Unworthy: Does Anyone Else Feel Like I Do?

Today was the first Easter Sunday I have not been able to physically be in church. I’ve cried a lot this morning. And prayed. And worshiped. And thanked God for loving me anyway. And cried. And prayed. And worshiped. Well, you get the picture. It is my sad cycle. It is the swirling of overwhelming emotion and persistent thought that sometimes makes it way straight to my heart. I am unworthy. I’m not just talking about being unworthy to be a child of God. I’m talking about unworthy to be a mom, a wife, a woman….a person. Worthless.

I’ve had an invisible illness for nearly six years but the doctors didn’t know what it was. After a year and a half, I didn’t know it wasn’t gone completely, just in remission until I relapsed just over a year ago. This time, I was lucky enough to get a diagnosis. Spontaneous Mal de Debarquement Syndrome or MdDS for short.  MdDS has spread it’s ugly tentacles into every single corner of my life. Because of it, I wrestle with severe anxiety when my symptoms are high.

Being confined at home, not able to be free and independent as I’ve been most of my adult life has settled in my spirit as a dark bleakness that at times, such as today, has made me feel smothered with worthlessness.

So I tuned in to church live online. The song “Is He Worthy?” was playing, a song based on Revelations 5.

But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelations 5:3-5

And tears began to run down my cheeks. Because when you really think about it, we are all unworthy. There is no one worthy. But today, the very day we celebrate the most holy of days, the Resurrection of Jesus is a reminder that He is! And His spirit lives in me.

Church

Do you battle with feeling unworthy like I do? Worthless? Less than? Because of ______. You can fill in the blanks with so many things… Sickness. Sin. Shame. Mistakes. Weakness. Pride. Fear. We all have the dark bleakness of our pasts, our insecurities, our pain, our inadequacy waiting to smother us. BUT Christ won the victory and His spirit lives in us if we just accept and believe. He is the light and in Him there is no darkness. We are free to let go of that darkness and make room for everything He stood for like compassion, kindness, acceptance, grace and love.

In Him I am whole. I matter. I am worthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parenting: My Personal Struggle with Fear

sister shirtWhen my daughter, my oldest child, was in preschool through elementary school, she was so spunky and smart with just enough stubbornness to call it determination mixed in. I truly felt she would conquer the world, a neatly packaged redheaded blue-eyed force to be reckoned with. When the middle school years hit, she changed. The bullying started and she became fearful and worried more and more.

Many nights I’ve knelt by their bed and prayed over both my son and my daughter, but I’ve spent a lot of time worried for my sweet sensitive girl. Her dad and I divorced when she was three. I remarried when she was five and he left me two years later. When she was sixteen, my youngest son at age ten was diagnosed with an incurable brain abnormality and underwent brain surgery to help restore flow between his brain and spine. To say our whole world flipped upside down that year would be an understatement.

I have been remarried now for nearly ten years to a good Christian man and stepfather. I’m a stepmom to a very determined handsome high school freshman. My son, now thirteen is doing very well and surgery, although scary, has been an answered prayer. We have worked very hard to blend our family and move forward.

My daughter is a sophomore in college now. She is still spunky and very smart but her struggle is real. She wrestles with who she is versus who she thinks she should be. She worries that she is not good enough to succeed.

why i didn't rebel 2I have been reading a book by Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach called Why I Didn’t Rebel. In it Rebecca shares her own personal encouraging story of how she made it through the difficult teen years while staying true to her values, faith, and family.

The other day I was reading her chapter on Expectations where she wrote: “Looking at all these stories, I saw a pattern emerging:  families who expected their kids to rebel were scared, and families who didn’t expect their kids to rebel had a lot of faith in their children.” It was like gaining admittance into a secret room where parents are typically not allowed and God used her words to illuminate some shadowed corners of my soul.Why I Didn't Rebel

It revealed to me that unconsciously I’ve been parenting from a place of fear rooted in guilt. The more she struggles the more fearful I become because in the innermost part of my heart, I worry that my failures will cause her to rebel and ultimately fail. I know this is not what God wants for my family or my daughter.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 2:7

Parenting is hard and divorce and remarriage is messy. Blending a family only makes it more complicated. Why I Didn’t Rebel is like a breath of fresh air. Drawing me out, helping to replace my pessimism with perspective straight from the proverbial green grass on the other side. It tackles issues parents face today while giving candid insight on balancing them with healthy boundaries and expectations that actually work.

Why I Didn't RebelFor I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you Rebecca for allowing God to use you to write this book to rekindle hope in parents who may be struggling with discouragement. My girl may just conquer the world after all.

 

Help For The Chronic Worrier and Some Updates

IMG_20150113_090049163Just over a week ago, I found myself spending a quiet evening at home with just me and my two kids. My husband was working and my stepson (my sweet bonus son) was at his mom’s. It was a very cold night and it seemed the heat was heaving and sighing, moaning and hissing trying to keep our house warm. So I lit a fire in the fireplace and we settled down to play a game of Sorry.

As we sat there playing, giggling and taking turns sending each other back to start the thought came to me that this is what family to me is all about. My daughter wasn’t worrying about her end of semester exams coming up the following week. My son wasn’t worrying about his frequent headaches and upcoming surgery. I wasn’t worried about getting to work the next day or what was going to be happening in the coming weeks. No. We were all in the present; in the moment. It was warm there. It was peaceful and relaxing there. It was happy there in that moment.

I can be a chronic worrier. When you worry, you tend to be inside of your head. A lot. That means that you may be sitting in the present but in your head, you are in the future of “what if” and “what might”. Your mind is caught in a vicious cycle of worry and what might happen if what if happens. I have learned that the best way to combat this is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is where you bring yourself out of the worry and out of your head and look around. You literally start pointing out things that surround you and switch your focus on them. For example, my drive to work is where I really worry. I worry about whatever is going on with my kids, my job, what some one said, etc. When I practice mindfulness, I stop worrying and think about how bright the sun is at that moment or how blue the sky is, etc…

I use the term “practice” because it sounds simple but it is something I have to work at over and over again because the worry keeps trying to take over. Being mindful helps us to stay focused on the present; focus on the moment you are living in not what’s to come and especially what has been. In His word, God tells us to not worry about tomorrow. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

IMG_20150113_090049163Here is something that we all need to honestly take hold of and remember:  God actually wants us to be happy and enjoy the life He has given us. He doesn’t want us to waste it on our past or worry. (Who would ever want to know Him if we are walking around worried and sad all the time.) Being mindful and staying in the present allows us to live out our potential, to be the best we can be-who we were created to be, moment to moment.

“18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Now on to some other things that are happening. I was so excited to share that I was approached by Pigeonhole Books to do a blog interview for their resource page several months ago. They chose my blog to kick off the new year! Here is a link to that interview about me, my site and where I want to be in all of this. Check it out and show them some love! http://pigeonholebooks.com/2015/01/05/blogger-interview-donna-mott/

We also celebrated a big birthday in our family recently! Our beautiful girl, my oldest, turned sixteen! Where has the time gone?!

I would like to thank you all and ask that you please continue to pray for our son, my youngest, Luke. His chiari surgery is scheduled for February 2. Our family has a lot coming up but God has been so amazing and faithful. I will be sharing more about that later……

 

Priorities, respect, and the marriage wheel of bliss- Priority 1

God_first_priority

I think priorities in life are very important. They help keep you in your lane in this race of life.  They help keep you focused and running in the right direction. I feel that priorities are that much more important in the blender because of the different dynamics already going on in the mix.   I think family priorities should be:

1. God

2. Spouse/marriage 

3. Kids

4. Work/friends/anything else you want to fill in the blank

Today, lets focus on priority #1.  I strongly feel that as a Christian, God should be your first priority.  It can be very hard to do this, I know.  You have the husband, the kids, the job that demand every thing from you, so how can we possibly put God first?  Well, actually, I think it is more simple than you think.  Psalm 119:15 “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.”  As a christian I believe you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you.  (1 Cor 3:16 NLT says the Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you.) That tells me to really listen to that voice inside of me that’s telling me whether this feels right or not.  You have heard the expression “go with your gut”.  Well I feel that God through the Holy Spirit is my gut.  Yep, sounds a little weird but think about it…it makes sense!  Another very easy way besides listening to the Spirit in your heart is to memorize scripture and repeat it to yourself during those difficult times.  I struggle with anxiety and have since I was in high school.  Some times I feel I have victory over it and some times it rears its very nasty horrible ugly head!  During these times I have found that if I repeat some verses that mean a lot to me, it helps me to get through that anxious moment.  (this for me is meditating on His word)  One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9 “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (If you really want to have a good time, read Joshua 1:7-9!)  Another thing that will help put God first is PRAYER!  When I first wake up in the morning before my feet hit the floor, I say a prayer.  It isn’t a long drawn out thing, just a quick prayer for me to get my day started, to pray for mine, my husband’s, and my children’s day.  If you read in Luke 18 about the Pharisees you will find that although they were very well respected in society, they were also very self righteous and viewed themselves better and more “spiritual” than every one else.  To put God first in your life does not mean for you to be a Pharisee (just practicing religion).  It is not about showing up every time the church doors are open, praying the loudest, or knowing the most scripture.  It is about meeting God right where you are in your little corner of the world.  Keeping Him in the forefront of your mind and letting him quietly lead you in your heart.  It’s living up to the potential he created you to be.  (for more of that refer to my previous post “Great Expectations”)  Everything else will follow according to His path if you just start where you are….  Next post is about Priority 2 (marriage) Yikes!

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