Posts tagged truth
From Feeling Stuck to Finding Freedom

Trigger warning: this story contains depictions of abuse. If you need help, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233.

Let me tell you about a girl who believed a very big lie.

A girl with the world at her fingertips.

A girl with a bright smile that lit up the room.

A girl who loved Jesus.

A girl who got pregnant with her boyfriend.

Riddled with shame and embarrassment, the girl tried to “right the wrong” with an engagement. Against all advice, she charged into this marriage before her sweet child came into the world.

Then she began to notice patterns in her husband that he hadn’t exhibited AT ALL before they were married – Like his anger. Like his unrelenting sarcasm. Like his intimidation. Like his aggression. Like his lies. Like his manipulation. Like his threats. Like his fighting dirty. Like his total disrespect.

But she stayed.

 
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She stayed through the short fuse and the huge temper. She stayed through the deceit and theft. She stayed through sexual abuse and neglect. She stayed through his exploitation of power and control. She stayed through the f-bombs and name-calling. She stayed through the verbal beatings that she “never should have been born, is stupid, alone, and worthless.” She stayed through slammed doors and screaming rants, while rocking on the floor, plugging her ears in the fetal position.

And she stayed through the birth of their child.

She stayed through her fear of her husband and fear for her son. She stayed when the only advice she received was to turn the shower on so the baby couldn’t hear him screaming at her. The girl became desperate and hopeless, even turning to thoughts of suicide. (Which he made fun of and threatened to take her to a psych ward when she reached out for help.) She could not live this way.

Until, finally, she stopped believing this very big lie.

You see, this smart, brave, beautiful mother had believed the lie that there was no way out. She believed that she was stuck because of her sin. She chose to marry him to make things right and now she had to live with that decision, regardless of the abuse. She was so far entrenched in this lie of deserved punishment that she couldn’t see the light of day. She couldn’t hear the hopeful, loving whispers from her heavenly Father as she cried out to Him, begging Him to save her.

Until she could.

Until she believed the truth that redemption was possible. A new life of love, forgiveness, peace, SAFETY, and a God-breathed future in FREEDOM. She began to consider what her life could look like outside of captivity. She believed that God did not cause this abuse or use it to punish her.

This beautiful artwork is one of 10 gorgeous TRUTH statements you can find in the What’s True About You Guided Journal -COMING SOON!  Artist:  Ami Atkocaitis

This beautiful artwork is one of 10 gorgeous TRUTH statements you can find in the What’s True About You Guided Journal -COMING SOON!

Artist: Ami Atkocaitis

And what’s amazing about this girl is that as soon as she called the lie out for what it was, she stepped into her freedom with divine determination and supernatural tenacity.

A middle of the night rescue mission ended in the comforting arms of family. As she gained her footing, her future unfolded so magnificently. God gave generously at every guided step. Trauma became the pain of the past instead of the reality of the present. Through her hard work digging deep to find healing, she clung to Jesus and the truth that He is not the Punisher. He is the Counselor who caught every tear she cried in a bottle. The God of Love and Grace and Forgiveness. The God of Hope and Peace and Freedom.

Now, I wish I could report that the girl hasn’t experienced a single struggle since that day or that her prison break was easy. I wish I could say that she never looked back. I wish I could say that there isn’t more healing to do, but I can’t.

After all, life is hard and this journey is a long one.  

But I am happy to say this girl is now happily re-married to wonderful man, which is just part of her redemption story. The most significant, inspiring part of this story is how through the pain and hopelessness, she made it to the other side as a fiercely strong and confident daughter of the King.

In her quest for peace, she also found her passion. A passion to revolt against injustice, especially when it comes to women and children being mistreated. A heart for single mothers and overwhelming empathy for those who feel stuck in abusive relationships. 

And so for you, dear friend, you may need to be reminded of who you are. You are God’s masterpiece, dearly loved and freely-called to engage the world in ways that only you can.

You are worthy of love, peace, and freedom. You are worthy of believing that “God is for you, not against you. He is near to you, not far away from you, and He has created you on purpose, and for a purpose” (the truth that our Radio Theology team shares with our listeners every week.)

If your story too closely reflects this one, please know that you are not alone. Please do not believe the lie that you are being punished for poor choices and sentenced to a miserable life because of the mistakes you made. There is hope for you. Redemption can be the next chapter of your story.  

As much as I love connecting with you, exchanging emails and Facebook posts, and swapping stories – this is too big for me. Please call the highly trained professionals at the National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233.

Whether abuse is part of your story or not, you are in your own fight to live freely in who you are. I’m with you. And the entire I Am Mother of the Year community is with you. With weekly blog posts, radio content, an encouraging group, and a What’s True About You Guided Journal due out in just a few short weeks that will walk you through pinpointing those deep-seated lies and replacing them with the truth, there are so many ways to engage with this movement!

We hope you do! We love you lots!

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If You Aren't Using This ONE SURVIVAL TACTIC When You're Sick, Are You Even a Real Mom?

I’m sick. I mean, it’s just a cold, and I don’t mean to be a whiner, because I get that people, maybe even you, are receiving health news much worse than “looks like you’ve got an endless amount of snot that keeps pouring out of your nostrils no matter how many times and how long you blow your nose.”

I mean, where does it all come from? Lord have mercy!

But I digress. And I’m here to tell you one quick thing before I go to bed at 8:30 p.m. for the 6th night in a row (thank you, Nyquil…you’ve never let me down, even after all these years).

 
 

There is ONE THING that all sick (insert: pregnant, lazy, busy, stressed, and actually sick) mothers use when they bite the dust. And how do I know this magical thing, you might be thinking? Well, of course, I took my woes to the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook groupand this ONE THING kept floating to the top of the list.

So listen here, mama. If you aren’t yet employing this miracle, life-saving strategy, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

You guys. This. Is. Genius. And I can say that because I didn’t come up with it.

It’s called (drum roll, please………………………………………….)

THE PANTRY RAID:

If you’re a sick mama (that means anything from having the sniffles, to barfing, to being overly or newly pregnant, or had a bad day at the office, etc.) you do not have to feed your children dinner. Instead, your employ the good ole fashion pantry raid, whereby your kids get to eat anything from your pantry that is within reach. And you call it dinner. And you call them fed. And you call yourself a hero.

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Don’t believe me? Just check Section 9, Page 1,387 of the Parenting Handbook, where mothers from around the country have chimed in on this very matter:

  • Jessica: Whenever I bite the dust, it’s a pantry free for all. Popcorn, pop tarts, granola bars, chips, cereal (dry of course)... whatever you can reach, you can eat.

  • Cassidy: TV all day. And eat what you can find/reach!

  • Katie: Candy and chips only for food.

  • Tiffany: Anything within reach - Cheetos? Sure! Animal crackers? Fine! M&M's? Go for it! Just eat at the table.

  • Victoria: Sat on the couch all day while instructing my 2.5 year old how to feed herself. “Push the chair to the pantry. Open the door. Get the goldfish... there’s lunch!”

Apparently, mothers for GENERATIONS have been using this exact same tactic.

  • Emily: My mom just shared with me that she was laid up on the couch with a terrible cold when I was about a year old. She brought the box of Cheerios with her and kept throwing handfuls onto the living room floor for me like she was feeding birds!

Not so sure about this whole Pantry Raid idea? Not a problem.

Some honorable mentions include survival by:

  • TV. All day ‘er day.

  • Goodbye Diapers. Seriously, if you don’t have energy to change them, why put them on? As a bonus, it induces some extra incentive to have your carpets cleaned.

What’s the point? When mama’s down, mama’s down. The quickest way for mama to get back up again is to soak in All. The. Rest. And that means employing some tactics that probably wouldn’t fly on a regular Tuesday. But listen, not ONE of these moms talked about feeling guilty for doing the absolute bare minimum. Mom guilt won’t help you heal any faster. No one’s snot is disappearing overnight because they felt guilty for throwing Cheerios on the floor and calling it dinner. No one’s vomit has spontaneously vanished because mom guilt made them feel like a complete loser of a human being for allowing their kids free reign over the TV for a few days (or weeks). Mom guilt is a dumb liar.

Thanks to all the moms who helped me feel better for scraping by in my time of sickness. We don’t need to thrive all the time. If we did, we’d never appreciate our own awesomeness, and neither would our families.

So raise your class of Emergen-C for a toast. “To you, mama. For being who you are in sickness and in health and in all the days between. Your sanity, your creativity, your love is unparalleled. And your kids, your family, and your community are better because you are in it. Snot and all.” *Clink clink* And goodnight.

P.S. If you need some practical self-care steps, download your FREE Self-Care Guide here!!!

 
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To the Mom Counting MISTAKES Instead of Sheep

Numbers are not really my thing, but tonight…tonight I got really good at counting. And you know what I counted? My mistakes. I soaked in a hot bath of guilt, shame, and fear, and literally counted the number of mistakes that I could remember from the past week or so. I counted the number of mistakes that I’m still carrying from who knows how long ago. I’m counting…counting…counting…

  • I was late every day last week to pick Josie up from pre-school. Gives new meaning to the pre-school walk of shame.

  • I turned in Josie’s eye exam form 3 weeks too late. She’s probably about to go blind.

  • I didn’t realize that Josie’s Halloween parade, party and class chapel were not only happening this week, but parents are welcome…as is her Halloween costume. Insert a 35-minute round trip drive home to frantically search for said costume in a mountain of princess dress-up clothes in the world’s messiest playroom.

  • Despite my best efforts to remain consistent in discipline, Josie has gotten off too easy with a few too many sassy comments.

  • After a long evening of yelling, feeling lost, and ready to walk away from the motherhood game altogether, I shoved a wailing Josie in bed at 6:17 p.m.

And those were just a teeny tiny sampling of the Josie ones. I probably don’t even have the emotional capacity to go into any of the other mistakes I’ve made a mom to a beastly boy child, a wife to a hardworking husband, a co-worker, a daughter, a friend…

Sounds like a nice little Tuesday night, doesn’t it? Let me tell you, it’s not.

Earlier today, I had some friends affirm me, and specifically affirm the mission of the Mother of the Year movement. They said that I’m good at empathizing with moms of all ages because whether our kids are in diapers or in dorm rooms, we all want to be better at giving ourselves a break. They said that I’ve given us all a rally cry. A cry that says that our best is enough for our families. A cry that says we don’t have to live the lies that we believe about ourselves. A cry that says no matter what, we’ve got great moments in each and every day to celebrate and we can stand tall in that victory.

Ummm, wow.  But guess what I forgot today? The rally cry. The mission. The words that I often write to you. And the words that I truly believe with my whole heart. I’m a good mom. So are you.

So in case you’re having a night like I am right now…a night where instead of counting victories, blessings, or even mediocre success, you’re counting all of the ways you’ve failed. Let’s talk.

  • Replace the word should. “I shouldn’t have yelled at her.” “I should have put her Halloween party on my calendar.” “I shouldn’t be sitting in the bath right now being mean to myself.” Instead of using the word should, use the word could. It’s a lot more empowering and creates space for making some changes. “I could have controlled my temper. Next time, I’ll try to walk away for a brief cool-down.” “I could have put her Halloween party on my calendar. In the next 2 days, I’ll find her school calendar and add every event in so I’m prepared.” “I could allow myself to feel some grief over my mistakes, but then I’ll forgive myself and move on.”

  • Tell yourself the truth. It doesn’t take a genius to read through my list of mistakes and figure out what lies I’m believing about myself and my situation. And you know what lies do? They steal our joy, our confidence, and our peace. Replacing the lies with the truth, one by one, will send a new wave of peace and clarity our way. This is something I’ve been practicing (and am soon to reveal an AMAZING tool that can help us master this!)

  • Invite Jesus and someone else into your mess. Maybe don’t invite a friend into the literal bathtub with you (#awkward), but the quiet moments are perfect to have a little chat with Jesus about how you’re feeling and ask for His wisdom. Ask Him to tell you the truth about who you are. And then find a time to share your struggle with a trusted friend. Nothing makes you feel more alone than keeping your mess to yourself. Be brave and bring someone in who can speak lovingly to your pain.

Hey, mama. Take it from me, a mama who just wasted an entire evening in a shame spiral…it’s not worth it. Count the good stuff instead. Say out loud that you are Mother of the Year. Shout the rally cry that your best is enough for your family! You’ve got this.

If you need reminders of your awesomeness, sign up for my email list and be sure to join the Facebook group!