Late and Worried…AGAIN!

I woke up the other morning just like almost every other morning of my life – late. I had to be out the door in an hour with all 4 kids, dressed, fed, and ready to go.

After spending way too much time making breakfast, I had about 15 minutes left to shoo the kids around the house into shoes and out the door. After 30 minutes everyone was buckled in the car while I sprinted around the house packing snacks, diapers, water, teething gel, wallet, and trying not to forget my phone.

I wish I could blame my lateness on kids…4 of them…but that just wouldn’t be fair.

I’ve been late since I can remember. I scarfed down breakfast on the way to 5th grade, walked in late to 80% of my high school career, and barely skated into college classes on time.

If I were any Disney character, I'd be this tardy rabbit!

If I were any Disney character, I’d be this tardy rabbit!

And every time I’m late I feel great anxiety. You’d think after a lifetime of tardiness I’d be numb to feeling guilty and worried about being late. Continue reading

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I Used To Be Fun

That’s what I kept thinking the other night. As I reflected on my day of homeschooling 3 tornadoes I cringed at my serious, harsh, controlling tone that ruled the day. I snapped at my oldest, scowled at my boy, and talked impatiently with my 3-year-old.

I used to be fun.

When I was a camp counselor, I was the most carefree mentor around. I was goofy, playful, warm, and I smiled more. I was a relaxed Sunday school teacher and I could work the room at any social gathering.

I thought for sure I would have this whole mom thing locked up. I thought I would have more fun with my kids. Why wouldn’t I when I had so much fun with everyone else?! What I didn’t account for was the effect of worry on my ability to relax.

Worry steals my fun. I stiffen up when I feel the need to control things. I get serious and tighten up mentally and emotionally. I have expectations of the mom and person I want to be. When I don’t live up to them, I worry that I’m letting everyone down, especially my kids. And that’s when I’m no fun.  Continue reading

2 Ways to Organize Away Worry

For some of us, the start of the new school year is like January 1st. It’s the perfect time for new starts. We resolve to make better breakfasts, be more organized in the morning, not be late, and in general be the school parent we’ve always dreamed of being.

That usually means we need to be more organized.

So that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last couple of months. I have a lot of responsibilities I’m trying to juggle and I need a road map for my days.

Does your

I realized something as I sought to organize my craziness:

I worry more when I’m stressed.

This seems like a total DUH, but sometimes the obvious is veiled. Continue reading

There is Not One Right Choice

This last week we spent time with our fun MN family. After a week at the beach, we were set to return when a unique opportunity arose. My DH was invited to take a continuing education course taught by a prominent Seminary professor.

If you know my guy, you know he’s a nerd and a half who could spend all day talking theology. But he was conflicted. In fact, a bit anxious.

He couldn’t decide whether to stay for the class or return home to prepare for church events. He had a nagging feeling in his gut that he should go home. However, after much thought and discussion, we chose to stay.

What struck me about this whole process was his nagging feeling. He never has those kinds of feelings…so my first thought was, “This must be a sign from God that we should go home.” Yet there was no compelling reason to go home (for me) other than his feeling.  Continue reading

5 Ways to Put Worry to Bed

I love sleep. If sleep were an Olympic sport, I’d surely medal! I’d even consider myself a professional napper (that is, BC – Before Children). There’s nothing better than collapsing into a cozy bed, pre-warmed by my DH, snuggling into a soft pillow, and drifting into a heavy deep sleep.

There’s nothing worse than being assaulted by worry and anxiety as I’m trying to settle in for the night. Worry has often been the thief of sound sleep in Brandy-land.

Some nights dark shadows chase me and other nights my Baby Girl is falling down the stairs. And still some nights I endure a general feeling of anxiousness while I sleep. I can tell it’s been an especially stressful night when I wake and my face is sore from clenching.

So I’ve been trying some tactics to fight worry…even while I sleep!

5 ways to put worry to bed Continue reading

The Worry Hidden in Perfection

Meet a dear friend of mine. Let’s call her Mandy.

Mandy has never called herself a perfectionist. In fact, she believes herself to be the exact opposite. You might say an imperfectionist…or as she says, “I’m more type ZZ than type A!”

Mandy’s dresser has been covered with clothes (outside the drawers) since she and her husband married.

pictures from graduation 078

Mandy’s dresser in her first apartment…note her husband’s (we’ll call him Tim) dresser which is perfectly clean. Not much has changed in 10 years!

When company comes, they can often find unpaired socks in the kitchen next to pizza crumbs under the table. But Mandy doesn’t mind. She believes it shows character. Continue reading

I Never Knew This About the Plagues

I’ve heard the story of the 10 plagues a gazillion times. I’ve seen the movie Prince of Egypt about a million times.  If I thumb through the 3 or 4 kids Bibles we have at the house, the Exodus account takes up about half of the Old Testament stories.  The account of the 10 plagues is a well-worn story.

 But God’s Word is living and active.

Embrace_Words

And I learned something new about the plagues…rather, something new about God through the plagues.

See, whenever I heard the plagues story, I thought about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart and that God is super-duper powerful.

The aforementioned are still true.  But there is so much more to learn about our God.

So here are 2 things I learned:

1. God used the plagues to set His people apart.
In the 4th plague, the one with pestering flies, God mentions in Exodus 8 verse 22-24 that

On that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people.

flies_no

And again with the plague on livestock, God tells Pharaoh in Exodus 9:4 that

But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.

God’s distinct, chosen Israelites were also protected from the plague of hail, the plague of darkness, and the plague on the firstborn.

God wanted Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the Israelites to know that He was not only powerful enough to choose on whom the plagues would land, but that He also had chosen a people to be distinct and separate from other peoples.  A people that He loves enough to come in and rescue from 400 years of oppression.

This theme continues all throughout the Israelites story.  As they wandered for 40 years in the desert, God set them apart with the 10 commandments…with the unique ways of winning battles…with circumcision…with His peculiar provisions…and just think – their identity as set apart started when no flies swarmed their houses.

This identity is not reserved for the Israelites.

We as modern-day disciples have been adopted into the royal priesthood of believers.  1 Peter 2:9 proclaims that

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We are set apart just as the Israelites were set apart from the Egyptians.  And just as God flexed His muscles in choosing the geography of the plagues, He reveals His supreme power in choosing to adopt us, little ole’ you and me.

It is like curling up with a cup of hot chocolate (with whipped cream) to know that I am God’s special possession, distinct and set apart.

Hot_chocolate_(2)

Nice and cozy-like

2. Our God is so so so so so so patient.

Pharaoh pulled a bait and switch 4 times on Moses and God.  Four times Pharaoh said he would let God’s people go if Moses would just ask God to remove the plague.  Four times Moses went to God and prayed for the plagues to subside…and four times God dispelled the plague.  And, you remember, four times Pharaoh hardened his heart and changed his mind.

If I were Moses, or God, I would have gone bananas on Pharaoh for repeatedly lying.  I’m a total rule keeper, and if we make a deal, I expect you to keep up your end of the bargain especially if I’ve kept mine.

Let's shake on it!  By the way, neither of these is my hairy hand.

Let’s shake on it. By the way, neither of these hairy arms are mine.

But our perfect and holy God is extremely patient with Pharaoh.  He relents each time Pharaoh lies.  In Exodus 9:15 God notes His restraint

…by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.

God knows Pharaoh is jerking Him around.  But He doesn’t destroy him.  He’s patient.  He’s long-suffering.

This same God who’s restrained with the Egyptian ruler is also patient with me.

This awesome characteristic of God is described in 2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sometimes I fear that God is going to give up on me – get tired of me apologizing for my worry and my lack of self-discipline.  I wonder when my forgiveness is going to run out.  But if God is so so so patient with Pharaoh (who consistently hardened his heart), how much more patient will He be with me who’s heart is weak and pliable?

I can’t wait to read the Exodus account again and discover something new about God.  I believe that when we know God more intimately through His Word, our trust in Him grows.  

So I challenge you this week to revisit a familiar story.  Read with new eyes and ask yourself

What does this story teach me about God?

Leave a comment sharing what you’ve learned!

Happily linked with:
The Time Warp Wife
Raising Homemakers
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

 

 

 

 

Is Celery Healthy?

This is a question I get a lot in my house.  Is _________ healthy?

Is watermelon healthy?

Are cookies healthy?

Which is healthier: peanut butter or jelly?

I have two reactions to these questions.

1. Pride
My babies are thinking about food and trying to eat healthy. What parent doesn’t want their kids to make wise choices about the food they eat?

2. Worry
Unfortunately, this reaction far outweighs my pride.  You see, I’m concerned my kids are beginning to develop my food disorder.  They’re thinking way too much about if something’s healthy or not.  It hasn’t inhibited them from eating foods, but they’re often asking about the nutritional value of a meal. They’re looking for the best foods to eat.

I know how to answer their questions about cookies and watermelon.  I bust out some Cookie Monster wisdom: Continue reading

The Best Way to be Overwhelmed

Where were you one year ago?

I was 3 months pregnant and suffering through some awful all-day-long sickness.  It was so bad that even water repulsed me. Water.

A lot has changed in the past year.  I can enjoy water again.  We have our 4th child, a healthy little boy, who I affectionately call Mister Mister.  And we have completely changed our state, community, church, and house.  In fact, most of these changes happened in the last 4 months.

Now I wish I was one of those bloggers who chronicle through life’s transitions.  A blogger who is organized and sane enough to jot down some witty insights in the midst of the muck.  But I’m not.  Truth is I’ve barely kept my head above water.  By all appearances life should be good.  Mister Mister is a healthy easy baby, our new community is bursting with opportunities to connect, our church is eager and vibrant, and our house is a country escape. Continue reading