree with them.

For the record, I wanted four boys. That is not a joke. That is what I used to tell my husband and it came from a selfish heart who wanted to be the center of attention.

I can’t say this enough…I am so glad God gave me four daughters. I am so glad I am their mother.

I’m so glad that I will get to shape a small corner of this world that happens to be female.

The only part I’m not glad about, is raising them in a world where being in a family of all girls is a bad thing, a worse thing, a burden, a dread, and something for someone who doesn’t even know us to feel pity for.

I have realized that this is a problem. So in my way defending my tribe of girls, I reply with “No, they are awesome. We are super blessed.” In that moment I look at Elena, my oldest. And I say, “Huh, Elena? We’re really lucky.” And she smiles…a real smile, and says “yeah.” This smile is different. When she smiles this smile, it brings warmth and goodness to her eyes, it shows that her heart is soothed and she is resting in knowing that she can trust that her mom knows the truth and sees the value in her and her sisters. I love this smile. 

And I just keep walking. I no longer give those comments space in my day or my girls’ day. It is not fair for them to hear comments that are unwarranted, making them think that their dad would be better off without them in his life or that his life isn’t full until he gets his boy. Almost as in insult to my husband as their dad. As if he couldn’t be the same caliber dad that he would, had he had a son.

So let my girls be. Let them be tough, kind, gentle…or simply just be a kid.

Let them be LOVED.

Let them be girls and not feel bad for it.

Let them love and be loved by their dad and not think twice about it.

Let them be in a family of women and help them know this is a GOOD thing!

Let them care for each other, have such an amazing bond that we cannot even fathom, let them have friendship that I would never have dreamed of for them.

Stand back and watch these four girls take on these phrases and kick out your predetermined assumptions of raising girls. Watch them bring their dad such a deep sense of joy that he was meant and built specifically to feel.

Because in my opinion, its awesome. They are strong, they are tough, gentle, kind, loving, discerning, wise, thoughtful, and most of all they are a child of God who was created equally as boys, both in the image of God…together. They are not lesser than. They just are.

 

I want to note that this may be a tad dramatic. But I understand the same things may be said to families of all boys. It’s not okay either way. Don’t make a family feel like their lives aren’t full quite just yet, simply because they lack a specific gender in their line-up. 

Lies + IG

Isn’t it funny that when we see these kinds of photos on social media that we assume happiness and perfectionism?

 

As if the soft faded lens and peaceful backdrop of the sunshine, the tall grass waving in the breeze, the crisp leaves on the trees, a random family standing in the middle of nowhere with children looking their happiest with the perfect smile resembling that they are the perfect child…this all means that this family is “okay” and “right” because they took these pictures.

Their marriage must be solid and intact, their children must be great listeners and don’t throw tantrums that leave their parents grasping for understanding and will power. They must not think about divorce, or have dealt with infidelity…they must be financially sound to be able to pay for $400 pictures (yep). They must not be in debt. They must have great jobs and provide for their family no problem.

They must not fight. Look, they’re kissing in the picture. 

Neither of them probably deal with anger issues or depression, or anxiety. 

Maybe going to war wasn’t that hard on her husband?

They probably haven’t lost a child.

 

It’s weird how a picture really does say 1000 words…even if they aren’t true.

Have you ever thought about that? That maybe all the things you’re thinking when you’re scrolling through IG are actually lies?

Yesterday I saw that a well-known young pastor had committed suicide, leaving behind two young boys and his young beautiful wife. This is the second time this year that I’ve heard of a very well-known pastor leaving behind his family who needs him. Dealing with depression and anxiety. Knowing the Lord more than most of us and yet…he took his life.

Despite all the perfectly edited pictures his wife took of him and their family. Despite leading the perfectly decorated, well lit, well designed and on trend church…there was darkness that people didn’t see or maybe didn’t want to see.

The seriousness, evil and danger that I see when I hear this kind of news is that no one is safe. I know Pastors are attacked by satan and evil more so than the rest of us, because they are leading the cause against evil.

BUT they are the ones we don’t expect it from. Just like these perfectly edited and posed pictures.

You never expect such a dark reality behind such a well lit front. Satan wants you to assume that your life is worse than that person, so that you hide it…behind another well-lit and edited front.

And that’s how it is sometimes. That’s how the devil wants it to be. He wants you to bury your darkness behind fake light. Behind the charismatic smile, the perfectly combed or curled hair.

Behind that industrial farmhouse fixer upper insta journey, you’re pushing down and hiding the anxiety attacks and depression that follows you around. No one can know how bad it is though because…then they’ll know. And how would that look? What would they think of you? They would never understand.

Behind your big move that you prayed for and felt led to do, the insta stories look so fun and cute. But you’re behind on four bills and working two jobs while you’re husband doesn’t help as much as you want him to and you feel completely alone, barely affording childcare and considering sending them to live with their grandma so you can catch up on bills. But you can’t tell anyone because what would they think? How would they view your husband? What would they think of you as a mother? Would you lose your friends? You’d really put money before your kids?-They’d say. They would never understand. So you hide, and pretend behind pretty pictures.

So instead of reaching out to someone…anyone. Asking for someone to pray for you. Venting the darkness out and being exposed into light–you hide. And the darkness festers, mutates, and grows until there’s no more room for it anymore.

There are two ways out, either you stop the darkness from growing on your own  and it ends everything or you present the gross mutated thing that it has become–to someone.

But you have to make sure it’s the right someone…who knows that this gross mutated thing is not as gross and bad as you may think. In fact, they may tell you that there are so many of these mutated creatures, that they have found the cure and if you had just asked someone about it in the beginning, they would have told you the cure is not found on your own and is not done in secret. It is found with many people, it is loud and sharp, it hurts…but in the end, it will be cured. You just have to endure, but it has to be known. And everyone surrounding you, will be so glad and relieved that you found the cure.

This is a dark thing to talk about isn’t it? Pictures/false realities making people feel hopeless, alone and thinking the only way out is to take themselves completely off the earth.

But I’m not wrong.

It’s weird to say this, but social media seems like it may be what is killing off more Christians than anything else.

So don’t believe the lies Satan is telling you while you scroll. 

 

In this picture of my family and I, we were going through a tough time. I’d say right now it is 100% harder but at this time in the picture, it felt dark and bad.

My husband had gotten back from his 4th deployment about 2 weeks prior, I was dealing with late on-set postpartum depression and didn’t know it, I decided to spend $400 on family photos and didn’t talk to my husband about the cost until our drive to do these photos which went excellent. We fought in the car on the way there, even threw out the idea of divorce. My husband was transitioning into the reserves and I was doing Real Estate, not making any money. Neither of us had jobs and were living on savings, with a mortgage north of $2000/month.

Because of my postpartum depression I was silently thinking he was cheating on me because of insecurities that had followed from a past affair in our marriage and I had no sex drive, no desire to workout and take care of myself, no desire to do or feel pretty much anything…except you know what? We should take some pictures that make us look like we are really happy and then maybe we will actually be happy.

It can always get worse. And it will, if you don’t take necessary steps to make it better.

Seeking after the wrong things

When we moved out here a couple months ago, I was imagining that we would live this total IG life.

I’d be a stay at home mom somehow, despite having plenty of bills to keep up with. And my husband would be a full-time student, maybe coaching CrossFit on the side if we found a good box that liked him, he’d continue to work at home depot making minimum wage…and things would just be fine and dandy.

But that wasn’t realistic and of course I needed to find a full time job that could provide for everything we need.

I am blessed enough to be educated, have a Bachelor’s Degree and experience. And sometimes it is very easy for me to get a good job. But it’s NOT easy being away from my kids and my home that needs to be a place of peace and love.

So why does this happen?

You have stressful financial needs…lots of children to be cared for…but certain seasons of your life that you THINK should be playing out in a different way, are being played out in a way that you may deem as inefficient, chaotic, “not the way it should be” and maybe you even think it could be unhealthy.

I’ve been dealing with jealousy during this time of our lives…and honestly a smidge (enormous) of embarrassment.

But why??

I should be proud and empowered that I am able to provide for my family. It is what we need and I’m stepping up. Why am I embarrassed that I can do that? And why do I feel shame for the fact that our season of life is not the same for other families’ seasons of life?

Do you fall in that trap sometimes?

I keep forgetting that my job does not define who I am. Just like being a mom does not define who I am. My job is a simple assignment that I am currently assigned to at this time. My identity is not defined by anything other than Jesus.

And man…do I forget that all the time.

It’s so hard to let that resonate in your soul. It is so hard to remind yourself of that daily. Every morning that I drop my kids off at daycare…every morning that I watch my kids step foot onto their school bus and feel shame…those are not my defining moments.

My defining moments come when I am walking back from the school bus stop praying for my children’s safety throughout their day. It is when I am acknowledging my lack of wisdom and praying for more of it. It is when I have a moment of humility because I realized how disrespectful I just was to my husband in my moment of frustration, and then understanding that I am forgiven no matter what and repenting for that moment of weakness. It is when we are trusting in the Lord that we need to leave everything that we are familiar with and accustomed to, to pick up and place ourselves where we know absolutely nothing and no one.

I am not defined by being a stay at home mom, or being a working mom. God does not judge me based on my placement of mothering. I am his daughter and I am loved. My children, who are His children, are under his protection whether I am home with them or not. And what is always so comforting is knowing that he has entrusted me with His children because He trusts me. I ask for wisdom and discernment so I can make decisions on their behalf and he gives it to me.

So, just because my life looks different than Jessica’s life on Instagram, it doesn’t mean that my life is less than her assignment. It means we are equally loved by our Creator and he has designed us so specifically and uniquely that it would be an insult if we needed to be the exact same just for the sake of being the same.

I don’t know the plans He has for Jessica on Instagram…but I know they are good and he has plans to prosper her life, just as he does for mine. You know why? Because I seek after the Kingdom of God and if you do that, all you need will be given to you. (Matthew 6:33).

The answer is not, “being a stay at home mom.” The answer is, “Are you seeking Him?”

And if you’re not, you need to start.

We moved to Knoxville, TN

As an update, we didn’t sell our house.

Instead, by the grace of God, we were able to rent our house out for the full price of our mortgage, actually a small amount more than our mortgage. Which is honestly, just a miracle and affirmation that the Lord wanted something more for us somewhere else.

That somewhere else, seemed to be Knoxville, TN!

Financially, the last few months have been extremely hard on us. We’ve moved in and out of my mother in law’s house, as well as my parents’ house. Moved across the country in 5 days and moved into a 100 year old house in South Knoxville.

Knoxville is extremely foreign to us. We literally know nothing about it. Other than that my husband was accepted as a student to University of Tennessee. Unfortunately, it is looking like he may not even be able to go to school this year, again, because we need him to work full-time, but we’re praying that doesn’t happen. There have also been certain things with the VA that are preventing him from officially registering for school because we moved and haven’t received a specific letter. For some reason, the VA thinks it’s 1980 and has to mail everything. It’s only 2019, it’s fine. We’ll wait 3 months for a letter after it’s too late. But whatever.

Knoxville is different. We’re CA people, born and raised. So this whole bug and tree thing is extremely hard to get used to lol. Being that it is only day 5 here, I hope it will get easier.

Every day holds its new challenges and new surprises. Surprises meaning that we keep finding new insects in our house which I am traumatized by. Luckily, my husband kills them whenever I scream for him to come look at something new, bless his heart (see I’m turning southern already).

We have discovered Silver Fish, which I thought was a spider/lizard and it was so so gross while I was washing dishes. The next was a House Centipede, which has probably scarred me for life. Made me want to crawl in a ball and cry and burn this house to the ground where it probably should be, to be honest.

Currently there is a fist-sized hole in our kitchen directly above our kitchen sink and I suspect that is where most of the critters are coming in through. Our ceiling is starting to warp from that leak since we live in TN and it rains constantly…mold is most definitely in our future, or is already among us.

I’m ready to just go get some duct tape and slap it up on there. Just kidding, Jose will do that for me.

In all honesty though, we know God has a plan for us out here. But right now, we are very confused on that plan and why it brought us to Knoxville. We’re broke, still trying to find solid jobs that can accommodate our budget which is all necessities, no desires/wants and we know no-one out here. Still need to find a home church, hopefully be able to be apart of a Crossfit gym community and find some friends! Our spirits are down but we are trying to keep our faith in God that we are here for some crazy reason and even though it doesn’t look how we imagined this adventure looking, I know that God has big things planned for us and is stretching, molding and sculpting us into what he wants us to be.

Until next time, you can let me know all the other disgusting infected we’ll come in contact with.

I will also write a post on how we stayed on budget with four kids and two cars, on a 5 day road trip.

We have to sell our house

We have to sell our house.

We actually just bought it a year ago.

I am also a licensed Real Estate Agent.

It was my dream to have our own house and a yard and a front porch, a garage, a driveway, a street my kids could play on with their friends…and we finally got it.

I was 8 months pregnant and was just let-go from my full-time salary job that was our primary income and we had just entered escrow. We ended up falling out of escrow because of that and we thought we had for sure lost the house.

Turned out that our lender moved numbers around and since we had been paying so much for childcare, since we no longer needed it anymore because I was at home and not working, that we still qualified for the house.

I remember my husband saying once we fell out of escrow that “Maybe this was a blessing in disguise, maybe we had no business buying a house.” And then I cried lol.

I had my heart set so much on the idea of having our own house for so long, that I saw passed all the red flags that were in front of us saying that we should not buy a house.

I was pregnant with our fourth child and we had just moved back in with my parents to save money to “buy a house” or to put down first month’s rent to move into a rental home. The rental market in our area is extremely competitive and houses go FAST. I couldn’t get a hold of anyone and never got any info on the houses and was so frustrated. So we just thought it was easier to buy a house after all and everyone says that buying is cheaper than renting.

Well, in the LONG RUN it is cheaper but short term, it is not. What we needed to focus on was the short term. But I didn’t want to do that. I was stubborn (per usual) and “knew” I was right and my husband was just being difficult and just wanted to make our lives harder.

We had spent 6 years hopping around the country with the military, going in and out of family’s houses because we were focusing on paying off debt instead of paying for a house. Luckily we had very generous family members who didn’t mind little kids running around and keeping them up all hours of the night.

Needless to say, I was just fed up. I was so tired of seeing all my friends move into their cute little homes and make it their own, or not have to walk up a big flight of stairs with all their groceries while carrying a carseat with a small child in it at the same time. I was just so focused on what I DIDN’T have. I was envious of literally everyone else.

So I pressured my husband into letting us buy a house that we were not financially stable enough to truly afford after he came back from his fourth deployment that he would go on a month after we had our fourth daughter. I swore that I would save money while he was gone. And I did. But not enough. I spent more than I should have and I could have just saved most of what I spent.

But I didn’t.

It’s really hard keeping up with your friends. Its hard to not be jealous of the financial stage they are in their lives and then look at your own and think why you’re not at the same place as them. We don’t all make the same decisions and we don’t all make the same mistakes. So are all at different stages of life. Unfortunately, we have made a series of bad financial decisions. And now, we’re paying for me not being able to be more patient.

I have a habit of feeling uneasy and then immediately trying to “cure” that uneasiness by finding a “solution.”

These solutions are never the cure. In fact, they end up being the problem. Instead of being patient and waiting in that uneasiness, I push it away as hard as I can, jumping at any opportunity that will make that uneasiness go away. Its hard for me not to do that.

I’ve grown up thinking my whole life that if you encounter a problem, you fix it. You find the solution. You work more. You work harder. You change your mindset. You buy this, you buy that. You google this, you google that. You youtube this, you youtube that. This is a great outlook to have…unless its a situation that God is clearly telling you that you can’t fix it this time. You have to wait.

Well…I don’t like waiting. I’m the opposite of patient. I need things quickly, efficient, smarter not harder, now or never, all or nothing…that’s me. Over the last 8 years I have been challenged by what my natural reactions to things are. Its been like a very long stretched out learning experience that will never end.

Right now, we are in a small group for the first time as a couple. I’ve been in a ton of bible studies over the years and have prayed and prayed that my husband would have the desire to go to one so we could go to a couple’s small group. He’s always either been on deployment or he thinks we don’t have time or he just simply doesn’t want to. I think a part of that is fear of rejection or fear of people not understanding him. Sitting in a room full of self-righteous people who will judge him. This is a valid concern for all of us and is human nature. And for the first time in 7 years, we’re in our first small group together. Who knows what either of us will get out of it, he is on his own journey with Christ, as am I. And I have to remind myself of that. Sometimes when you want something SO bad, you forget that you can’t control the outcome of that desire. So you try to hold onto it for as long and as tight as you possibly can because you don’t want the smallest gap to exist that may allow something in to take it away…even though you don’t have it at all. That desire is just that, a desire. A want. You don’t have it. You dream and wish for it and hope it happens one day. You pray for it. But God is the ultimate decision maker. It took me years to figure that out. Apparently, I’m a slow learner. A slow learner who wants things fast. Go figure.

But during this small group, we are talking about trusting God and a few times we have gotten off topic because I have mentioned something about being confident in Christ, and knowing “who I am” in him.

I spoke briefly about our marriage and a small portion of my testimony last night. I talked about how my husband and I met very young, around the age of 13/14 and for many years I was extremely infatuated with him. My identity was completely in him, not in myself or in God, but him. My happiness was dependent on him. Even though I was saved at 10 years old, I apparently didn’t truly believe or know that because I was placing my identity on a teenage boy who only cared about food and his hormones.

I shared how once we got married, I was so excited that we were finally married and that would be the answer to all my prayers.

Then, my marriage was taken away from me. For what seemed like years. And it was instant. Just because we got married, it did not solve any problems and it made me feel completely worthless. My husband did not act like my husband and he was very cruel and angry at times. When I say my marriage was taken away from me, I don’t mean that my husband passed away. I mean that my idea of what my marriage would be like, was taken away from me and replaced with what I thought was a nightmare.

The man I had put my identity in for the last 8 or so years (at the time) was rejecting me and acted as though he didn’t care about me whatsoever. His heart was hardened and empty and lonely. He was living away from family, around people he did not know, who didn’t care about him and making him feel less than. So ultimately, he turned around and treated me the same.

I held on to our marriage like I was hanging off a cliff while clinging to a rope for dear life. I held on no matter what weather poured down on me, no matter how many insects ate away at my body while holding onto that rope, no matter how much my muscles were fatiguing. I held on, not understanding that there was a safety net underneath me that would catch me once I let go of that rope.

One day, after hanging on for dear life for a few years, I let go. I let go of all my dreams for our marriage. I let go of all of my fears of being alone. I let go of the man who I thought was my husband and the person I built him up to be in my head. I let go of the person I had been holding on to and shoving my identity in for 12 years.

I figured out who I was. And it didn’t matter if he knew it or not. It didn’t matter if he was there or not. I found that I was in Jesus the whole time. And it didn’t matter if my husband would ever come back or if he loved me or what he thought of me. Jesus was where I was, Jesus loved me, Jesus was there, and Jesus knows me.

So as I shared some of this with our group last night, I realized that I had already come to a moment where I knew Jesus had me. I already knew that Jesus will be there to catch me when I fall, no matter where I land. I already knew how to trust him. Because I was forced to trust him, I literally had no other choice. And he caught me. Or rather, he picked me up off the floor after I fell and healed all of my broken bones and made them even stronger.

So, as I have been talking to this group about our financial situation, and how many jobs I’m working and that I really can’t keep up with this rat race anymore and for them to pray for us to find better jobs and this and that. By me jumping at every opportunity at extra money that “could” possibly help us, it has only been stretching me too thin, making me emotionally and physically unavailable for my kids and resentful toward my husband. It has been making me so busy that I don’t have the time or energy to pray for my marriage or my family. And it has ultimately been showing me that my trust in the Lord does not exist around our finances. It exists in my “identity” and our marriage, but I haven’t been putting my trust  in him around our finances. That’s where pride becomes a sin. We think we are more than capable of providing those things for our lives that we don’t need the help of God, or that we don’t want to “wait” on him. We need the money now and waiting in that tough season will be too hard, so sure i’ll go take that job that makes me $12 an hour and takes me completely away from my family, even though I am already working a full time job and doing my own business on the side. Instead of leaving space for God to slide in and fill that gap for us, so we have rest to enjoy the blessings God has given us.

I also hate letting people down. So when I quit a job, I feel as though I’m screwing them over. But I don’t think about how my family is feeling and they could be feeling as though I’m screwing them over by not quitting.

And I’m not saying you shouldn’t work and provide for your family, but when you are working completely at the cost of your family and your relationships, that’s where I don’t think it is worth it and where I don’t think God wants you to be either.

Make room for rest in your life. Make room for God to step in and show you how mighty he is, because you are not mighty. You are meek, and weak. And you do need the strength and power of Jesus. It doesn’t matter how much you don’t agree with his plans, trust me…you WANT those plans. Don’t spend years chasing something that is not part of God’s plan. Because that is all you will do…chase it.

So, I’m making a decision to trust God with our house. I don’t know if we will be able to keep it. I don’t know if we will lose it and go into foreclosure and have to do a short-sale. I have no idea. But I know that my identity is not in that house, its not in the idea of our family being “stable” like the other families we know, it’s not in our family having the perfect amount of bedrooms and bathrooms or a backyard or living on a cul-de-sac, or even staying married to my husband.

My security and identity are in Jesus, and I have to give him room to work in our lives. The outcome of my life has already been decided. I just have to trust that he knows whats best for me and my family.

It’s okay

It’s okay

1️⃣ Its okay to be proud of yourself and your body. It doesn’t make you conceited or arrogant for appreciating your body and investing love and time into it. You shouldn’t feel bad for making time for yourself to achieve goals or peace of mind, unless it is completely harming your family more than doing it good.

2️⃣ it’s okay if your body looks different. It is always going to look different. It will never look the same and you will never be the same as someone else. That’s the beauty of our bodies, we all have different weaknesses and strengths and you can’t spend your time wishing you had someone else’s strengths and ignore your own or worse…never taking the time to find out WHAT those strengths are simply because you’re distracted by others’.

3️⃣ it’s okay to not be happy. It’s alright to have bad days, it’s okay to not feel like you want to smile and pretend everything is perfect that day…but it’s not okay to stay that way. We can’t always be in a good mood. Sometimes we feel drained and depleted and need rest and those days don’t look “happy.” If something is going on in your life, it’s alright to speak up and confide in someone…but don’t confide in EVERYONE. Because not everyone will appreciate your transparency and not everyone will respect your privacy. Take your “rest” days, take a break from smiling at every single person just so you don’t make them feel uncomfortable, take a break from doing everything that’s “expected” of you when you feel like you’re on the verge of a meltdown. Listen to your body, take some time, cry, sleep, read, stare at the sky…do whatever your mind and heart need and come back to your responsibilities with a new perspective and the ability to smile, be happy and actually mean it.

4️⃣ and lastly it’s okay to not be on point with your nutrition. There’s going to be different seasons of your life. You might have to focus on nutrition for some type of competition, or maybe you’re BREASTFEEDING or trying to correct an autoimmune disease with your food…whatever it may be. Your food doesn’t define your worth. Some of us might feel worse than others when you ate something you weren’t supposed to or started eating really badly for a week so then you just decide to give up on whatever you were trying to achieve. It doesn’t need to be this way. Your food is a means to an end. You have the power to decide how you use that food and how it affects your perspective on your life. You’re human, mistakes and slip ups are inevitable. How we move past those mistakes and slip ups and changing our mindset so we stop thinking about them as MISTAKES…that’s when you give yourself the power to not let food control your life.

Those “mistakes” do not mean you need to give up on the road you were on. You are still on that same trip, you just went on a little detour. All we need to do is adjust and get back on the road. No biggie. Mindset is literally e v e r y t h i n g

DM me to schedule a free 1:1 nutrition/mindset consultation.