26 April 2013

Hope and Encouragement

In the beginning of the year, I got two verses that really spoke to me and that I am holding on. They have become my mantra, if you want to call it that.

Jeremiah 29: 11 - For 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.

and Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Going through my transformation, I am holding on to Philippians 1:6 - being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - especially on days when things seem way too dark and hard and discouraging. 

The verse and the picture goes so well with my new favorite song by Sanctus Real called 'Promises'. If you would like to hear it, here is a link to the youtube video. I AM holding onto the promises God has made. They are sometimes the air I breathe.....

The other day, a package arrived in our house. And when the Hubby came home, he told me that it was for me. It was not my birthday, Valentine's is long over, and mother's day is not here yet for another month, so why am I getting a gift? Well, it was a big surprise - it was this:
I might seem a bit needy when I say that I NEED encouragement, but I do! And this was such a nice surprise. The plate is just beautiful. I love it. Now I have to find a place where to display it.

All the books that I am reading are great and they have become my daily companions to help me, show me and teach me. God is my constant comforter and I am clinging to His promises as my life line. But there is nothing like a hug or a word spoken in person......

I am so blessed to have a husband that let's me lean on him and that supplies me with an abundant amount of hugs and kisses. I can talk to him and he comforts me. He gives me hope, too.

18 April 2013

Munchkin's update

I have not mentioned the baby in a long time. Yes, I am busy with three children, but really, that is not the major reason. It's homeschooling. So my posts are random and scarce and I apologize for that.
But now to the more fun part of this post. Our newest addition's update.

First a picture from her about a month old, smiling already.

She is still the sunshine of our everyday life.

To this day, I am surprised and impressed at how much she is loved by her siblings. They adore her!

Also, I finally feel like she has completed our family totally. Here is a very recent picture of us five.

Sorry for the picture-heavy post but I felt like I wanted to share the joy of the last few months. Her joining our family and becoming a part of it has been the absolute highlight, and none of us could imagine life without our Munchkin.
 She has had many milestones, like holding her bottle, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, new foods, and finally as of yesterday, walking. She only took three steps and tried a few more times. Today, as she is a bit under the weather, she only took two steps. But I know for sure, she will be running around our house in no time.

14 April 2013

Attitude change or more trust?

Now that I am writing about this book I read a while ago, a book that opened my eyes significantly, I had to face many realities, and I had to make a choice of wanting to be healed. Since then I have read a dozen other books on all the same issue: how to train my mind to reprogram my thinking that affects my actions. But at the end of each day, after reading and agreeing, I am sitting here, asking myself, HOW do I do it?

When a situation arises, that is not positive in any way, how can I change my thoughts to make it look more positive?
My mind keeps refusing to lie to myself..... I am not some machine that can easily be reprogrammed with hitting a few buttons. If the water is blue, I can not make myself believe that it is green! I don't know how I could do that.....

I agree that when something bad happens, there is no need to flip out, slam doors, threaten to take all the kids' toys away, and such..... No need. But facing reality, isn't that what God would want us to do? I know that our reality is only a glimpse of God's entire reality about our universe. I know that I can only see a part of what God is planning in the big picture. I understand that my attitude still needs to be a good attitude.

Maybe it is not a question of attitude after all. Could it be that it is a trust question? Am I really trusting God in the middle of my storm? Can He fix me?

Looking at it from that angle, I agree more with it than pretending to change my mind when I don't believe in it. But I can make the choice to believe God, and to trust Him. I can let go of my control over the matter, even with some attitude, but I can let go! Yes, I can do that. I can believe that He is simply not done with renewing me. Other people gave up on me many times over, but God will not. He has the perseverance and the unconditional love that it will take to accomplish His will.

I can believe that God works out everything for good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28). Every 'bad' situation in our eyes is a teachable moment in His eyes. He is the teacher and I have alot to learn. I believe that I can be open to the teaching and learning, to becoming stronger and more faithful. I am open and can not wait to meet the person that God wants me to be!

It's hard to give up control - I had to learn to have control of my life since a very early age, making my own decisions, bad ones and good ones. It was and is my survival mode. But it was also exhausting, to be my own boss for too many years. It is time to let go of that control. Now I am laying it down, to the feet of my Lord and Savior, to take the steering wheel of my life. I trust that He will never leave me, nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6).

My mind is truly a battlefield sometimes and so confusing. I have a hard time realizing what are my thoughts and what is God's truth. I wish I could jump into the bible and devour every word of it to truly know what God's truth is and what is not. I guess in the meantime, it is good to read as much as I can, to spend precious time with Jesus and praying and asking for answers. I have gotten a few answers, and they were great. They have given me some freedom, but also made me more hungry for more answers and more truth.

This fight is truly exhausting. In my mind and for my body. I am so tired but I know that I have to press on to see results. I am committed and I am thanking God for giving me the gift of perseverance and endurance. I thank Him for loving me the way I am. I thank Him for believing in me to get better. I thank Him for never giving up. For catching me when I fall. I thank Him for the hunger and thirst I have to read all these books. For comforting me in my worst moments. And lastly, for the hope He instills in me constantly.

09 April 2013

Low self-esteem part 2

In part one, we talked about the damage that low self-esteem can cause to oneself. Let's talk about what it does to our relationships, with God and with others.

The author of the book says that "satan uses your nagging sense of inferiority and inadequacy to isolate you. For the commonest way to cope with feelings of inferiority is to pull within yourself, to have as little contact with other people as you possibly can, and just occasionally to peek out as the rest of the world goes by."


He further states that low self-esteem ruins the relationship with God, because if we think that we are worthless, we call God a liar and also tell Him that He did a bad job with us....... ahem.!?

Well, I agree and I don't. I have questioned myself and God about my relationship with Him, and as bad as I think of myself, I DO know that He did not make a mistake - it might be my attitude that is wrong, but He did right. I accept Him as my creator, and I totally rely on Him to make this situation better. But maybe I am already on the road of progress.... so there is hope!?

Nonetheless, I do know that I have a ton of work to do in my relationships with my fellow earthlings. They are as faulty as I am, and as a perfectionist, it can be hard to overlook those faults, and to forgive them. And then to forgive my own! (But we talked about that already here.)

I have been hurt so many times - a few too many times too much. And every time, it leaves an open wound that takes me forever to get over. And really, now I learned from the book, that those wounds probably had never healed. And because I have been hurt, I have a hard time to trust, and to love others. So I am disobeying God's command to love one another as God did (John 15:12).

People with low self-esteem can't love others, because they are so self-absorbed in their own insecurities, that it would be too much to deal with the love somebody else might need. My cries for love and acceptance had to fail because I didn't even liked myself, how could I ask someone else to love me? Faux-pas! God wants to shine through my weaknesses, and I have been stealing His show....

So my mission is to make myself like myself! No more self-belittling!

I am learning that I am a Somebody. I count. God put me here to make His garden look beautiful!
I have something to offer this world that nobody else has. 
I am accepted by Him. I am loved by Him. He cares for Me. He enjoys seeing my progress. He wants me to grow more and more, closer to Him, to bring Him glory.
(And yes, there are (many) days where I have to say this over and over, more like a mantra to myself, to believe it and to live it! - It's a process that will not happen overnight. It takes time.) 
I need to believe it to meet everyday life. I need believe it to say that I can cope with the latest painful events in my life. That I can make baby steps forward, again. That hope did not die.

So what am I trying to do? Erasing the wrong programming, that started since my birth. The information that I have received in being dealt with as a child, as a teenager, and still as an adult, come from parents with imperfect parenting, their own failures, insecurities, wrong actions, and foremost conditional love. All those negative things need to be erased out of my mind, to be replaced with God's truth about a much more positive image of myself. Amen.

And next time, we talk more about how to correct my faulty theology.

Low self-esteem part 1

Let's keep going with the next chapter of the book "Healing for Damaged Emotions" from David Seamands.

Most of us know that satan is here to take advantage of our weaknesses. When we least expect it, he is there to make it even worse. With fear. With doubt. With anger. With hostility. With worry. With guilt. All those are pretty annoying emotions and can certainly take away our joy and happiness.

But do you know his 'Deadliest Weapon'? It's called low self-esteem, combined with a feeling of inferiority and inadequacy.

Any atheist would ask, how this could be. Most Christians are happy jacks all the time and smile in the worst circumstances. Right? Not all of us do! Not all of us. Not me.

I grew up in a family of negativity. I heard it since birth, day in and day out. Nobody was good enough for my parents, nobody, not even us children. Our behavior was not good enough, our grades were not good enough, and so we grew up, both of us, with a feeling of inadequacy. How should we ever want to reach our full potential? Both of us decided very early on that we were not to go to university - something our parents expected of us. But I think, we both just gave up, never even wanting to try......

Today, I read that this low self-esteem is paralyzing my potential, it destroys my dreams, and it  ruins my relationships. In my head, the question forms: which potential, do I even have that?What dreams?
The author writes: "Low self-esteem begins even in the crib, follows to kindergarten, and worsens during the teen years. In adult life, it seems to settle in like a great fog that covers many people day by day. Sometimes it lifts a little but always returns, trying to engulf, to drown."

That sounds like my life! How did the author know? Do others feel like this as well? Maybe I am not alone after all? Where are you, 'friends', people that know how this feels? Can you give me hope? I need some encouragement.

How many times have I screwed up, and then beaten myself up for it, asking God, why I am the way I am, and why He allowed all my past to happen. I know it is a criticism for Him, but I also know that He understands my pain. And He hurts with me, because He wants so much better for me. How great then to realize that He does care for me! Who cares if nobody else on this earth does - He does! And that is all that matters.

And I am taking great comfort in knowing that I am so special, that through my sufferings, He wants to pull ME closer to Him. Now, looking at it in this angle, it changes everything! It's an honor, and it makes me feel special. He wants me? The Lord of Lord? Wow! That is pretty cool.
And He gives promises. Promises like in Philippians 1:6 that "I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." I am holding on to that promise every day.
Little by little, my wonderful God is showing me that I am good enough and what I am good at, maybe even very good. He shows me that there is so much that I actually do want from life, but never dared to want. He has plans for me, plans to prosper me (Jeremiah 29:11). I don't want no 'watered-down' version of my life - I want the life God has planned for me. And even though my beginning has not been excellent, I know that He has an end planned with fireworks and trumpets. I can life my dream!

What is my dream? Oh, so many little things, but the biggest is to grow to the person that God wants me to be, for Him, for myself, for my husband, for my children! That is all that matters.
Really, I am trying to live Romans 12:2 where I am no longer conforming to the old patterns, but where I am "being transformed by the renewing of my mind. So that I will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will for me."

He also showed me that, after years of not wanting to be myself, that I DO want to be ME and nobody else. I rather be myself, feeling the pain I feel but knowing that this is God's plan for my life and that I am doing His will. He will make me a better person. He deserves all the glory.