cry in front of your kids…

“Whatever you do, don’t let your kids see you cry.”

“Cry in the shower, or in your pillow at night, if possible… they need to know you’re okay, so they know they’re okay.”

That’s some advice I received once I became a solo parent of three little ones.

So, I heard people tell me that. I read it on a blog too… but, I still just never understood it. Or accepted it.

What if things just *aren’t* okay?? What if things just plain suck right now? What if you’re having a really, really bad day, because being a Mom is hard, being single is hard, being married is hard, finances are hard, life is hard… ??? What then? Still need to put on the happy face? Save the tears for the shower? Bedtime? Or never??

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a crier. I’m emotional. Sometimes I feel like I’m emotionally exhausting to those around me. I feel like I have to apologize for crying to whoever is around me. Sometimes I still feel embarrassed about it. And, sometimes I can’t even explain why I’m crying. It doesn’t take much to bring it out of me… and, it doesn’t matter where I am, or who’s around me. Including my kids.

I’ll still cry.

But, there should be no shame in crying.

And, kids need to know that sometimes it’s simply okay to *not* be okay. They need to know that crying is okay. It’s more than okay, actually… it’s normal. We are wired with emotions, and one of those emotions is crying. Jesus wept. And, I’m certain that not only does He smile when I smile, He also weeps when I weep.

There’s power and healing in shedding those tears, so let. it. out.

Sometimes friendships crumble in ways that we could never imagine. Sometimes we are hurt by the words or actions of those around us. Sometimes we experience heartbreaking loss. Sometimes we just have to mourn and grieve over situations or circumstances that are simply out of our control… in those moments, I need to cry. But, not only that, I also want my kids to know they can weep through that deep emotional hurt, and I never want them to feel ashamed or embarrassed for it.

Since I met with my lawyer a few weeks ago, I’ve shed a lot of those tears.

In just 2 months, I will no longer be a “Mrs.,” I will simply be a “Ms.” In an uncontested divorce, the process is relatively quick.

One court appearance. Ten minutes before a magistrate. And, it’s all over. Just like that.

But, it still doesn’t keep every memory, every moment, and every emotion from flooding back into my mind like waves in an ocean… so, with salty tears, I have to say goodbye, and grieve again and again and again… there’s no love left there for him, and there’s no desire for reconciliation, but there is mass amounts of affliction, nonetheless… unbearable emotional pain that is difficult to express into words.

The division of what once was one, will become two. This is the opposite of God’s righteous and rightful design for marriage.

So, my kids have seen me cry and cry and cry. I simply cannot, and do not want to hide it from them. They know crying is okay… that it’s a healthy emotion to express, and not one that needs to be hidden.

Let go of yourself, be vulnerable, be free, and cry in front of your kids. It’s good for you, and it’s good for them.

John 11:35 (NIV) – Jesus wept.

when a child cries out to god…

Yes, He hears our prayers, but does He hear the desperation in a child’s cry to Him? Does He respond? Is He faithful in those moments??

As I was driving to pick up my kids from their Dad’s tonight, I began to feel the wave come over me. If you suffer from anxiety or have experienced panic attacks, you know what I’m referring to. It’s an awful, confusing, and hard thing to manage… difficult to press through. Our minds are so powerful. It physically manifests itself. My mind is going, my body is shaking, my heart feels like it’s going to beat out of my chest, and the fear of what *might* happen overtakes my thoughts.

If you’ve never experienced a panic attack, you’re probably on the opposite end, thinking, “Just relax… it can’t be that bad.” It seems like it should be so easy to “just relax,” but it’s just not.

Sometimes I know these attacks are coming, and can prepare myself… but tonight. Tonight was a different story. It hit me like a freight train out of nowhere. I found myself in a rush to get there, get them, and get home.

But, I was debilitated… I couldn’t drive. My mind was racing. My heart was going crazy. I had to pull over, and stop in a BP parking lot. I felt alone. I found myself pacing, crying, and praying.

So, when I was able to drive again, I got to my ex’s apartment, but I felt claustrophobic… like I might pass out. I had to get out again.

More pacing, pacing, pacing… trying to find the air to breathe, breathe, breathe… then, the kids came, and we were able to go.

So, why the urgency to get home? Because I have a prescription to Xanax there. Yes… that’s my way out when I find myself in a panic attack like that. I’m so fearful of all the “what ifs” that coincide with the anxiety, and my mind just goes crazy. The Xanax alleviates that.

But, I wasn’t home. I had no other choice in that moment, but to pray.

After I had the kids with me and was driving, I wanted to ask them to pray for me… but I doubted, and didn’t, so as I found myself feeling worse, I called one of my best friends to have her pray for me. She did. She then suggested I pull over and have the kids surround me with prayer.

I ended up in a parking lot with 6 little hands laying on me… lifting me up in prayer. They were worried for me, but that worry, and that fear… it was fleeting.

God’s presence is a comforting and powerful force.

My daughter was saying things that there’s no possible way she would have naturally known to say. She does not like to pray out loud, and still struggles with understanding why we pray, and whether or not God will deliver on His promises. We so often doubt as adults, so how much more does she doubt as a child?

But, she began crying out to God in a desperate plea… asking Him to “fling” off of me whatever was causing the attack, the anxiety, the sickness. Telling Him how much she loves me, how she needs me, but how she knew God would keep me safe. She was afraid at first, but ultimately she trusted Him with me. She was proclaiming the name of Jesus, and our love for Him. She was overcome by the spirit of God…

I. was. weeping

She prayed for me again when we got home.

She. was. weeping

This girl talks 24/7. I always say that I know God gave her that voice for a reason, and there is purpose in it. I believe one day He’ll use her passion, her love for talking, and her boldness in a mighty way. Tonight, I saw a glimpse of that. She certainly found it within her to pray tonight.

She was not afraid. She saw God’s faithfulness. She saw her prayer heard… and answered.

We were all reminded of how we are so blessed to have *each other*… and if nothing else? Well, that alone is worth being so very thankful for.

And, the last bit of advice she had for me as she was climbing into bed… “Mommy, you should go listen to worship music. That always makes you feel better.”

Yes, and Amen to that.

1 John 4:18 (NIV) – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

lovity love love love…

Love Day, Hearts Day, V-Day… whatever you want to call it.

I’m pretty sure I may be the *only* Mom out there who detests this “holiday” and could do away with it in its entirety.

I love the people who I love everyday… and try to show them that as often as possible. Not just one day a year. Perhaps you do too. But, this Hallmark holiday has overtaken our culture. Social media has become an explosion of hearts, cards, flowers, handcrafted goodies, and love themed items of every kind.

But, maybe I’m the weird one. Maybe my strong dislike for this day is just limited to me.

I don’t bake heart cookies, or heart pancakes, or buy heart treats. I don’t get my kids toys to “celebrate” this day.

Honestly, my kids are lucky they have boxes this year… or Valentine’s Day cards, for that matter. And, yes, I went all out and picked up the pre-made, character-themed boxed cards that were in the $2.50 price range at Target. In the past I’ve designed my own, and printed them off… but this year, I didn’t even have the time or energy [or desire] to do that. So, with the cheap Target cards we went.

Maybe I’m just lazy.

Their boxes are so incredibly simply made that I didn’t deem it worthwhile to take pictures. They’re not boxes that we cleverly crafted into an animal, or a whimsical character from a movie… or whatever such thing is popular at the moment. Nope… none of that. They are boxes, and my kids current obsession is duct tape, so that’s what they went with. Yep, I’m talking about duct taped boxes, people. But, as long as they’re happy with them, then I’m happy.

Realistically? These boxes will end up in the trash in a couple of days, along with all the cards inside.

Now, if you enjoy this holiday, and you turned your kid’s shoebox into a full-on driveable Batmobile, and baked a gajillion heart-shaped cookies… don’t be offended by my V-Day bashing. You’re an amazing parent, and anything encouraging kids to show love to others is ultimately a good thing. Love is always good. My perspective is that we share it more often, and be enthusiastic about it every day. Real, heartfelt love.

Personally, I’ve always kinda disliked this day… single or not, and never fully grasped it’s purpose. I never expected [or wanted] flowers, or a date night out, or chocolate……. wait. That’s not true. Actually, I’ll gladly take chocolate any day — or moment — of the year.

So, if you are in a relationship, married, whatnot… this is one day where you feel practically forced to be publicly lovey dovey with your significant other. I mean… really?? Our society lays it on thick.

Or on the flip side… if you are single, then yay for you. Welcome to 24 hours of your singleness being shoved in your face, and down your throat until you feel the need to throw up.

During this impending love fest that’s about to take place for the next day… I prefer to stick with what I know.

I love Jesus, and He loves me. All year round.

I love my friends, and my family. Not just tomorrow. I love them the other days of the year too.

I’m thankful for my kids, and that they weren’t obsessed with going all out for tomorrow. They didn’t have high expectations on how they wanted their boxes to look, praise. the. Lord… they are really just excited for a break from doing schoolwork in class, and their V-Day parties to socialize with their friends.

I’m thankful that my foundation of what love is, and where love comes from is something that cannot be found in any card, store, or restaurant.

So, with that… Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Now, let’s keep loving one another after tomorrow, because love is good.

Romans 12:9 (NIV) – Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

learning to feel…

I have bad teeth. I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s genetics… maybe I didn’t brush, floss, and rinse twice a day when I was younger… I really don’t remember. But, for whatever the reason, I have bad teeth.

I’ve happily avoided going to the dentist for a couple of years now, because it’s never good news when I go. I never sit down for a cleaning, and then leave. No, there’s always something. It doesn’t make any sense, but it seems easier to avoid it altogether than deal with it head-on. I knew I had cavities. And, as we all know, cavities do not go away. No… they just get worse.

The other night I cracked one of my back teeth while eating some popcorn.

It hurt.

The next morning I scheduled an appointment at a dental clinic. No more avoiding it. Nope. That day I had to deal with all of it.

I loathe going to the dentist. But, there I was.

And, of course I attempted to justify to the dentist why I’ve avoided her these past 2 years. She stared at me blankly. I also let her know how I brush, floss, and rinse twice a day. She stared at me blankly some more.

She didn’t seem to care. Or she’s heard all the excuses before. Or a combination of those things.

Regardless, we were taking care of everything that day. Right then.

6 cavities.

Sure, I’ll deliver a baby without pain meds… but, you attempt to go near my teeth? That’s an entirely different story.

So, after 2 hours of drilling, and filling… we were done.

But, after being in that dentist’s chair with my mouth propped open for 2 hours… my jaw hurt. My mouth still hurts today where I got those fillings. There’s residual pain there. It may last for a while.

Oh, and lest I forget there was that referral to an oral surgeon to have all FOUR of my impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed. This is the 3rd time in the last 8 years that I’ve been referred to an oral surgeon for this. Yes, I keep putting it off. No, it doesn’t make sense. Yes, it will only get worse the longer I put it off. But, who has time for surgery?

Not me. Nope.

Sometimes I do this with God.

I don’t have the time or the energy for the Highest and Holiest of surgeons to do the real, deep surgical work in my heart.

Sometimes I honestly struggle to trust Him. Sometimes I get spiritually off-track. Sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I question my faith. Sometimes I question my heart. Sometimes I need to be reminded of where I came from & who I am now.

Sometimes I waste time just searching for something more, because I forget that He’s all the more that I need. Everything begins and ends with Him.

Sometimes I need to remember. The old is gone and the new is here.

But, I need to also remember I’m still a mess. Still broken. Still hurting. Still mourning. Still in need of a Savior. Still seeking to see God in the ordinary, not just the extraordinary.

I can easily take my pain, my wounds, my bad memories, my struggles, my suffering… all of it… and simply put it aside to deal with later.

Why? Because it’s painful. It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to surrender it all. I’m strong-willed. I don’t want to let go. But, these buried wounds don’t just go away.

Mourning my marriage. Gah! Seriously?!? I’m sick of writing about it, you should be sick of reading about it. Every time I think I’m over it… I’ve processed it 8,247 times… talked about it, grieved it, mourned it… I mean, he’s not even nice to me, and the last half of the marriage was bad. We’re not reconciling, so it should be easy to move past it, right? Well, God continues to root around in my heart, break down barriers that I built up over the years, and more “stuff” is unveiled.


With that, I still have major trust issues… I hope one day there will come a time when I do not. I like to think so anyway. Maybe it’s part of my process. And, progress has been made, I don’t want to dismiss that. But, I still have my guard up, understandably… my weakness is that I also trust easily and blindly… and, my guard will quickly come down. Really that’s on me though. I do know better.

So, where’s the time to deal with all… this?

Everyday I get bombarded with all the mess of emotions that my kids are feeling. Each one of them fights for my undivided attention from the second that I pick them up from school until the second that I put them to bed.

I care about others. I love to serve. I love to get other people to talk about their struggles and work through them. I love my church. But, even ministry and serving can be emotionally and spiritually exhausting.

So, the reality? Sometimes… most times… I don’t give myself the opportunity to process… just to feel, and just to be — for myself. At the end of the day, after the kids are in bed, I honestly just want to shut down. I get so tired, so weary, and so worn-down. Single parenting, housework, going to college, designing… it’s overwhelming.

And, I get *sooo tired* of complaining. I get tired of venting. My complaints don’t seem to change. It’s always the same stuff. So, I just want to stop.

The alternative?

I choose to be stagnant.

I choose to be jaded.

But, emotionally shutting down solves nothing.

I have to let God do work.

I have to just be.

I have to force myself just to feel.

And, yes… it hurts.

Sometimes feeling nothing seems better than feeling the hurt, and going through the [often painful] process of healing.

It has to be done.

So, I lay it all down at His feet.

I can face Him.

His grace falls on me.

So, through days of tears… just feeling, and healing… growth is happening.

And, learning to give thanks all the while is only possible with Jesus.

The residual pain as I heal is a gift from God. It’s a process.

No more putting it off.

“A child’s cry touches a father’s heart, and our King is the Father of his people. If we can do no more than cry it will bring omnipotence to our aid. A cry is the native language of a spiritually needy soul; it has done with fine phrases and long orations, and it takes to sobs and moans; and so, indeed, it grasps the most potent of all weapons, for heaven always yields to such artillery.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

Psalm 130:5 (NIV) – I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

why do you let her talk to you like that?

The other night, while I was putting clean sheets and blankets on Kyle’s loft bed, Myah came in to talk to me, like she often does. I was distracted, so I almost missed what she said.

She began thanking me for being a mom. Not just any mom, but *her* mom. She was telling me that she knows I don’t have to do the things that I do for them, but she is *so happy* that I am there for her when she does — or does not — need me… that I take care of them, “just for no reason,” except that I’m their mom… she noticed — and loved — the dinner I made, she saw the post-dinner clean-up, the vacuuming, the mounds of laundry I did and put away, the way I orchestrated both boys’ baths, and was now prepping their beds for sleep.

My 10-year-old daughter actually noticed all of this, and was actually thankful.

And, I almost missed it.

Now, Myah is not the type to go out of her way to give thanks to me, of all people — her Mother. Her and I go rounds on almost a daily basis.

MyahThis child of mine… she’s incredibly independent, passionate, strong-willed, hot-headed, short-tempered, and everything in between. Simply put, she firmly believes she knows. it. all… [and we haven't even reached the teen years yet! Lord help me...]

She’s also hilarious, absolutely beautiful, talented, witty, relentless, determined, and just unbelievably smart.

Pretty sure she could take over the world one day if she wanted to. When she sets her mind on something, there is no stopping her.

But, when she gets mouthy with me? Yes, I punish, I discipline, I take things from her… her very favorite things… I even put her in time-out. I’ve also tried ignoring… nothing seems effective. Everyone has advice to give me. “Have you tried this or that?”

Yes. I’ve tried it. I really have. I promise.

The question I get asked most often… “Why do you let her talk to you like that?”

Or, my personal favorite thing to hear… “Well, I’d never let my kid talk to me like that.”

Let… what a word. As though I’m happily allowing her to talk to me the way she does.

No. I hate it. It makes me crazy, and I just want to snap. I really try to avoid going that route as much as possible. But, sometimes I do. I yell at her, she yells back, and the whole thing is totally counter-productive. I hate that too.

Someone told me once that I need to beat my children. And, this came from a parent. And, she was serious. The occasional spanking? Okay… Beating?? No. I’m not looking for my children to be terrified of me. Thanks for the suggestion though.

So, I’m the parent, Myah’s the child… it seems like it should be simple enough, right? Should be easy-peasy. She talks down to me, I discipline, aaaand voilà! Problem solved. BUT, it doesn’t work like that. At least not for her, and not for me. And, yes, I’m fully aware she’s overly dramatic about everything also simply because she’s 10. Her attitude, anger, and frustration is only really directed towards me, which makes sense. I get hit with everything gone wrong in her day. She has respect for other adults, and is a model child for others. But, with me? Sometimes just looking at her can send her reeling into a fit of anger. I do believe there are deeper issues going on here other than her “just being 10.”

This child of mine… she has a broken heart. Her father and I are going through a divorce. She didn’t understand it 2 years ago when we separated, and she doesn’t fully understand it today. On top of that, her heart continues to break for her father who is lost. No need to mince words here… I’ve been very clear about him in earlier posts. Despite that, she feels the need to defend, protect, and build him up when he is down. That is a weight no child should ever have to bear. And, sadly, he is the one who also has set the example for her as to how I should be treated, which has been pretty unpleasant. She has seen him talk down to me for years, so she talks down to me. Am I justifying her behavior? No. Just shedding some light on how her situation might be different from the typical full family dynamic.

But, what’s considered typical anymore? What’s normal? I continue to see more and more brokenness, and the repercussions of our fallen world.

She was in a “divorce group” at her school, and felt comforted by seeing what other kids are going through… knowing she’s not alone. That is sad. One kid wasn’t even legally allowed to see his mother. When kids are already struggling with “normal” changes at that age, adding on stuff like this… it just makes for a bad combination all around.

But, Myah and I are walking this journey together, and I’ve made it a point to pray with her and for her. This struggle is both emotional, and spiritual.

Spiritually, she’s learning to pray and let her Heavenly Father love her, and shower her with His grace. She’s also learning that He cannot be compared to her earthly father… like we’re so prone to want to do, even as adults. And, that when bad things happen, we know that there is purpose in it, even if we do not understand it. He works *all* things into good.

Emotionally, I’ve just been loving her like crazy… through the good and the bad. Just like Jesus loves us.

So, the other night, she came to a point of thanks… which is amazing.


Then, that same night, she told me a story as I was [still] on Kyle’s bed, and we were both laughing so hard, we had tears rolling down our cheeks… and, she is notorious for getting hiccups from laughing. Something about her that I won’t let myself forget. Even when in the womb, she got hiccups [what seemed like] all. the. time.

With her rushing off to get water to alleviate her hiccups, I took a moment to breathe deep.

She’s still an overly dramatic, hormonal, emotional 10-year-old, so I know full well that we have many, many disagreements in our future.

But, we’re making progress… deep-rooted progress. I can see a visible change in her. I can see it on her face. I can hear it in her voice. And, God is good.

So in that moment? I found myself in no other place except to feel full of thanks.

“Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.”
~ Ann Voskamp

1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV) – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

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