Author Archives: unashamedgrace

mother's day and mental health

mother’s day and mental health

Happy mothers day to the anxious, the depressed, to those battling mental illness and those believing the lies of the enemy saying “you are failing at this mom thing.”

I don’t have words that will heal your hearts or pull this thorn from your flesh, I wish I did. What I do have is the words to tell you that you are not alone. A reminder that you are loved and that these struggles do not make you a failure or less of a great mom.

You struggle on day by day doing your best to hide these hardships from your children, to smile when they look at you and fill their lives with joy even when you feel none. You speak truth to yourself even when you don’t think that you are actually listening. You wonder what is wrong with you and why you can’t just be happy, be “normal.”

What you don’t know is that when your children look at you, what they see is your strength. They look at you and see a woman who is living a faithful life when faith isn’t easy. They see you choosing to trust when your mind is screaming that you cannot. They see you making the hard choices that are only made harder because of the voices in your head telling you that it isn’t worth it. They see your perseverance. Your children look at you and see hope for their own future because of the way you continue to battle this thorn in your flesh that won’t come out.

Your life gives your children the strength they will need to face their own thorns ones day whether those thorns are similar to your own or completely different. I know because I was one of those children.

At least for today shout “shut up!” at the prince of lies who wants to tear you down so you won’t be a threat to him.

Hear my words to you today, the words HE whispers to you every day, even when it is hard to hear Him. You are not a failure, you are a conqueror. You are strong because He is shining through you even in your weakest moments. You are raising children who know that life isn’t always easy but that God is always faithful even when trusting feels impossible.

Sister in Christ, daughter of the King, hold your head high today. You are raising the people who may one day change the world and anxiety (or whatever your particular struggle is) can’t do a darn thing to stop that because you are His.

signed

 

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after burnout

after burnout

It has been almost 5 months since my website was hacked and I lost everything I have written in the past 2 years. This happened at a time of chaos in my life, getting ready to go to Africa, then coming back and jumping right back into the insanity that is my life (of my own making). Africa was exactly as I imagined it would be, what wasn’t the same was the feeling of coming back. I have been overseas before so I knew a bit of it but at the time I was still a child really, a teenager with the world open to me and very few responsibilities. This time coming back meant jumping back into the ministries I am involved in, jumping back into being a mom and my work responsibilities. I didn’t expect the emotions that came with it or even know how to explain them, I still don’t really. Losing every post I have poured my heart into for the past two years only exasperated it (a lot).

I found myself well along the road to burnout, again, with no idea how to turn it around and no idea how to even explain how I was feeling except tired.

I don’t blame Africa, that was awesome and I am dying to back, it was entirely my own fault for getting myself involved in too many things, stretching myself too thin and relying on my own strength.

Normally when I feel these feeling writing helps, but this time even my voice was tired. No words left in my over wordy life. Words have always been a way of processing for me, they help but these past few months trying to find words was so hard!

I too a step back of whatever I could and still I just felt exhausted. Every so slowly I started to feel like myself again but still the words were missing. Today was the first time in a long time that I have felt those words start to bubble up again and felt the need to sit down and write. It feels like a spring in my life which is wonderful, slowly those tiny plants are starting to poke through again and I’m starting to feel life creep into me again. Words and emotion, not sure why they have come back together but they have, they both came crashing in on me today.

So, I am back, hopefully to stay and will slowly rebuild my site and content.

signed

PS I just read Eve Undone by Alanna Rusnak and I loved it and I’m not just saying that because she is my friend! It is a short story so it’s perfect for when you want something to fill an hour or so. Seriously, check it out!

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Ghana trip

Ghana Trip (part 1)

I have been trying to find the right words to answer the questions that people keep asking about how our trip was. I think I haven’t really processed it all yet and it is so much to try to sum up into a quick answer! We loved it so much! Ghanaians are wonderful welcoming people who are so fun to be around because they are WAY more expressive than North Americans.

Paul and Anna

Ghanaians are wonderful welcoming people who are so fun to be around because they are WAY more expressive than North Americans. While we were there we taught our hostess, Anna, and her sister Millicent how to make pizza, when we told her we would teach her she danced around the house smiling and cheering. It’s wonderful. (the pizza turned out really good too) We could not have dreamed of better hosts than Paul, Anna and Millicent! We adore them and miss them so much now that we are away. Anna and Millicent are fabulous cooks and spoiled us so much! All three of them are so fun to be around, so silly and hilarious and just all around wonderful.

Millicent

The classes were great, Caleb loved teaching with Pete and Paul and I enjoyed hanging out with some of the kids what came along with their moms. Lesley and I were able to lead a small group during the second module which was on our Position in Christ. We had about 15 women in our group and really enjoyed getting to know them. We would have loved to have a lot more time with them and are looking forward to seeing them again on a future trip.

Caleb teaching in Ghana

We were able to go to a local school and teach during chapels on Wednesday mornings which was awesome. Caleb and I taught the little guys (K – grade 6ish). The younger kids don’t speak very much English yet so we had the help of a translator which was actually really fun because he was a very high energy and expressive translator who copied all the mannerisms I used when I told my story. Caleb taught the first week and I took the second one, I taught the story of Elijah with the prophets of Baal – my  favorite Bible story. (That story always goes over really well with kids.) It is pretty cool that they still have prayer, singing and Bible classes in public schools there! It seems like such a foreign thing coming from a country like Canada or the US.

We were able to spend two days with Priscilla, a very cool lady who fosters 8 children (2 have been adopted by her and her husband now, 6 are still foster kids) in Accra. These children all have special needs and some of them are fairly severe. Priscilla is so full of faith and love she practically radiates it. It was so wonderful getting to know her a bit, I would have loved to spend a lot more time with her and hope to do so next time. On top of her job being mommy and daddy to 8 little kids, Priscilla and William teach Bible classes in the nearby slums, one of the few unchurched places. They are praying about planting a church there soon. There are ways to support their ministry with children and with this church plant if you are interested….

Priscilla Pete, William and the kids Lesley

Just today we saw that the adoptions for two of these little children have gone through and they will be heading over to the US to their new families. Please pray for William and Priscilla and the children as they all say goodbye, this is always very hard but also something to praise God for! If you want to know more about their ministries you can look them up on facebook, twitter or online West Africa Mercy Ministries.

If you haven’t seen the first video from our trip you can do so here and subscribe to my youtube channel to see the next one when it comes out. I will write more and post more videos soon.

signed

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A day in London

A day in London!

One very cool treat at the end of our trip was a cancelled flight that led to about 30 hours in London. We got a hotel, rested, showered and toured London. It was a crazy day with 8 hours of walking fast all over and we loved every minute of it. (although I limped back into the hotel like an idiot while Caleb and Lesley laughed at me.)

If you haven’t seen this already, here is a taste of our amazing day in this beautiful city:

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5 Ways to be an Awesome Mom (with minimal effort)

If you are lazy like me, but still want to rock this parenting thing and raise happy healthy children you need some tips for being an awesome mom with minimal effort. Sure, anyone can tell you to bake fantastic treats and do all those things that suspiciously energetic Pinterest moms do, but let’s be honest, that isn’t going to happen. So here are my 5 tips to make you a better (even awesome) mom today while still keeping your sanity and conserving energy.

  1. Laugh at their jokes. I know half the time they are just so so lame and after hearing them 300 times you don’t want to laugh again but go ahead and do it
    They’ll love it and you might find the forced laugh leads to actual feelings of humour
  2. Growl and chase them. If you have sensation kids maybe don’t do this one, but for most kids it brings forth squeals of delight, wide eyes and is fairly funny to watch. You only need to do this for a minute but the excitement continues for a while for them..
  3. Talk like Beaker. This is my go-to tool for addressing Aurora’s whining lately. She fuses and I repeat everything she says in Beaker language. It generally annoys her then makes her laugh. Continue until the fussing stops completely and be sure to interrupt/talk over her while she is still whining.
  4. Set up their car track/a tent/a Thomas village. Sure this one takes a bit more effort, but it should keep them occupied for a while and buy you a bit of peace.
  5. Be super expressive. Saying things like “Beautiful!”, “Awesome job, buddy!”, and “Great work!” Go a long was in boosting your kids moral and therefore making them think you are more awesome.

Bonus: Jump on the trampoline with them. Now I understand this one only works if you actually have a trampoline, and requires more effort but I can actually be quite fun once you get over looking like a fool. If you don’t have a trampoline some great substitutes would be going down a slide several times, playing tag, building a snow fort or leaf pile actually, any type of Fort really basically ups your awesome level to a 10.

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A Good Mom

A Good Mom

” I felt like a good mom yesterday” she said to me today listing off all the fun they had together playing and being silly. She is a working mom, she provides well for her children, she bakes and cooks nice things for them. She loves them well and yet she feels this guilt that we all feel that somehow we are not good enough moms unless we DO all these extra things.

I don’t remember anyone ever telling me that I needed to do certain things to be a “good mom” besides the obvious things like provide for your children, kiss their owies, nurture them, feed them, make sure they are clean and get their rest. No one gave me an extra list of to-dos. For some reason most of us judge ourselves pretty harshly though and think we are bad moms because we fall short of our own expectations.

I know a lot of us blame this on Pinterest and Social Media and it is true that has exasperated the problem, but mom guilt was around long before the internet.

We believe the lie that we are failures. We judge ourselves and in doing so we actually make ourselves less effective as moms.

So moms out there, working moms, single moms, stay at home moms, rich moms, poor moms, moms with only one child and moms with a full house, don’t believe the lie. Hear me shout, you are enough! You are a great mom, if you weren’t you wouldn’t be worrying about it. Do your best and accept grace for all of your failures because just as your own mom wasn’t perfect and her mom wasn’t, you will never be perfect but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a fantastic mom. A good mom. The best mom possible for your children.

signed

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Confessions of a Lazy Mom

Confessions of a Lazy Mom

I have to admit that most of the time I fail miserably at being a mom. Oh I can make it look like I don’t, I can put on a good show when others are around but when it really comes down to it I am nothing like the mom I planned to be. I can’t seem to find the energy to be her.

I don’t scream at my kids, I don’t use words like “shut up” or bad language around them, but i do yell sometimes. I do empty threats that I am just to lazy to follow through with or never intended to follow through with in the first place.

I don’t enjoy cooking most days so if I can get away with it our meals will be quick and easy things. My mom always had great meals (unless she tried a new recipe that was a flop – that happened a few times, usually when we were having company over) but my level of cooking laziness far exceeds hers. My kids aren’t starving by any means but this isn’t what I pictured when I thought about being a mom. I thought I would love cooking and doing their laundry. Who could not love folding up tiny clothes over and over again because they knocked over the pile again or decided it looked like a fun place to jump….

I thought I would read to my kids a lot more than I do. I love to read and always have but when I tried to read books to my kids they ways got bored within minutes or even seconds. That has improved quite a bit now that they are older but most of the time it is still frustrating. I guess, in hindsight, starting them off with that complete works of Aristotle might have been a mistake…..haha I kid, obviously, but that is how they treated even the most exciting books if they don’t have any pictures. I’ve let it burn me out and frustrate me more than it should and instead of persevering I more often opt for what is easier and requires less work. I really need to work on this area…. I must force them to enjoy reading….

I don’t do all that extracurricular crap. Honestly, I get really tired when other moms talk and out skating lessons and swimming lessons and gymnastics and dance class and hockey and soccer and ballet and music lessons and a million other things our children apparently HAVE to learn if they will succeed. My kids play outside and play with lego. They make up their own dance moves, do enough crafts to paper most of the continent and do enough gymnastics on the trampoline that I think they will probably survive.

Sports?! Ain’t nobody got time for dat! Seriously, I have no idea how anyone has time for that. Sure it is cute when they are little but it’s just not gonna happen. Aurora has school-year-long PE every year in her school and gets a taste of all different sports and does intramural games for all of them, that’s good enough. When she’s a teenager she can do more if she wants. When I was a teenager we played floor hockey, basketball or soccer daily but it was always just games we called and if you wanted to play you came. I don’t really see that in Aurora’s future, she may surprise me but it would be a BIG surprise and I am way too lazy to force it.

I don’t do Pinterest crafts with them, I did at one point but now it is basically a once a year or a couple times a year thing….and I don’t do “sensory activities” I mean, my kids bead necklaces and bracelets and paint and stuff like that but I don’t do these specific sensory things that are supposedly so crucial.

Do I feel guilty about it? Ya, sometimes. Probably a lot actually but then I remind myself that my kids are surviving fine, are learning and are doing well so it is probably all ok.

What are your lazy mom confessions?

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byourlove

By Our Love

If you haven’t heard about ISIS and the Syrian refugee crisis (on top of all the millions of refugees there already were from more than just Syria) then you are in the minority. Almost all of us have heard, we all wept over Aylan’s body and the news of so many others who have either perished trying to escape, been caught and sent back to the war zones, or made it to what they thought was safety only to be mistreated in those places. It is heartbreaking and although it is nothing new many of us didn’t really wake up to the problem until recently. We have a chance now to either ignore the problem, pretend it isn’t happening, or be the church, show love and say yes we will obey.

On Wednesday night our church held a meeting for us, the other churches in the area and anyone who was interested in coming to talk about bringing a family over. I have been desperately hoping that we would sponsor at least one family as a church so this was very encouraging. I worried that this would just be more talk when what is really needed now (and was long before this new crisis) is action but left feeling encouraged that this isn’t just talk, it is a plan. It is amounts of money written down on pieces of paper promising how much each person is able to give so we know how many families we can bring over. It was information from someone who has already gone through this whole process and can answer our questions even the ones we didn’t know we had. It was people promising to help teach ESL, to help with all the little things that are necessary to live in a climate like ours.

As I drove home I thought about how God already has a family (or multiple families) chosen for us, He knows what country they will come from and what language they will speak. We can imagine and speculate but He already has them picked out. I thought about how cool it is that I can already be praying not only for the logistics of sponsoring a family but I can pray specifically for the people that we will one day meet. It doesn’t matter to God that I haven’t learned their names yet because HE already knows them.

So as our community embarks on this new adventure that will, I am sure, be difficult and amazing and trying and leave us all changed, will you pray with me for the family God will bring into our lives? Will you pray for us as we prepare to show the love of Christ to a family who has been through unimaginable pain. Will you pray for patience and wisdom and lots of grace for everyone who will be involved in this process. Thanks.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.          (John 13:35)

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Grace in the ugly

grace in the ugly

I have been thinking about grace a lot this summer. When grace shows the most in our lives, and when we see it the most in the lives of others.

A few of weeks ago a couple I know had a new baby, their precious baby came too soon though and was only with them for an hour before going to be with Jesus.

As a bystander I was wrecked, I sat in my car listening to music just weeping for them, I had to sneak out of church a week later because I was sobbing again, even as I write this the tears threaten to pour over.

I drove to meet some girlfriends the day I heard the news, listening to “Your Grace Finds Me” by Matt Redman and sobbing for them and their children and their pain. I started to think about how Grace is most evident in the ugliest moments of our lives.

As a believer we can see grace in our lives every day in so many ways and they are all beautiful, but grace never shows up so beautifully as it does in those devastating moments. The moments when a regular person would fall apart, when a regular person would get angry and yell at God. Those are the moments when grace shines so brightly it can’t be ignored.

When the person who should be destroyed with grief is still praising the Lord.

When the woman who just received the news that there is nothing else they can do for her cancer and she has only weeks left is singing praises and encouraging others.

When the man who just lost his whole family because of his faith is still telling everyone he meets about Jesus.

When the thing that should make a person bitter actually draws them closer to God; grace is never so beautiful as it is then.

It was, after all, one of these ugly moments when Grace won. In that moment when the perfect God-incarnate, beaten so badly he was unrecognizable, cried “it is finished” and conquered sin and showed us what Grace is in the biggest way possible.

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