How To Fight Back

Where are your sensitive, most exposed, vulnerable areas in your life?  Do you have trust issues from betrayals in past relationships? Have you struggled with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sexual vices, etc in your past or even presently?  Are you insecure about your appearance?  Do you live in fear that something bad is going to happen to your children or your husband?  Is your greatest concern being financially secure?  Have you lived through a traumatic experience and and are afraid it will happen again?  Do you live with guilt from past sins you’ve committed?

Think about it for a moment.  Our most sensitive areas are those that cause us to tailspin out of control mentally and emotionally. Our thought process travels down a bad path when the subject is brought up, when someone throws it up in our face or maybe we encounter a temptation from our past weaknesses.  We all have at least one area that we don’t like to be touched…ever.

I’m not feeling brave enough to put my own vulnerabilities out here on the “world wide web” today, but I will admit that I am “attacked” in these areas more often than I care for.  In the past, I have not dealt with it in a healthy manner.  tailspinHere’s the order of my mental/emotional tailspin (perhaps you can relate):  anger, emotional pain, regret, bitterness, feel like giving up, questioning who in the world I think I am, feeling like a failure, depression, inability to function normally.  Sounds crazy, huh?

The really crazy thing is that I know I’m not the only one.  The Bible says that there is an “accuser of the brethren” that has been accusing people day in and day out since the beginning of time.                                 accuser

If you are a born again believer, you are a brethren…FYI.  The silver lining is that at the end of time, the “accuser” will be thrown into hell, literally, and we will be with Jesus.  But until then…

I Peter 5:8 tells us that we are to be sober and vigilant because our adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, looking to see who he can devour.  How does he try to devour us?  By attacking us in our vulnerable areas.  And he knows them well.  The scripture continues to admonish us to resist him and remain steadfast in our faith and to be comforted to know that you are not alone in your sufferings.  As Christians, we all go through it.

But how do we resist the enemy and remain steadfast in our faith?  What does that even mean?  It’s hard when our own personal weakness, failures and insecurities are the ammo he uses against us.  He does not fight fair at all.  And what would you expect from the father of lies?  He’s the master of telling you lies about who you are and who you aren’t.

I’m going to show you how to fight back.

Psalm 121:5  “The Lord is your keeper;  the Lord is your shade on your right hand.”

When a solider would go into battle back in the Bible days, he would carry a shield and a sword.  The shield would be carried in his left hand and the sword in his right.  The shield represents those areas in your life where you are strong, areas where you have no issues, temptations, weaknesses, etc.  The right side, the side with no protection, represents the side where the enemy would attack. The place where our weaknesses are fully exposed.  But we are not completely at the mercy of our enemy.  We have been equipped with a very effective tool with which to fight back – a sword.  A solider would never go into battle without his sword to fight off the advances of the enemy.  And neither should we.  Our sword is part of the armor of God that is provided for us when we become born again.  We wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  The Bible.  We can fight back by filling our minds with truth from God’s Word and speaking it over our lives.  Daily, continually.  Day and night.  And especially when we are feeling attacked and confused.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

God guards the vulnerable parts of our lives with His Word.  If we speak His Word, fill our minds with His truths, we will be strengthened in those areas where we are weak.  We will be able to quench the fiery darts of the enemy.  Speak the Word in times of temptation, fear, insecurities.  Who I am in Christ.  What I have in Christ.  NEVER lay down your sword.  Have it ready in your hand at all times.  Practice even when you are not being attacked until it becomes second nature to wield it without hesitation, with expert skill.  Before your mind even goes to a bad place, you can speak the Word and end it there.  Nip the lies in the bud immediately with the truth of who you really are!  It really does work!

And that, my friends, is what you call, “Fighting the good fight of faith.”

A Mommy’s Heartache

The words of my tween daughter pierce my heart like a knife.

“Mommy, why are my thighs bigger than all the other girls’ in my dance class?”

“Mommy, do you think I sing as good as my friend?”

“Mommy, why can’t I be funny like her?”  

Question after question.  Irrational insecurities.  Constant critical comparisons.

Her criticism hurts me.  Words that wound this mama’s heart.

You see, my daughter is perfect in my eyes.  She is beautiful, graceful, talented, kind, loving and absolutely perfect in every way.

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When she looks around and sees that she is not the same as everyone else, she imagines that something is wrong with her.  She listens to the lies whispered in her ear by the lips of the great deceiver.

I draw a picture for her with my words of how she has been deliberately and delicately designed by our Creator.  I explain how she alone can be Lily Marie.  She is the only one He made like her.

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But still, she is unsure and my sadness is a tangible aching in my own chest.  If only she could understand and see herself as I see her…

Just a moment though…

How often do I compare myself to other women?  Other wives?  Other mothers?  Other writers?

Daily and constantly.

Do I wound my Father’s heart when I am critical of myself?

Every time my daughter spews negative words about herself, God grabs my attention.

As I comfort and encourage my own daughter, His Words contradict the onslaught of lies from satan for both of His daughters.

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He sees me as perfectly crafted, created for a purpose.  There is no else like me on this earth.  Only I can do what He created me to do.  Only I can be Susie.

I cannot be Lisa or Kelly or Kim or Rachel…But I can be Susie.

God made no carbon copies…only carefully crafted creations.  

                                                                                       lilypointe                                                                                                                                                                                            

I am a carefully crafted creation.  My daughter is a carefully crafted creation. You are a carefully crafted creation.

Let’s be who God made us to be.  And praise Him for making us exactly how He intended.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”  Psalm 139:14

I’m No Superwoman

Despite what you all may think (haha), I’m no superwoman.  supergirl

I’m no supermom. stay-at-home-mom

Though I confess it in faith with a Supergirl keychain, hoodie and t-shirt (thanks to the hubs) and I have a nickname floating around out there (Super Suze).  I don’t feel so super all the time.  Super Suze?   More like a SUPERintendent of this crazy funny farm I’m running here.  piggies

Can I get an “Amen” from all the wives and moms out there?

Or am I the only one who feels overwhelmed, worn out and insecure about being….well, a human being in general?

Take yesterday for example:

I woke up on time (actually, for once) and had great plans to eat breakfast, take my vitamins and workout before noon.Laundry, phone calls and four children’s schoolwork gobbled up ALL.MY.TIME. in the morning.

Between 12:30pm and 1:30pm, I made lunch, helped both girls practice their piano, helped one son with his math homework, took a shower, washed my hair (after like 4 days…gross!  I was holding off until after I worked out.),  actually shaved my legs and armpits (trust me, it was needed)blog2-leg-shaving-spring-harvest and headed out the door to piano lessons.  Wet hair and all.

I drove the 1/2 hour to piano lessons and sat there for an hour and half.  All the while, working on homework with each daughter and following up on emails about cakes.  And silently dying inside because the girls had not practiced too much this week because of Passion Play and Easter.  Geez, can’t I get my act together?  Of all kids, mine should be thoroughly prepared for piano lessons.

On the way home, we drive through a horrendous downpour so bad that Emma says, “Please Jesus!  Don’t let us die!”  Of course, I was in the left lane and sandwiched between four other cars and could not pull over.   My hands resembled the claw when we finally drove out of it.theclaw

I needed to go to the grocery store, but there was no time because the ex was coming over to take Nathan to his baseball game in a half hour.  And he just called to tell me at 3:55pm.  Sigh….well, I’m thankful for the help today.  But the house looked like a bomb went off in it.  Why can’t you keep your house clean like all the good wives and moms?

I’m more Lucy.  I-Love-Lucy-i-love-lucy-17796179-359-450

Not so much June.june cleaverPssh…

Rush home.  Start screaming at kids to get ready for baseball.  Get ready for dance.  Oh wait…what?  Scott has to be at work at 5?  Oh Sweet Jesus, have mercy on my soul.

I scrounge up some bread and cheese.  Grilled cheese and pierogies for dinner tonight.  Emma complains.  She hates grilled cheese.  Nathan says to not put any yucky seasoning on the pierogies (What?  It’s just garlic salt and butter!)  The ex is ringing the doorbell.  The kitchen looks like a Febreze commercial where they blindfold the people and ask what they smell.  I simultaneously make four grilled cheese sandwiches, pierogies, load the dishwasher, empty the trash can, find baseball pants and belt from the basement, fix two ballerina buns, make a much-needed cup of coffee, feed the herd and get out the door in under 30 minutes.multitasking-meltdown  All the while, bridling my tongue and the brewing meltdown as best as I could.

For the love of God, how much can one woman take?  I had my blingy It Works mug full of sweet nectar from God, though.  blingcoffeeIt’s all about the silver lining, ladies.  Or the rhinestone one.

I dropped Scott off at work with five minutes to spare.  (Proud look beaming from my face just now.)  Drove down to Sam’s Club for the groceries I so desperately needed.  Mother Hubbard’s cupboards were, for sure, bare now.  With my tiny ballerinas in tow,ballerinas I raced through Sam’s like a skilled race car driver, even having the audacity to say “No, thank you,” to the Direct TV guy who was trying to solicit me.  Ha!  Take that sales guy!

I seriously made it through Sam’s Club with a full grocery cart in under 15 minutes.  I’m not bragging, I’m just sayin.  My time  took a major hit though when I chose the wrong checkout line.  You know what I’m talking about.  The deceptively short line with the elderly lady whose cart has just a few items.  Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue.  I chanted mentally to myself while my girls gave me crazy eyes and head nods towards the dear lady trying to work the credit card machine from her Hoverround.  Emma was beginning to freak out about being late for dance AND she had to pee and was thirsty.  Breathe in out, breathe out.

Finally, we got out of Sam’s.  The wind was fiercely whipping when we got outside.  The kind of wild wind that makes the hair on my head literally wrap around my entire face, obscuring my view.  hairfaceIt took me five minutes to find my keys in my purse.  The girls were freezing.  Of course, it was like 70 degrees when we got in the car a half hour ago and no one felt the need to bring jackets.   Mom fail.

Unloaded the cart into the back of my van.  Took the cart to the cart return.  (I did seriously consider leaving it by my van, but Joyce Meyer’s words ring in my head).  Watch this…  http://youtu.be/iedcwIxsKhE

That’s something.  I guess.

And how about this?  We made it to dance with 15 minutes to spare!  Thank you, Lord.  In everything give thanks.

Chatted with a friend at the dance school for a few minutes and arrived at Nathan’s game a few minutes late.  I missed his first at-bat. Of course.  He struck out, so that kind of saved me.  Remember, I hadn’t brought a jacket…I looked in my trunk to see if I had a blanket or stray sweatshirt.  Nope.  What I did find was Emma’s fluffy panda hat with the attached scarf with hand warmers.pandahat  I examined it and then decided against wearing it in front of the other moms.  What would they think about me?  So I got back in my van and watched the game from the hill.  My thin shirt was no match for the bitter wind.  Why couldn’t I get it together and remember things like jackets, hats and those bag chair things everyone else sits on at these games?

Well…at least it’s cold and my groceries in the trunk won’t rot before I get home.

When the game ended, it was 8pm.  The girls weren’t getting done with dance until 9 and Scott wasn’t getting done with work until 10.  So, I drove back home, unloaded the groceries, Nathan got a shower and we headed back to the dance school just in time to get the girls.  In the meantime, Lew sends me a picture of the awards ceremony dinner he’s at in North Dakota. “Call me ASAP,” I say to him.  I really just want to unload on him the chaos of my day so I’ll get a little sympathy.  I was beginning to feel weepy and pitiful by that time of night.  We chatted.  He made me feel happy.  He’ll be home in a few days.  Just keep on keepin’ on.

We finally made it home a little after 10pm.  I rush all the kids to bed.  By that time, I was beyond tired.  I wanted to get my workout in.  Yeah, right.  Who am I kidding?  Bedtime for this old girl.  I know I’ll hate myself in the morning for it.  So I went to bed.  Lily came in three times to ask me if I heard something.  No.  Go to bed!!!!  Then of course, I lie there “hearing something” until 3am. Way to freak a mom out, Lily!

Here I sit today.  FrazzledCatMore tired than before, but able to clearly evaluate what went down yesterday.  Sure, the amount of running around and scheduling and quantity of stuff I was able to get done was impressive.  Super, some might say.  But what was going on in my mind and heart all day was super BAD.  The negative self-talk was present all day long.  I beat myself up mentally from morning until night.  How and why did this happen?

I have expectations of myself that no one, not even God Himself, expects from me.

I often look around at other moms and wives and compare myself to them.  I come up short every time.

I allow the opinions of others to steal my peace.

I forget whose image I am made in. I forget who I am in Christ.

I forget that I am loved by many people.  And they love me just as I am.

Here are some truths about my life (and yours too, I’m sure):

Life is not perfect.  I am not perfect.  That’s okay.  

I am doing the best I can, most days.  

I love my kids.  I love my husband.  I love Jesus.  They love me too, like a whole lot.

My kids are alive, healthy, smart and thriving human beings who also love Jesus.happykids

My home is clean enough…there are no infectious diseases or life threatening hazards at the present time.  Everyone has clean underwear…today.

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I have a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear.  Every day.

I AM a good mom.  I AM a good wife.  I AM a good person.  Sometimes we’ve just gotta say that to ourselves.  

Be encouraged today, mommy and wife.  You’ll make it through today, one second at a time.  Don’t beat yourself up if everything doesn’t go as planned or if the dishes are piling up.  Play with your kids or cuddle with your husband instead.  A clean house is WAY overrated…in my humble opinion.  At least until the mother-in-law shows up.

Love yourself because YOU ARE LOVABLE.

And one last thing…let’s give each other a break too.  When we criticize one another, it just shows how insecure we are with ourselves.