The Three Loves

While scrolling through my Facebook feed this evening, I ran across a post that really hit close to home.  It was someone who had recently ended her relationship with her fiance.  It wasn’t so much that she called her engagement off within months of their wedding; it was the link to a post that she put with her public apology.

The link was to a blog post titled “We Only Fall In Love With 3 People In Our Lifetime – Each One For A Specific Reason.”  Some of the things that were stated in there were absolutely true!  If you don’t follow the link above, please take the time to read the excerpt that I have placed below.  It’s seriously worth the time to read it!

“It’s been said that we really only fall in love with three people in our lifetime.  Yet, it’s also believed that we need each of these loves for a different reason.  
Often our first is when we are young, in high school even. It’s the idealistic love—the one that seems like the fairy tales we read as children.  This is the love that appeals to what we should be doing for society’s sake—and probably our families. We enter into it with the belief that this will be our only love and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feel quite right, or if we find ourselves having to swallow down our personal truths to make it work because deep down we believe that this is what love is supposed to be.  It’s a love that looks right.
The second is supposed to be our hard love—the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved. This is the kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation.
We think we are making different choices than our first, but in reality we are still making choices out of the need to learn lessons—but we hang on. Our second love can become a cycle, oftentimes one we keep repeating because we think that somehow the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before.
Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic even. There may be emotional, mental or even physical abuse or manipulation—most likely there will be high levels of drama. This is exactly what keeps us addicted to this story-line, because it’s the emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows and like a junkie trying to get a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high.
With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should.  It’s the love that we wished was right.
And the third is the love we never see coming. The one that usually looks all wrong for us and that destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be. This is the love that comes so easy it doesn’t seem possible. It’s the kind where the connection can’t be explained and knocks us off our feet because we never planned for it.
This is the love where we come together with someone and it just fits—there aren’t any ideal expectations about how each person should be acting, nor is there pressure to become someone other than we are.  We are just simply accepted for who we are already—and it shakes to our core.
It isn’t what we envisioned our love would look like, nor does it abide by the rules that we had hoped to play it safe by. But still it shatters our preconceived notions and shows us that love doesn’t have to be how we thought in order to be true.
This is the love that keeps knocking on our door regardless of how long it takes us to answer.  It’s the love that just feels right.
…There may be those people who fall in love once and find it passionately lasts until their last breath. Those faded and worn pictures of our grandparents who seemed just as in love as they walked hand-in-hand at age 80 as they did in their wedding picture—the kind that leaves us wondering if we really know how to love at all.  Someone once told me they are the lucky ones, and perhaps they are.  
But I kinda think that those who make it to their third love are really the lucky ones.  They are the ones who are tired of having to try and whose broken hearts lay beating in front of them wondering if there is just something inherently wrong with how they love.
Just because it has never worked out before doesn’t mean that it won’t work out now.”

I can safely say, I’ve experienced all three of these.  As I was reading, all of these little flashes from my past came back and made me realize that yes, there are lessons to be learned in all sorts of love…and the pain that comes with it.

The one that caught my attention was the second love.  Oh, second love.  This is where my heart goes out to this young lady who posted her public apology tonight, because at one point, I was in her shoes.

I can’t speak for her relationship, so I won’t.  But I will speak for what mine was.  It was unhealthy.  It was unbalanced.  It was narcissistic.  It was an emotional rollercoaster.  There was manipulation.

Even though it was all these things, I never once viewed myself as a “junkie” that was addicted to it.  But in a sense, I guess I was.  I had put myself in a position where I had spiraled so far down from where I was, I couldn’t find a way out.  My only glimpse of “me” were those extreme highs.  But the number of highs slowly started to be out numbered by the extreme lows.

Much like this particular young woman, I was engaged.  I was actually a month away from “the big day” when I decided that I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I was tired of the tears, I was tired of the fights, and I was tired of feeling like I was lost.  He is a good person for the right person, he just was not good for me.

But never throughout the process did I ever feel like I owed anyone other than him and my family an explanation.  Because in the end, it wasn’t anyone elses life to live… it was mine.  And no amount of “I’m sorry for…” was going to soothe the curiosity that pulsed through my social media accounts, job, and friends.

About the time my third love came around, I was sitting in an office chair in a gas station looking at all of the shattered pieces of my heart trying to decide where I was to go now.  I let the tears fall and the prayers rise up.  I wasn’t ready for a relationship and I knew I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but I asked God to just give me a sign that there was someone out there for me.  Someone who was going to love me for who I was; broken pieces and all.  Love literally knocked on that office door that day.

Even though we both felt it (literally) in that moment, I knew I wasn’t ready and I’m sure he wasn’t ready for me at that time either.  But, that was the defining moment that started to made my world spin again.  It took a knock on the door, one turned down date, a returned telephone number, and a leap of faith to get us to where we are now:  married for almost 2 years, a house, and a baby on the way.

Do I wish that my fairytale would have been much like those stories you hear about high-school sweethearts?  No.  Because it literally took an experience with each one of those types of love to get me to where I needed to be to begin my relationship with Shane.  I’m glad him and I have had the personal struggles we have had and  I’m glad that we’ve learned from past experiences.

All in all, it doesn’t matter how you get to your fairytale ending.  Let your story write itself.  But ladies: please, please, please do not ever feel like you owe anyone an apology for taking steps in a direction that may lead you to your third love.  You are stronger than that.  You are worth more than that.

You will love again, I promise.  That love will be the love that will make you forget all of the hurt, the pain, and the struggles that it took to get you there.  But you won’t be able to forget the lessons learned through all of the struggles, hurt, and pain.

Take that leap of faith.

Find that “fairytale” love.

If he left you beaten down and broken, just know there is someone out there who is able to pick you up and put you back together.

I can say that with confidence because:  been there, done that.

 

 

 

*Disclaimer:  I did get permission from the young lady to include a portion of her story.  I would never use someone else’s personal life without their consent.  ❤ *

That Special Feeling.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I can’t help but notice the amount of stuffed animals, flowers, candy, and special plans that are listed out on my Facebook, Instagram, and other social media feeds.

I was going through and enjoying what I was seeing.  I am happy that people get flowers, candy, and other gifts for Valentine’s Day.  But as I was going through and seeing all this, I felt like I got hit by a bus:

If your man or woman only does special things for you or makes plans for you one day out of the year, they are failing the other 364 days.

…that means that you feel special 0.0027% of the year.

I was just having a conversation with Shane yesterday about how I felt like I wasn’t good enough for him.  That I was a failure.  That he deserved better.  It was one of those days that was looking like I was going to have a late/no lunch break.  I let him know and found out that he had planned something special for us.  Being the supportive man he is, he found a way to make it OK.  But that didn’t change the little seed of doubt that started.

I failed him.  I failed to be able to schedule the day where I was able to take a decent lunch break and allow him to carry out this plan he had…but the car business is unpredictable so we have to work around it.

But as soon as that little seed was planted, I realized not only had I failed to take a decent lunch break, I also didn’t get dishes put away from the night before, I forgot to switch over the laundry, I was distracted with getting the kids to school and the dogs outside that I didn’t get the bed made, I hadn’t swept the floor, vacuumed the rug, dusted the shelves, and I forgot to pull bread out of the freezer for supper.  As you can imagine, the list continued to grow throughout the day.

After a long night of letting my mind spin on these things, we sent the kids off to bed and sat in silence.  I apologized.  For what?

For not getting anything done while getting everything else done, for encouraging M in her speech practices while coming down on her for neglecting her responsibilities to practice before 24 hours before her first competition, for guiding M and giving him room to grow while getting upset that he’s ‘wasting time’ and ‘procrastinating’ when we need some speed in the routine, for loving Shane with everything that I have but still not being enough for him.

As I opened up to him, he just sat and listened.  No judgement, a few laughs, and a few shakes of the head.

But when he asked me if there were things that had been done that made me feel like I was good enough, it was almost overwhelming.

Yes; you planned a special dinner for us, you’ve planned an anniversary weekend event, you’ve demonstrated patience, you’ve been understanding, you built us a bed frame with your hands while I was in Texas, you’ve lost sleep to make sure I was OK, you’ve taken leaps of faith with me, you’ve supported me, you’ve blessed me with M&M, you’ve encouraged me when I’ve lost any type of luster to continue, you’ve built me up when I’ve been knocked down, you’ve allowed me to grow, you’ve loved me through every trial and tribulation, you’ve gone out of your way to make sure I’m comfortable and feeling loved, and the list can go on.

He makes me feel like this every day of the year.  I never go to bed wondering if I’m loved or cared about.  I never question if he is being honest and faithful.

So why, the day before Valentine’s, are all these women raving over feeling ‘special’?  Do you not feel loved every other day of the year?  Do you not receive the respect that you deserve from your someone special?

When it comes to love, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the ‘go to’ verse.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I once read, to know if you have the love that you deserve, replace some of the words with the name:
Shane is patient and kind; Shane does not envy or boast; Shane is not arrogant or rude. Shane does not insist on his own way; Shane is not irritable or resentful; Shane does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If you replace those words with the name and you cannot say that is 100% accurate in your life, maybe it’s time to reevaluate some things.  I’ve been in situations where every single statement was false.  I didn’t have patience or kindness, I was surrounded by envy, boastfulness, rudeness, arrogance, resistance to compromise, irritation, resentfulness, and someone who celebrated wrongs instead of doing what was right.

Women (and men too); listen to me:

You DO deserve patience and kindness and endurance.
You DO NOT deserve any type of envy or boastfulness.
You DO NOT deserve arrogance or rudeness.
You DO NOT deserve someone who is resistant to compromise.
You DO NOT deserve someone who is irritable or resentful.
You DO NOT deserve someone who rejoices in wrongs.

While I am truly elated that you have been able to receive flowers, candy, and other things, please keep in mind that you deserve more than 0.0027% happiness and love throughout the year.  You deserve to be 100% happy, 100% loved, and 100% special 100% of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I am in Love with Another Man and My Husband Knows It.

I am in love with another man and my husband knows it. Not only does he know it, it is the best thing for our relationship. It is the best thing for [our children]. It is the best thing for my soul.

I am in love with an outlaw. His name is hated, he is shut out, abandoned, left to himself. Governments set out to hide him, to lock him away, to keep his influence from taking over their people.

He is dangerous but he is to be trusted. He roams, but he is safety. Outlawed, but can not be hidden. Despised and rejected, but gives his all. He can not be understood, but he is the answer.

I am in love with another man, I can’t keep my mind off of him. When my heart aches, when all this world has to offer is not enough, he is my soul’s satisfaction.

If I did not have Jesus, my marriage would have fallen apart long ago. If I was not totally enthralled with my Lord, then I would have nothing of benefit to teach my [children]. If my God was not all consuming, then there is no need for me here in this Earth.

Oh Jesus, I am wholly, completely in love with you!

Originally blogged on:
Beautiful Life With Cancer

By My Side.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today, my heart is heavy.  I am beginning to feel a new sense of loneliness and I have begun to feel overwhelmed.  I need you.  I need you every day but especially today.

I ask that you be by my side and to help me to feel your presence and allow it to fill me up until I am content.

I will begin to miss that human touch, the sincere hugs, the better half of me that I can have conversation with and the calming voice saying that it is all going to be alright.  I am asking you to place your hand on my shoulders, embrace me and calm my fears as I walk the next five days without my husband by my side.

I know you will never leave me nor forsake me, but the human feelings overtake what I know in my heart, soul and mind.  I know that you have sent your love and peace towards me, but help me to feel it in my soul.  Help me to not be consumed with sadness but instead, allow me to keep busy and accomplish tasks that need to be done and find happiness within them.

Allow this time to be a time for personal growth in faith as well as in each other.  Circumstances are not ideal but we know that it is what needs to be done; his duty has called.

Please stay with us Lord, as we embark on this journey.  Allow us to get a taste of how You will continue to be by our side.  Allow us to learn how to handle times away, especially when he is required to leave for weeks at a time.  Allow us to feel your presence and allow us to understand that we are never alone.

In your name I pray,
Amen.

My hero is my supporter, my comforter, my best friend, my husband.

A Picutre Is Worth 1,000 Words.

This Friday, I’m breaking my mold!  I stumbled upon a challenged that Blu Chicken Ninja was doing with black and white photographs.  I decided to put my own twist on it and instead of doing 5 days, I’m doing 5 pictures that sum up my life outside of my faith, religion, etc.  If you’ve even read one of my blogs, you know where I stand on my faith.

However, my life is intense, fast paced, and never boring!  I had a hard time choosing only 5 pictures but these are the 5 that say the most.


When Shane and I first started dating, he used to pick me flowers and leave them places for me to find.  He would leave them at work on my time card, he would swing by the house that I was living in and put them on my car, or if I caught him in time, he would hand them right to me.  It was always the same type of flower and it quickly became a symbolic flower to us.  When we would be driving and see them in the ditches, it would bring a smile.  I dried a few and had them saved but in the move, they were destroyed.

This particular ‘bouquet’ was created at on my parents farm.  We took a walk late last fall and ended up out on a rock that I used to go to when I felt my world was caving in.  As we walked, we were discussing my ‘dream wedding’ and what I would like to see.  I was telling him and as we were walking, both of us were picking different flowers.  We got to the ‘dream flowers’ and I told him that I wanted something that looked like they were ‘freshly picked’ and I looked down and the bundle that was in my hands and it was perfect.  I took this picture and it’s been one that I go back and look at often.

However, we won’t be using fresh picked flowers in September because I found another idea that seemed more us and fit the wedding better.

This was after my husband (then, boyfriend) returned home from two and a half weeks away at training.  This is when I knew that being a military wife was something that I wanted to do.  I found a strength in me that I didn’t know I had.

I never thought I would partake in a homecoming where there would be butterflies in my stomach, sweat on my palms, and shaking in my joints.  But that first time we were away from that long with limited communication allowed me to have my first experience with that.

I snapped this because I couldn’t believe that he was gone (and working hard) for almost three weeks, he gets home and hands me flowers, a bear and gives me a huge hug, then proceeds to make me supper.  From the time he hit the door, we were living at 100 MPH.  We haven’t slowed down since.

As if you don’t think our lives were busy enough, add our two human children and three fur children and it gets even more chaotic.  M&M are Shane’s children from his first marriage.  However, I fell in love with them as soon as I met them and have been increasingly welcomed into their lives.

From the time we met, it’s been “Let’s do this!”  “We need to do this!”  “OH!  Definitely this!”  They are the most exhausting but most rewarding blessings to come into my life.  I love them as if they are my own and I claim them as my own; most days.

Then comes our fur babies.  Angel (not pictured) is a rambunctious kitten who acts more like a devil.  She is almost always scratching, jumping, pouncing, climbing, eating, or sleeping.  I firmly believe she is the instigator in most issues that we have and she frames the dogs.  Then we have Marley (on the left).  What a brute!  He is a mix between a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a Golden Lab and weighs in at a light 120 pounds!  He is so happy all of the time and loves to please.  Despite his size, he thinks he is a lap dog.  He has been amazing with welcoming a new fur sister and brother over this past year.

And finally, we have Hugo (on the right).  He is a mix of St. Bernard, Border Collie, and Black Lab.  He is all that is puppy.  He plays (like a cat, mind you.  Laser pointers, balloons, ‘hiding’ and pouncing..)  He was only a couple of months old when I adopted him and he instantly found a place in my heard.  He has been my guard dog since day one.  Even though he is hyper (and antagonizing the cat or Marley) majority of them time, I love him to pieces.

No one is getting in the house with those two around.

Shane and I have a morning ritual.  He will get up and let the dogs out to do their business, start the coffee and then come wake me up.  We will sit and watch the Weather Channel or a local news station and just chatter.  It is our “get away” time when the kids are here and it allows us to have a few moments together before the hustle and the bustle of the day begins.  It’s something we both look forward to.

This was taken the day that we committed our lives to one another.  This picture does more than sum up my life.  Those shirts hanging on the wall are the shirts we wore during our first “date”.  The man standing behind me with so much love on his face came into my life and reminded me of what it felt like to be loved and respected.  The flowers in the background between Shane and I were a gift from him “just because you deserve to be spoiled now and then”.  This picture IS my life.

All I Could Have Asked For.

Throughout the week, I come across different things that I feel would be great to blog about.  But, of course, when it comes down to sit down and write, I draw a blank as to what should be my topic of the day.

So, I asked the husband what I should write about for my Thankful Tuesday post, and he did a wonderful job picking; however, I’m saving that for next week.  The reason?  He gave me something to write about in answering my question.

Shane is all that I’ve ever looked for in a life partner.  There are just so many reasons that I’ve fallen in love with him.  Things ranging in being able to hold a serious conversation one minute and then diving into a messy game of twister.  But there is one characteristic that I can say that will tie it all together.  He is an active head of the household.

He’s like the living Super Man.  He wakes up everyday at 4:45 AM, starts coffee, gets the dogs out and comes and wakes me up around anywhere between 4:50 AM and 5:15 AM.  (Depending on the morning and how tired I am… maybe 5:30 AM or later.)  He the proceeds to go to work driving truck and delivering products around the area.  Doesn’t sound like a whole lot for you who don’t know his job in detail but it’s a lot of manual labor.  He then comes home after a day that lasts between 10-12 hours.  He then does the dishes, does the laundry, cleans the house, monkeys around out in the garage, fiddles around in the yard, plays with the dogs, and on and on and on.  Add the kids into the mix every two weeks, and he interacts with them as well.

We see in different areas of the Bible what God expects from the head of the household.  1 Peter 3:7 tells us “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  Ephesians 5:25 says “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  1 Timothy 5:8 states “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Within those three small verses we see that husbands are to be considerate, respectful, loving, and provide for their family.

Just in that small paragraph where I described Shane, you can see that he is loving and provides for the kids and I.  But what I didn’t go into detail with is his consideration and how respectful he is.

Just to give you a glimpse into how selfless he is, when I found myself in a situation of abuse, he opened his doors to me.  He did not ask for a penny for bills since I was driving an hour to and from work daily.  All he asked was that I helped with the groceries as well as help with household chores.  But the months that I was there before we got married, he respected my space as well as my feelings.  He knew that there were days where I just needed me time.  He respected that.  In most cases, he ran a bubble bath for me, had a book ready with candles lit and he disappeared for 45 minutes to an hour so I could just escape my life for those few moments.

He also listens to me whine and complain about the little things that don’t go right or that are frustrating me.  All while he’s also probably had one of the worst days and doesn’t say anything until I’ve said my piece and he’s talked me into a calm.

He has done so much for me on a personal level.  But, he’s also helped me immensely on my spiritual level as well.  He’s become my rock in many spiritual battles that I’ve had as well as been a wonderful example of Christ’s unfailing love.  He takes responsibility for us getting to church on time and that we do our nightly readings and prayers.

He is just so strong and supportive and doesn’t even realize that he’s everything I could have asked for and more.

Does This Need Fixing Or Listening?

My Pastor showed us this video at one of our couples group meetings.

We all got a good chuckle out of it but then realized that this short clip takes a serious issue and puts humor to it.  The issue is that men (and in some cases, women) have this strange desire to constantly fix things; things around the house, things in your relationship, things in your personal life, things in his personal life, things at work, things with the kids, and on and on and on.

However, the constant need to fix things isn’t the biggest issue within this little segment; or even in our daily lives.  The bigger issue is listening.  I’m not talking just sitting down and mindlessly nodding during a conversation; listening.  I’m getting at the active listening; rephrasing and repeating what we are saying, not offering immediate advice on how to fix things.  Because quite frankly, not everything needs to be fixed.

A couple friend of ours struggles with this as well.  When we were talking about how they handle situations where one feels the need to be listened to, the wife said it’s more of her going to him with things that she feels are issues or situations that need addressing.  It used to be where they would talk and he would almost shut down; no emotion, no feedback, nothing.  Then, it went the opposite way, he wanted to offer an immediate fix to majority of the things they talked about.  She said it took some work, but now he is at the point where when she comes to him and voices concerns, he sits and listens, goes through a phase where he meditates/contemplates on what needs to be done, and then offers feedback and suggestions.  This also came up as a topic at our last couples group through church.  One question that got brought up within the group could really benefit not only these friends of ours, but everyone else; “Do you want me to fix this or should I just listen?”

I know in my relationship with Shane, I get easily frustrated when it comes to how to handle certain situations with M&M, or complain about how one upset customer/employee at work (even though it’s not directly at me) can just make my entire day feel off, or how the dogs won’t quit playing and I just can’t get them to listen.  It’s all dumb little stuff, but sometimes I just need to vent for 10 minutes and get it off my chest.

We just had one of these situations last night.  I was voicing my concern about how we need to continue to mold M&M into these functional human beings, and neither one of us can do that if we keep catering to their bad habits. (By bad habits I mean acting spoiled, constant whining, the constant need for approval or praise, so on and so forth — we are both guilty of doing so.)  Yes, they are children, but they are not YOUNG children anymore.  They need to be treated like the young adults that they are.  They are at the age where their trying to form their own identity and break out into the world around them and they can’t do that if we are constantly holding their hand or trying to pave the way for them.

As I was voicing my thoughts, opinions, and frustrations with some of the things that had gone on, I could tell I was getting more and more frustrated.  My emotions were now feeding into my thoughts and I couldn’t stop it.  I could tell Shane was at the point where he wanted to be done talking about it but neither one of us knew how to shut it off.  Now, it didn’t turn into a fight, but it sparked a need to fix something… for ME to fix something.

We discussed it a little bit more off and on throughout the night and finally we had reached an agreement on how to handle these issues should they come up again; and they will.  But being a woman and being emotionally charged, I could not let it go.  I wasn’t feeling frustrated, I wasn’t upset with Shane, but I had reached a point where now I wanted to go get the kids and begin working on these changes… NOW.

Know that an immediate fix wasn’t possible, I laid in bed trying to think of ways to prepare ourselves for when they come back on Friday.  Honestly, I don’t even know if I came up with any ways or if I did, what they were.  Next thing I know, I wake up, look at the clock and its 2:30 AM.

After a full nights sleep, I woke up this morning not really feeling a change in how I felt.  Actually, I think I almost felt worse.  In fact, felt guilty… selfish almost.  I had let my emotions run my thoughts and even though I was talking with Shane and I was listening to him, I wasn’t hearing all of what he was trying to say.  All of my frustrations could have been avoided if I would have just actively listened to him.

It takes a lot of effort to go from passive listening to active listening, but I’ve set it as a goal for myself, and for the kids as well when they get back.  We (as a family) need to work on actively listening to one another better, engaging in conversation and asking  each other “Do you want me to fix this or do you just want me to listen?”

Discipline is Painful, Not Pleasant.

I wish I could say that being a “step-mom” has been a walk in the park, but it hasn’t.  I wish I could say that things will get easier, but they won’t for a while.  I wish I could say that I was good at leading a “Godly” example for M&M, but despite my efforts, I am not perfect.

Jumping in to a parent role has not been the easiest adjustment.  I went from being single and caring only about myself and my dog, to dating this wonderful man and his children.  While I cared for them and worried for them while we were dating, it changed when I became one of M&M’s four legal guardians.  The nagging “Are you setting a good example?”  “A Godly one?”  “Are you dressed the way you would want M to dress?”  “Are you conducting yourself the way you would want M to conduct herself?” is consistent.  Everything I do revolves around these two human beings that look at me as a role model for how they are allowed to act.

Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing.  It’s a wonderful thing.  It keeps me motivated, it keeps me honest and it keeps me humble.  However, I’m now caught in a situation where I’m stuck between “Where did I go wrong?” and “Why can’t they listen to what we are trying to tell them?”

Part of the answer revolves heavily around social media website.  Yes, parents, you heard correctly.  Websites like Instagram, Snap Chat, Vine, Facebook, Twitter, so on and so forth.  It is today’s culture that is embedding itself into our children’s mind that is making them feel like they have to go to drastic measures for attention.  By drastic measures I mean talking to men/women they don’t personally know, posting revealing pictures of themselves, putting their personal information online, saying or doing just about anything to give them the attention that they crave.

It says in Matthew 6:1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.  for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
This is telling us that it is not OK to act selfishly, righteously, or higher than any other person.  However, that is all that we see on these social media accounts.  It’s not just selfish comments like “Rate me.”  “I’m beautiful.” or things of that nature anymore.  It is also starting to be comments made out of lust for another.

Galatians 5:16 states “But I say, walk with the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  However, we are still seeing comments as “Shout out to this most perfect girl.”  “I’m taken by the most beautiful girl in the world.”  and things of that nature.  The scary thing is that this is not just happening in people over the age of 18.  In the past 24 hours, I have seen these comments made on Instagram by an Elementary school student.  ELEMENTARY aged student.

Parents of this child; WHERE ARE YOU?  What in your right mind made you think that it was OK to let your ELEMENTARY aged child create a social media account where he has access to endless pages of pornography, predators, hackers and other things that could completely ruin his future?

I would like to think that Terri, Marc, Shane and I are all on the same page when it comes to disciplining M&M – better yet, I KNOW we are on the same page.  I’ve heard comments come from people that I’ve talked to that amount to “You just need to let them make those mistakes.  You don’t need to guide their every move.”  While, no we don’t need to oversee everything they do, they have to earn that trust.  However, we are struggling with the trust issue due to issues with….. social media!  Go figure!  However, this isn’t the only issue.  It’s the staying up late to be on this website talking to boys/men that she doesn’t know, it’s the poor performance she has been exhibiting in school because she’s tired, it’s the selfish attitude that shows through when she doesn’t get her way, it’s the disrespect that she shows her father (and probably her mother), and it’s the spider web of lies and deceit that she has now weaved but caught herself in.

So, yes.  We are hard on both of the kids.  But it is showing them how to become responsible and functional adults when it comes their time to contribute to society.  The workforce won’t hire someone with a poor attitude.  They won’t hire someone who’s constantly posting inappropriate or questionable things on their social media.  They will not be able to function in society if they do not have firm hands guiding them the way they are supposed to go.

We try to bring the kids up in faith and try to find Biblical backing in all that we do.  And my motivation for this upcoming week is going to be Hebrews 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

This next week is going to be painful.  Not only for us as parents but also for us as guidance counselors.  We will be starting to take steps to ensure that the kids’ know the danger of the social media world.  By dangers, I’m not just talking about the occasional bullying or the rude comments back and forth; I’m talking about the child abductions, the sex trafficking, the rapes and the murders.

Parents, please please please make your children (especially your young ladies) aware of the dangers of putting their information, their picture, etc online.  If you need advice or have advice (as I’m going to be going through this over the course of the next few weeks with my little lady) please leave it in the comments to help other parents.

#MotivationMonday

One Big Beautifully Tangled Mess.

Have you ever sat and just thought about what the purpose of some things are?  It’s been one of those days where my mind has done nothing but race.  What is the purpose of all of this snow?!  Or better yet, a single snowflake. 

Growing up, we are taught that each snowflake has its own design, its own look; there are no two snowflakes that look-alike.  Well, let’s just say, when you start to throw tons and tons of them in one area, they ALL look the same.
snow 

While I was shoveling massive amounts of snow off my driveway this morning, I got to thinking “What lesson does God have for me in all of this?  He wouldn’t drop all of this snow without trying to show some sort of lesson through it.”  

Now, some of you may be thinking that  He probably views us exactly like we view this snow pile – one giant pile of tangled, disorganized, purposeless things.   WRONG!  It states in 1 Corinthians 7:7 “..each of you has your own gift from God; one his this gift, another has that.” 

There are no two people who possess the same exact skill, the same exact trait, or the same exact look.  There will always be something unique about you

As I’m continuing to shovel, I then realize that in God’s eyes, even though all of us are piled up like the snow pile, he can distinctly see all of our different designs; he knows every one of our designs.  If I had to guess, I’m the oblong flake with some swirly type of designs coming off of it.  Each swirly ‘stem’ coming off of it represents something unique about me that no one else will have.  Some of the things I thought of were how I constantly strive to learn new things (music, recipes, life hacks, academics, etc.), I hold myself to high standards, I have strict morals, how I can have manners that are close to that of a high society member or as non-existent as an over worked, burned out factory worker, I set goals and strive for them, I tend to give people second chances – even when they don’t deserve it, the different ways Shane and I communicate (body language, actual conversation, little notes, acts of service), I have past experiences that haven’t been so great but that have taught me lessons that I can pass onto Miah, so on and so forth. 

All of a sudden, this cute-little-awkward-looking snowflake that I viewed myself as turned into this HUGE web of curly spindles that were intertwined and looked like a knotted mess.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am perfectly imperfect; and that’s ok with me. 

Now, I’m not entirely sure what my purpose here on Earth is.  To be a mom?  To be a wife?  To open a bakery?  To minister to people through my blogs?  But just like one of those teeny-tiny singular snowflakes, I hold a small purpose and combined with other teeny-tiny singular snowflakes, I can have a huge effect on those around me. 

But my purpose in life is not for me to know.
“‘For I know the plans that I have in store for you’ declares the Lord. ” ~Jeremiah 29:11