Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You Can't Have It

Dear Satan,

Guess what?  You can't have my joy!  Not now, not ever.  The JOY of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

~A girl who knows where my joy comes from
John 10:10

I realize Satan is probably not reading my blog.  But when declaring something as powerful as this I find that it is sometimes best to declare out loud.  Or in writing. :)

Life has been pretty rough lately.  One thing after another just keeps going wrong.  The worst of this was when I found out on Monday that my company will be letting me go next week.  I had a feeling this was coming.  I knew that a great paying part time gig would not last too long. 

Rewind two plus years... I was contacted by a recruiter out of the blue about this job when I needed it the most - while at home on FMLA with our youngest, Ethan whom we had just adopted.  See, Ethan was two months premature and was not able to go to daycare right away.  He was extremely susceptible to RSV and other illnesses.  The thought of putting this teeny tiny newborn in daycare while I went back to a crazy stressful full time job was overwhelming and heartbreaking.  It was no coincidence this job came along right when our family needed it the most. 

Do you know some of the thoughts that went through my head when I realized I was going to lose my job?
I have never been fired or laid off.  I have always had excellent reviews, raises and bonuses.  I am really good at what I do.  I have supported some of the most difficult people on the face of the earth.  This is not even a real Executive Assistant role.  I'm bored here anyways.  At least I will make more money now.  I have never had a hard time getting a job so I'm not worried at all. 

I have been job searching for a couple of weeks now trying to get a head start on things.  I have had a couple of leads but no official offers yet.  My overconfidence quickly shifted to worry and hopelessness.  Through this process I have heard God's response to my over confident thoughts about myself and my abilities.    
How about a little humility, Juliana?  How about recognizing that any gifts you have come from me?  Are you ready to give up control and TRUST me yet?  Let me take this and stop worrying.  Maybe I have something so much better for you in mind.  TRUST me.  TRUST me.  TRUST me.

Monday was a bad day.  A really bad day.  I am normally someone who is full of joy no matter what my circumstances are but not on Monday.  EVERYTHING kept going wrong.  To the point where at the end of the night the hubbs and I finally sat down to eat dinner and my dog started peeing on the floor right in front of me.  Instead of jumping up and steering him outside I just sat there and watched him, laughing.  I'm sure I looked completely insane to my husband.  And thank God for my husband because he brought me back to reality.  Garrett: "WHAT is wrong with you?  I know you have had a bad day and things aren't going right but you need to snap out of it.  Being in a bad mood all day and night, taking it out on me and the kids is not going to make anything better."  Notice I didn't say he lovingly brought me back to reality.  Ha!  But he knows me and he knew that was exactly what I needed to hear. 

I had some prayer warriors that day and I was assured of that when I woke up the next morning FULL of unspeakable joy.  It was at that moment that I decided I would not let Satan take my joy.  Go ahead and make me clumsy, put me in crazy traffic, take my job, make my dog pee on the floor multiple times, overflow the toilet, make my kid poop his pants (no lie, y'all) but you WILL NOT TAKE MY JOY!

"Satan has no refuge when joy is present."  ~Jerry Savelle

God has never failed me.  He has remained faithful in my lowest of lows and highest of highs.  The least I can do is give him control of this and everything else in my life. 
Maybe I will get a job tomorrow.  Maybe it will be next month.  Maybe I will get the money I want.  Maybe I won't.  In the meantime I choose to TRUST Him and live my life for Him - full of JOY! 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Kid's Perspective on Mom Mornings

I know you moms (and dads) feel me when I talk about how chaotic some of my mornings can be trying to get myself and two kids up, ready and out the door...on time.  I previously wrote about one of my Mama Mornings if you want to take a read.

This morning was pretty similar.  I woke up with a killer sinus headache, took my shower and then went to wake up Garrison.  His room has been smelling super funky lately.  The only way I can think to describe it is dirty socks.  I really thought it was just that "boy smell" really starting to come out strong.  Let's be real - I knew he wouldn't smell like Johnson & Johnson lavender shampoo forever.  This morning the stench hit me again right when I opened his door.  I went to get a shirt out of his closet and stepped into a pile of wet clothes on the floor.  My boy is known for sleep walking so my first thought was that he peed in the closet last night instead of the bathroom.  I did the whole bring the shirt to my nose 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch and then took a small whiff and THERE IT WAS - the dirty sock aka mildew smell.  Apparently he has had a pile of wet clothes on his closet floor this whole time.  Whodathunk.  I did check the walls to make sure this was not a plumbing leak and thank goodness it wasn't.  I still have no idea where the water came from but with a 2 1/2 year old and almost 9 year old I really don't care to go through the whole investigation routine.  I was just excited to find the source of the smell. 

Moving on... as I was moving the wet clothes to the laundry room I look up to see one of my dogs squatting and peeing right in front of me.  Really?!  This dog has been potty trained for 10 YEARS by the way!  I ask Garrison to go let the dogs out while I clean up the mess.  I even go to the door and help him with the leashes (of course our fence is down from a recent storm).  I'm standing there in my tank top and underwear (I apologize for that visual) and with the door open he quickly hands me the leashes and announces he has to pee.  So I'm standing in the open doorway half naked.  Apologies to any passers by who may have witnessed this. 

We finally get things moving along and we are already about 15 minutes behind at this point.  Garrison, who is supposed to be brushing his teeth, comes into the kitchen with a toothbrush in his pocket and a mouthwash cup full of suds.  He starts singing a song that goes something like, "I'm the tooth fairy with a cup of beer."  What?!  I'm thinking... is it too early for a beer?  I go wake up Ethan and get him ready.  Garrison was sweet enough to let the dogs out for me.  Bags on, coffee in hand, Ethan ready...aaaaaand Garrison walks in with dog poop on his shoe.  I mean, C'MON!!!! 

I was so proud of myself for keeping my patience through all of this.  We finally get in the car and are headed to school (20 minutes late) and I am on the verge of tears.  Out of nowhere my almost 9 year old says this from the backseat.  "Mommy, we sure are lucky that we have a school to go to and you have a job to go to.  We are so lucky we have a house.  I know you have had a really hard morning but isn't it great to know that Jesus is always with us?!"  I put the car in park, looked right into that ridiculously wise boy's eyes and said, "Thank you.  I SO needed to hear that.  And you are SO right!"

Sometimes all we need is the perspective of a child to realize that life isn't all that bad!  ;)

And by the way, I heard this song just before I got to work.  I really don't listen to much pop music but every now and then there is a song like this that comes along.  And you can bet I cranked it up and danced like I had tinted windows and no one watching!

Happy Tuesday friends!  And to all you moms (and dads) out there - we are all in this together!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Give Me...and You...and Her a Break!

Attention Moms:

The time has come.  No, not nap time.  It's not time to leave for school.  Whew, you're not late for work or one of your kid's doctor appointments.  That is definitely not the timer going off on the oven.  If you're anything like me you have thoughts like this running through your head constantly. 

We are all busy, probably too busy. 
  • Some of us work full time, go home to four kids and no husband, have to keep up the house and oh yeah - feed those four kids.  God bless y'all!  When do you have time to sleep?
  • Some of us work part time, have two kids, a husband who works his butt off for his family in a blue collar job and just wants to relax when he gets home, aka not much help around the house.  And we still can't find the time to get it all done.  I just might be talking about my own situation here. 
  • Some of us are stay at home moms who spend every.single.waking.second with our kids.  We spend our days resolving conflict, teaching independence, teaching preschool curriculum, cleaning floors, cleaning messes, preparing meals.  And oh yeah - we try to be somewhat presentable and dig deep for those last few ounces of energy when our husbands come home in the evening.  I don't know how y'all do it, SAHMs.  You rock!

My point is this.  We are all trying to juggle someone or something.  Some of us may be struggling with heartache, relationship issues, health issues or depression.  I would bet most of us feel inadequate sometimes as a wife, mom or woman.  I would bet most of us are constantly wondering if we are making the right decisions for our family.  Should I work full time to bring in more money?  Should I stay home with my kids to give them more support?  Should I home school?  Should I get him tested for ADD?  Should I let him play more than one sport at a time?  Is she too young to start dating?  Should I force them to go to church with us? 

The point of this post is to remind y'all that it's not just you.  You are not alone.  Every other mom you see at your kid's school, in the doctor's office, in the grocery store or at the park is like you in some way.  It's time that we start seeing the similarities in other moms as opposed to the differences.  Focusing on our differences is when comparisons, judging and jealousy start and it can get ugly. 

Remember we are all in this together.  Remember that we should be supporting each other instead of criticizing each other.  And on the toughest of days, remember that the time we have with our kids should be enjoyed and cherished because we will one day look back on these years and wish we had them back.