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.

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. 

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.