Living in the wrong season?

blogRunning on empty, burning the candle at both ends……. Ever feel like this describes you?

Early on in my adult life, a good friend told me that there were “seasons” of life.  I remember feeling so relieved to hear this concept.  I  was happy to know that even though I felt as if things would never be different, that seasons come and go.   I have often struggled with wanting to be in a different season then I am in.  A lot of the time I don’t even realize that is what I am doing.  I have had seasons that are short and pass quickly and some that feel as though they last longer then I would like.

Right now I am in over drive.  Over committed, especially on a mental level.  I feel over whelmed and exhausted almost daily.  Why is this?  Why can’t I just shake this?  Why does this cycle seem to repeat itself over and over?  I have been reflecting and trying to figure it out. I find that when I feel like I do right now, it is because I am needing to be really honest with myself (and maybe to others too) about something.  I know that if I am doing the same things over and over and nothing is changing, there is a problem.  Who wants to admit that?  Who wants to evaluate what they are doing wrong?  Not me!  That is not fun, but I have found it is the only way for true growth.

I am well aware that I do “too much”.  Although when I look at my days, I seem to justify my busy time by saying I just do what I have to.  But do I really?  This is where I decided to write down all that I do.  I included every day things like grocery shopping, meal planning, and laundry.  Then I listed things I had committed to such as homeschool, marriage ministry, bible study, leading life group, and then the commitments we had made for the kids, dance, soccer….. I also looked at what I had committed to in my own spiritual journey, Celebrate Recovery, devotions, books.  Writing it all out really helped me to gain perspective on how much I really have on my plate.

I started wondering if I was trying to live in the wrong season?  I mean there is nothing on my list of things that I don’t want to do.  There isn’t anything bad on my list and I really want to do all of it, and probably sometimes even more.  I love being active and busy.  I truly find so much joy in giving and doing for others.  But is it possible that because I am overloaded and unfocused that I am daily missing the blessing of the season I am in?  I am committed to fulfilling dreams, passions, and desires that could wait for another season?  Am I in a season that should be focused on kissing boo-boos, reading stories, building the character of my children, encouraging my husband, and becoming a healthier me?  Have I placed my focus on too many things that the most important ones are suffering in this season?

What would happen if I boldly asked God to reveal to me what He has for me right now.  In this season.  Would I accept it if God said “Be a mother to your children.  Raise them to know and love me.  Care for them the way you always wanted to be cared for.  Be a good wife to your husband and meet his needs and help him to fulfill his dreams.  Continue to grow your life as a follower of me.  Seek Me before you commit to things.  When you want to do good, make sure it is to show the love of Christ and not for mans approval or praise.”  That is truly where I feel like God is calling me…… So what is stopping me now?

Honestly, guilt, fear, and a lack of trust in the Lord.  I feel guilty if the kids don’t get to do everything they want to.  I feel bad if I have to say no to a very worthy cause.  I am sad to disappoint someone by not being there.  I am afraid that if I give up things, I will loose my sense of worth.  I think that if I am not doing visible good things that no one will see me as good.  I try to find my confidence in what others think of me. I feel pressure to keep up with a certain level of busy, or else I am being lazy.  I am too focused on the outside world and not enough on my bible, time with God, and investing in my family.

All of that is hard to say and hard to admit.  But it is truth….. Stepping out of the dark, into the light.  Out of denial, and closer to Jesus……

So now, I am reevaluating priorities.  Looking at my list and praying about everything on it.  Does it mean backing out of some things for now?  Does it mean saying no to things I would like to do?  Will I miss some fun opportunities?  Will someone possibly be upset with me for saying no?  More then likely yes.  But if I truly seek God and His will for this season (and every season to come) I trust that I will be fulfilled despite what I am giving up.  God is good and His plan and timing are perfect.  He doesn’t want us running on empty, exhausted, and overwhelmed.  If I am feeling this way, it means that I am doing something He doesn’t have for me.  We live in a world where there is always something or someone begging for your time and energy.  I am going to choose to enjoy this season I am in and know that there will be a time for other things!

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Waiting for Harvey

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Today as I write this, I am 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  My belly is growing which means this little man is too!  He stays very active and is always letting me know he is there!  It won’t be too much longer before we are able to meet this precious gift and we couldn’t be any more excited!

I decided to post an update because we have had so many questions.  Right now I am not sure that we know much more then we knew when I first posted about Harvey but there is more that I didn’t share then.  First of all, everything is looking great at my prenatal appointments.  I am measuring about 2 weeks bigger, but had some extra amniotic fluid at my ultrasound so this is probably why.  They are not concerned about it which is great!

I am just going to try to answer a lot of questions that I am getting frequently.  Our plan is to deliver here, not at ACH.  There is not any reason for us to need to go elsewhere.  We will take him to Children’s when he is about a week old for his initial evaluation.  As long as he is able to eat without problems, we should be able to just go home like normal after birth.  So, really the answer to this question is, although there could be complications or issues associated with his cleft, we are not planning on any of them.  We are well informed but plan on a normal delivery.

What will life be like when he gets here?  We do not know the answer to that.  We have so much information and feel very prepared for the unknown- as strange as that sounds.  Until he is here everything is up in the air.  We have been given lots of “this could happen” cases, so we know what could be.  A few things we do know, his weight will be monitored very closely for the first 3 months, with weight checks weekly.  We will be working with the nutritionist at ACH during this time to adjust his feedings/calories to make sure he is on track for surgery.  His first surgery will be at 3 months.

There may or may not be more surgeries, it is all dependent on the extent of his cleft.  The first year of life is hectic, they were very honest about that.  There will be many trips to ACH, lots of appointments, I am going to guess lots of tears!  We know that this is a journey and one that won’t always be easy but we have the biggest peace about it.  We know God is bigger then this and we are just thankful to have so many amazing doctors caring for us!  We are thankful that Harvey is otherwise healthy and that my pregnancy has been healthy as well.

Most of you know I am a photographer but I tend to be terrible about planning pictures that include me.  I realized I really wanted a few good pictures of me pregnant with Harvey but I hadn’t scheduled any AND I am almost 34 weeks.  So this morning, Mr. Meinardi decided to humor me and attempt a few pictures.  I will say, a few turned out super cute.  Being the perfectionist (in recovery) that I am, I am trying hard to remember that he is not a photographer!  He really did do a good job.  Thank you honey!

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I think he found it harder to take pictures of all of us! But we captured the moment so that is all that matters!

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We used my Tripod and took one of us together.  I am hoping to get a few more of both of us in it later.

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I love these of Garner and I!  Probably my favorite.  She is only the baby for a few more weeks!

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Perception: a mess or a blessing?

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Perception is a funny thing.  Have you ever looked at something and saw it completely different then someone else?  I often see how different perception is when I hear my kids talk. They see the world so differently then we do.  I also hear it when others talk about themselves, situations, opinions.  I have really started seeing how powerful perception is and how different it can be.  

Last week I was getting ready for life group and I was busy getting the house ready.  Cleaning, putting things away, making sure we had everything we needed and so on.  I looked around and felt really good about everything.  I started preparing my portion of our meal and before I know it, I look around around me and in the floor there are toys all over the place, some “crunchy” which is just G’s cereal she likes to eat, and I suddenly felt the need to sigh and be a little irritated.  I had just spent a lot of time cleaning and preparing.  I had already swept the floors and the toys had been put back into their places.  

Perception……. Sometimes I think it is a choice.  How we choose to view situations is up to us.  Times like these are the ones I would struggle with (and still do).  I would immediately come a little unravelled (sometimes a lot), and I would begin to allow my emotions to just take over.  Cereal and toys in the floor would become “no one ever listens” “you guys never” or “you always!”  and then I would start remembering every single thing that drove me nuts.  

In that moment, after I sighed, I smiled.  I looked at my kids who love me so very much, and I said out loud “I think that this small mess could have easily thrown off my mood, but I am choosing to see if differently.  You know what I see?  A blessing!  I am a blessed momma to have these kids and this mess.”  And that was it.  We stopped, and cleaned up the mess and there was nothing more.  Well except for maybe a small victory for me!  

To some reading this, it might seem very silly, but maybe there are other areas in your life where you are struggling to see positive.  I am working hard to change my perception of things.  One thing that is helping me is to gain biblical perspective on my life.  Often times, the reactions that seem to be most natural and justified, are actually destructive and harmful.  

Perception is a very powerful choice.  How we choose to see things can effect every aspect of our life.  We have a choice in how we perceive situations, circumstances, ourselves….  I have found that a lot of my reaction comes from my perception of what is going on.  These choices aren’t easy, but I find when I choose to see things in a positive light, I feel so much better! 

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