“Do you mind if I go take a thirty-minute break?” I asked my husband when he walked in the door.
“Sure! Why don’t you go take a bath?” he responded.
I was relieved. This was one of those days that motherhood drained every ounce of me. My two-year-old wouldn’t stop hitting, my four year old said, “mommy” about eighty times a minute, my six year old was unusually clingy, and my eight year old seemed to be picking a fight with anyone that came within two feet of her. I thought if I could take a quick breather, everything would be fine.
It wasn’t twenty minutes after being in the bath my six-year-old came sneaking in, crying and asking me for a hug. She didn’t want her daddy to put her to bed, she wanted me. This wasn’t like her. She loved hearing her father read to her, wrestle with her and her sisters, and sing her to sleep. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I was also frustrated that I couldn’t have that small amount of time I asked for.
“What is going on Evelyn?” I blurted out in frustration. “You never act like this. Mommy loves your hugs, but daddy hasn’t gotten to see you as much as me and he would really like to spend some time with you.”
What came next was unexpected. With her little head hung low in devastation, she began to tearfully tell me about a party I didn’t attend for her class.
My heart fell in to the pit of my stomach and my frustrations turned to pure shame. How could I have forgotten the only class party of the year? I remembered seeing the flyers come home in her book bag and I remember throwing each one out when I got stressed about the stack that would stockpile on my kitchen counters.
“I’m not capable of this.” I began to think.
“I’m not enough for four kids” was all I heard in my mind as I burst into tears.
I hugged my daughter, apologized for my mistake, and told her how much I loved her. In that moment, fear crept into my mind and disguised itself as shame. It quickly took me from having a bad day to being the worst mother in the world.
All it took was that one little moment to tear down the truth that I know the Lord tells me throughout His word. He tells all of us:
I am ENOUGH.
“Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?” Isaiah 49:15 ESV
Isaiah speaks to the recognizable love a mother has for her child, so much so that it becomes a rhetorical question. It recognizes that a mother’s love is one of the most powerful kinds of love. What a beautiful reminder that I love my children more than anyone else ever could.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139: 13-14 ESV
God knew me before I was even born. I was made to love and raise my children before they were even a thought that existed in my mind. Just as I was hand-picked, so were my children. God knew my path and my children and appointed me to be the person to love them and teach them above anyone else.
“He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into light” Job 12:22 NIV
It wasn’t until I began to pray and ask God to show me how to be a better mom that I understood the negative thoughts flooding my mind weren’t from Him. It’s He who takes the lies and discouragements that prevent me from believing I’m not enough and replaces them with truth. When we open our hearts up to Him and speak from a place of vulnerability, it’s there He can do the deepest work.
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6 NIV
As a mom, I know I’ll make mistakes. We all will. However, when our identity is firmly rooted in Christ, we no longer must worry about pleasing others, only Him. My mistakes, my sins no longer define who I am, Christ does. As children of God, we are no longer slaves to our sin but set free in Him. Our past doesn’t define us, our motherhood, our love for our children, or anything else in our lives.
“That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:17 ESV
No matter how hard the circumstance, how difficult the day, or how drained I may feel, God has equipped me to handle it. If I continue to seek Him, He will continue to guide me for whatever He leads me into.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 ESV
Our children are not our own. They are gifted to us from Christ to raise and love. It’s hard to fathom anyone else loving them more, but God does. We, as Christ-centered mothers, have the privilege of coming alongside God and guiding His children toward His plans for them. He utilizes us to be a pivotal tool in forging their little personalities and futures. It’s such a wonderful reminder that He has made us specifically for each moment we encounter. He is the one in control, not us. He is the one who owns them, not us.
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” Romans 11:36
No matter what He calls us to or how difficult a season you may be in, remember that our soul purpose is to glorify Him. We do this by digging deep in His word, so when doubt and devastation want to flood our minds, we can easily identify them with the truth that is ingrained in our minds. The Word is a weapon utilized to combat the fears, anxiety, and lies the enemy so desperately tries to utilize against us. Arm yourselves, mommas.
The biggest mistake we as moms could ever make is to believe the lie that we aren’t enough.
You are uniquely picked and destined to raise your child. Remember this in the tough moments and He will strengthen you in your weakest. You are more than enough, more than capable, and much stronger than you even realize mamma. Don't let the lie that you aren't rob you of the joy of raising the ones gifted to you.
Repeat after me... "I am MORE than ENOUGH". Now go take a deep breath, maybe a bath, a handful of chocolate, and pat yourself on your back. Tomorrow is a new day, full of new opportunities. And I'm confident you're gonna crush it!
I’m just going to come right out and say it, guys. I’m impatient. My kids simultaneously jump in and finish my sentence when I say, “I needed this room picked up yesterday”. It’s seriously a daily struggle. I think every ounce of patience I had simultaneously flew out of my body along with my fourth child. Yes, I traded my patience in for my children.
Mucking through the process of anything is tough-whether it’s getting that promotion, cleaning up the house, writing my first book, or walking out the process of healing, I want it done, and I want it done NOW.
Not sure if this is something you struggle with? Let me help! Do you ever get easily frustrated or angry when something you intended finish required more time? Are you anxious or discouraged when you think about tasks necessary to accomplish a goal? Is your mind a hamster wheel of to-do lists and negative self-talk? Or maybe you just can’t seem to figure out how other people are capable of accomplishing what you’re trying to do with ease?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions above, well take a seat my friend, cause you need to hear this. Getting ahead of ourselves is an innate, human response. You’re not alone in this struggle. I’m riding that struggle bus hard most days.
Here are the things that help me settle my mind, find some peace, and keep from getting to that ugly “boiling point” that I unfortunately get to more often than I like to admit.
1.There is preparation in the waiting.
Have you ever seen what overnight success does to people? It’s toxic. The growth curve for someone to go from nothing to stardom tends to send people spiraling into some kind of rehab facility, divorce settlement, bankruptcy, or emotional breakdown (i.e. Britney Spears anyone? Poor girl lost all her hair, on purpose. Very unfortunate, but luckily it grew back, and she regained some of what she lost in the process). There are some exceptions to this, but they are very few and far between.
The truth is, we learn a lot on our way to success, whether it is personal or professional. Rushing through the pivotal steps of growth robs us of learning how to mature into the person who’ll be responsible enough for the goal we wish to achieve.
“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” Romans 9:22 ESV.
Our God is sovereign. Therefore, He makes sovereign choices. Patience is learned through the process of following Him. When we pursue Him, we learn that He is the one calling the shots, not us. Therefore, everything has a purpose, whether we see it or not. Walking through life with the understanding that the journey is more pivotal than the outcome has given me so much peace when I would’ve otherwise succumbed to frustration and anxiety.
2.Staaaaaaahp, already. Pump the breaks, girl. It’s time for a break.
Oh my gosh- I’m the pot callin’ the kettle black on this one, girl. There’s a time to reap and there’s a time to sow. In other words, it all doesn’t have to get done right now. Take it one step at a time. Focus on one task, finish it, and then move on to the next. The days I do fifty thousand things half-way compared to the days I do two and complete them aren’t even comparable.
Don’t do the laundry, pick up the play room, cook dinner, bath the kids, and talk on the phone all at the same time. Not only will you be exhausted, but you’ll feel unaccomplished and beat yourself up for not “finishing” something at the end of the day. Or, at least that’s what I do. It really helps me to section things out. I’ve learned to let go of having my whole house tidy for now and get done what’s stressing me out the most and then leaving the rest for later.
For instance, I’ll leave the playroom a wreck and finish three loads of laundry, fold, and put it away on Monday. Yes, the playroom will still be a wreck at the end of the day but the laundry is finished. But here’s my rationale, the kids are going to destroy it tomorrow anyways, so why not wait and do it later? Maybe you’re the opposite. The laundry doesn’t stress you as much as that nasty playroom, you do you girl! Get after that playroom but leave the laundry for later!
Getting one thing finished instead of multiple things started help you feel accomplished instead of defeated at the end of the day. I understand this isn’t always feasible, but if we try and make it apart of our normal routine the rhythms of life seem to pivot towards peace and joy rather than stress and anxiety.
“so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” Hebrews 6:12 ESV.
You aren’t lazy for sectioning out your responsibilities. God clearly states that the promises He has for you comes through faith and patience. I’ve learned that making mistakes along the way teach me how to better prioritize my time and therefore result in less anxiety and frustration. It’s all a learning process. Take one baby step at a time.
3.It’s not always about me.
Did that hurt you as much as it did me? Goodness, y’all, I even had a hard time typing it. There are so many times throughout my day I catch myself having a pity-party. It’s hard to admit.
There’s a billion reasons and excuses I can use to justify why I should be pitied (in my own mind). But the reality is, I’m selfish. It’s a daily struggle to catch those negative thoughts and throw ‘em off the hamster wheel that’s spinning ninety miles an hour in my mind.
“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” Ephesians 4:12 ESV.
The work it requires to become patient yields some pretty awesome Jesus fruit, my friend. He trades our pride in for humility, our anger for gentleness, and our loneliness with unity. He begins to show us how to live out our lives exuding love, accepting love, and receiving it in return.
When I stop and think about what truly matters, the things I get upset about don’t really matter as much as I allow them to. The days I’m crawling to bed without a single second to sit? They’re the ones I fall victim to those pity-parties the most. I want to be angry or upset I didn’t get any “me time” or tell myself I’m not enough when “everything didn’t get done that needed to”.
But here’s the truth. The more I walk out the work I’m called to do in Him? The less those days hold on grip on me. My work isn’t in vein. My babies are cared for, my friendships are growing, my marriage is getting stronger, and my relationship with the Lord is getting deeper.
I’m learning to hover in the process a little longer. The more patient I become the less restless, anxious, or stressed life seems. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth the work.
If this helps you, would you mind sharing it with others? I’d also love to hear how this moved you. Share with me so I can get to know you better! We’re in this together, and we glean from those around us who openly share their stories. Thanks, friend!
Ok guys, I know every body and their mother is talking about things to incorporate in the new year, but I want to talk about some things you should get rid of. Don’t get me wrong, I really dig hearing all the things people are doing to revamp and start fresh, but sometimes I just need to simplify before I can add anything else on, am I right?
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Nikki. I’m notorious for my love of all things involving guacamole and cheese, 90s rap, and midday naps, cause… life isn’t fun without any of those things. I want to clear the air and just state from the beginning of this article, I’m not writing this from a place of arrival but in process.
These are the things that help me in my crazy, four kids, busy husband, mom boss life. So, here it is!
5 Practical Ways to Stop Stressing in the New Year:
2. Get rid of the junk drawer.
Gbye’, clutter! Ok, ok. For me? The junk drawer turns into every stinkin’ drawer in my kitchen when I don’t pay attention to it at least once a year. Seriously, who needs an 8 billion rubber bands, a roge battery that may not even work, and about 9 million chargers that we have NO IDEA what they charge? Uh uh. The only thing that drawer is doing is causin’ this momma some STRESSSSSS. DUMP YOUR JUNK DRAWER. That’s right, dump it. You know what’s gonna happen right after you do it? FREEEEDOOOOM (Cue Braveheart riding into battle). I cannot be the only one who gets so stinkin’ stressed out about clutter. I don’t know if it’s your junk drawer, your closet, your makeup counter, or your playroom, but good Lord, DUMP IT. Having a hard time even looking at it? Easy…. This is how I start. Instead of looking at the whole picture, I narrow it down to one thing I can organize in about a half an hour. Wanna know what also helps? 90s rap music. There’s just nothing more motivating than Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” while you’re working girls, trust me.
3. Take Care, Brush your Hair.
Self care, y’all. It’s a daggon MUST. There isn’t a single person in this world who feels elated when they haven’t bathed in two days (no, dry shampoo doesn’t count ladies), talked with a person over the age of 2, or sat down for a minimum of 5 minutes without someone calling your name. Nah, girl. You need a break. Do something fo yo self. Take a daggon bath, drink a glass of wine, HECK, take a nap! That’s my fave! Whatever it is that makes you stop, do it, and do it often. I like to take a bath at least once a week with a concoction of “potion” my girl’s call it (but it’s essential oils, so, I’m not really a magician, but I like them to think I am). When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed? Take a breather. And for the Love of all sanity, turn off Disney Junior! Paint your nails, tell yourself often “YOU ARE ENOUGH”, and then you won’t feel like quitting. Life will get easier, promise. You just have to start taking some time for you.
4. Stop choosing people who don’t choose you…
“Go where you grow the Most”. One of the ladies in my small group said this the other day, and for the life of me, I can’t remember who she said it was from. Pretty sure it was a nun, but at any rate, it’s so gooooood. Find your tribe! It doesn’t have to be big, guys. Social media gives us a false impression of how many people one human being can be intimately connected with. Do you know how many people is the average for you to be in deep relationship with? THREE. Find your three! Good Lord, for the better part of last year my therapist took up one of those spots and my husband the other. I literally had enough emotional capacity for one other person without feeling exhausted. Find your people and open up to them. Give them your heart and let them speak into your life, but make sure you choose wisely, not everyone deserves such an important role in that pretty little brain of yours.
5. Stop letting fear keep you from your dreams.
I am the worst at planning, guys. Like, the worst of the worst. But, I know if I’m going to make room for my dreams to turn in to a reality? I need to write them out and put them on some sort of calendar. Planning isn’t easy. In fact, it takes work. But the end result? Accomplishment! When that little voice in your head starts spouting off all the negative stuff, recognize it as a lie and put it where it belongs, in the year 2018. Cause as Gabriel Frabasile (whoever that is) says, “a head full of fears has no space for dreams.” Get you a planner, dream about what you want to do, and write out how you can start achieving it THIS YEAR. You do you boo! This is your life! Take it by the reigns and show it who’s boss!
Alright, friends. That’s it for now. Stop stressin’, start livin’, and I strongly suggest eating some guacamole and jammin’ out to some TLC… cause, that’s what life is about, at least for me. Go get ‘em tiger! I'm actually rawring over here from my tiny office in my house guys... You're welcome for that visual... Claws up for 2019!
Turning my "what ifs" into "why nots"... How processing the trauma of my baby getting attacked by a dog changed my life, for the better.
Fear is a tricky emotion. It's a necessary response in "fight or flight"... like, if a bear is ever rollin' your way you kinda want it to kick in. Ain't nobody fightin' off a grizzly without some adrenaline and a healthy dose of fear. That kind of fear? Good. The other kind? The emotional one that tends to rob us of joy, peace, adventure, and growth? No bueno.
I did a live video on instagram yesterday and shared one example of fear that I had to process and let go of this past year. It's taken me a long time to talk about it because 1. I thought I was over it, and 2. I don't like talking about things that are painful. But I've realized talking about the painful things releases me from its suffocating grip.
When my daughter, now 4, was only 17 months old, she was bitten by a dog. I don't mean a little bite. I mean in the face, lacerated from the corner of her mouth almost two inches up her cheek. Our babysitter was watching her at the time and our new neighbor's dog came barreling out of the woods while my sweet baby was eating a popsicle on the front porch. The picture above is of Ellie a week after the surgery took place.
That day was a nightmare. I still remember getting the call from our babysitter and having to turn around the van from picking the girls up from school and return home.
"There was an accident. You need to come home." she spoke through broken screams in the background.
My van turned into a freakin' sports car as I drove home. My heart was beating through my chest. My breaths were even faster. I barely came to a full stop before jumping out and running toward the already opened front door to my home. I still remember, like it was yesterday, passing by the blood stained steps. I stopped. I knew before I entered the house I would have to prepare myself for seeing what only I thought I'd ever see in my worst nightmares.
I stepped in, my baby screaming my name from the kitchen. As I turned the corner of the dining room, I saw her. Her blood soaked cheeks, her tear filled eyes, and her outstretched arms were all it took for me to want to crumble into ash, right there on my kitchen floor. I couldn't, she needed me.
I quickly turned my emotions off, like a light switch. When my nurse brain turns on, my emotions are all turned off. Years in the medical field taught me to avoid my emotional response when faced with traumatizing situations. This serves a purpose for first responders, nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff. It's not only helpful, but necessary in those situations and for that profession.
The problem came when I never flipped the switch back. I held my baby's hand while she went under surgery with a team of pediatric plastic surgeons. I watched her scream and cry for me as she came out of anesthesia. I watched as a nurse tried to stick her for an I.V. not once, but twice... digging around in her little arm like that needle was a garden trowel. I stayed silent. I stayed calm. But everything inside of me wanted to scream. I wanted to be angry. I wanted to yell. 22 stitches later, we went home with an emotionally traumatized little girl.
At the core of me, I wanted to collapse on the floor of my bedroom and cry when I got home that night. I felt like a failure. Hopeless, unequipped and unworthy of being her mother. I failed at protecting her. I failed.... but I couldn't. I couldn't feel anything. I was emotionless.
Life after that day was cautious, at best. There wasn't a slide safe enough, puppy safe enough to pet, babysitter trustworthy enough to watch my daughter. I helicoptered around that little girl like I had nothing else to do in life. My mind would flood with the worst case scenario in everyday circumstances. "What if" kept her and I from doing a lot of fun things. I was filled with the fear of something ever happening to her again.
Until I started therapy this past year. I learned that I was living in complete fear. I was parenting her out of fear. She didn't deserve that, in fact, she deserved to experience life to its fullest. She deserved to go to playgrounds, run free in our yard, be babysat by responsible adults (and my marriage deserved that too, Lord Jesus...).
I made a really hard decision last year guys. I traded my "what if" mentality in for a "Why Not?". And it was haaaaaard. But as I learned to loosen the reigns one tiny bit at a time, I recognized how much of an impact it had on her. She started to do the same thing. I had to let emotion back in. There was a lot of ugly crying. A. Lot. There was a lot of anger, not towards the dog or the babysitter, who I love dearly, still to this day. It was toward myself. I had to learn to let myself feel again so I could process that trauma and put it where it belonged, in my past. Until I did, it would continue to seep out into my life, affecting everything around me with its poison.
My little four year old is now one of my most fearless of all four kids. She is still timid around dogs (as she should be), but she traded her hesitation for bravery, her timidity with assertiveness, and her own fears for freedom. She explores, seeks adventures, and lives like a little four year old should.
If I wouldn't have processed the trauma I went through that day, I wouldn't be parented her the way I am today. I would've held her back. I would've taught her to fear instead of risk. My fear of failing her kept me from allowing her to experience life. Heck, it kept ME from experiencing life.
After speaking out the FEARS and LIES to my husband and my therapist, God bless him, I realized how oppressive they were. It wasn't until I spoke them out into the light that I was able to recognize how they were impacting my life.
"He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into light" Job 12:22, NIV.
Guys, speaking about that day brought the darkness in my mind into the LIGHT... . It shined a light on them for what those thoughts truly were, LIES that were keeping me from the TRUTH, which was this: I am NOT a failure. I am WORTHY of being my daughter's mother. I did NOT fail her and I am charged with raising her without FEAR...
This is one of MANY fears that were brought to light in 2018. This is one of many fears that I talk about in my upcoming book. Thank you all for following along in this journey. I can't wait to share more.
Cast fear aside by first bringing them into the light. Talk to someone about something that you feel is holding you back. Take a step in putting that fear where it belongs, in the past....
Here's my little pumpkin now. Just as strong, beautiful, and full of life as ever. The journey we have been on in the last two years has been difficult but it's been worth every bit of work she and I have put in. I praise God every day for the little miracle that she is, for the resiliancy she has, and the life she breaths into everyone that knows her.