Life is Worth Living

Is life worth living? We make it worth living by doing the works our Father set out for us to do and by who we become. Live loved. Love Life.

As someone who struggles with depression, I have also struggled with finding a reason to live. Life gives us so many reasons to desire death: struggles, hurts, suffering of so many kinds. I see them as things that make me long for heaven. There was a time when my hardships made me want to die so badly that I did try to kill myself… and failed. And not just once. This led me to wonder, what am I living for? Why won’t God let me die or take me? What makes life worth living?

When I had my first child, she gave me a reason to live—to care for her.  But there were days when that wasn’t enough to keep me from longing for heaven. Then my sister died and left behind four beautiful girls and a husband who loved her. And I should mention, I was about 6 months pregnant when she died. This experience floored me emotionally and psychologically. At the time, I was not properly medicated for my bi-polar disorder and anxiety, and it was all I could do to hold it together. Having a life growing inside of me kept me alive, because if I killed myself I killed her, too.

When the baby was born – my second daughter – we named her Serenity Elizabeth Joy (Serenity because, at the time, she was serene, Elizabeth after my sister, Mary Elizabeth, and Joy because we knew she would just bring the world joy (plus it sounded great with the other names, I admit.) At 18 months old, my dearest Serenity E. J. became the strong-willed, energetic, outgoing, and defiant child that she is today. I love that girl with every ounce of my being AND she is one of my greatest challenges. She tests my patience, tries my resolve, and consistently checks on my own consistency.

I must admit, there were days I have wondered, “Why me?” I would pray and ask the Lord, “Why did you give me this child who I find to be such a challenge??” I prayed this prayer for nine years until one day it hit me like a slap in the face. I am the only woman who could possible parent this child. That is not to say that if I did die in some accident God couldn’t raise up another person to care for her. In Esther 4:14 Mordecai tells Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” This tells me that if I killed myself God could raise up another to care for her, but I believe she was given to me for a reason.

Scripture says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I was placed here to do the works that God has prepared in advance for me to do.

And I am just now discovering what those “works” are. Being a wife, raising my children, homeschooling my children, writing the books that God has placed upon my heart, blogging to hopefully share some bit of wisdom that might help others, and (perhaps) I will go to massage therapy school to help others not only feel better but also get better.

All this and still there have been hardships. A week ago, I found out that my brother, Dennis, died tragically. He was very young – only 49. He had just had his birthday in May. I love all my siblings. Even so, for some reason, Dennis and I had some kind of special connection. There was a running family joke that we were twins separated at conception. He had a different mom who (as I mentioned in a previous blog) had died when he was young. Though Dennis and I had our struggles in our relationship, I always loved him deeply. If I were not properly medicated right now, I am not certain how I would have handled his death.

(I cannot stress enough how important it is to get help if you struggle with something – anxiety, depression, bi-polar, or just general inexpiable sadness. Doctors can help, and finding the right kind of help can mean the difference between life and suicide for many people. If you google how many people kill themselves each year you may find yourself feeling like perhaps you should reach out more. But I digress…)

I have realized though that if I wait for the perfect moment where everything is right in the world and thinking at that time I can live happily, perhaps then I will never truly live my life. I have found myself sleeping through the rough days sometimes – asking my amazing MIL to keep the kids. Or sometimes I have found myself floating – you know, just going through the motions but never really feeling any joy or happiness, sometimes feeling nothing at all.

This leads me to thinking how do I go about my life living it and not floating or sleeping through it? How do I experience life, allowing those experiences to shape me but not define me?  How do I live my life with happiness and experience the joy of the Lord on a regular basis?

The answer is so simple and yet so challenging for me to live out. The hardest part for me is that I have known it for years, believed it with all my heart, but struggle to feel it in my heart.

Philippians 4:4-9 says (my emphasis added):

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(And this next part is the HOW I live my life with happiness and experience the joy of the Lord on a regular basis.)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thingsWhatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

That sums it all up in a pretty little package. Just read it again and DO IT. Then read it again, if you need to, and make a decision to do it. Make a decision to “think about such things,” to pray to the Lord asking for help, thanking Him for the good stuff and the bad stuff, and accept the peace that He extends to you.

The Friday, after finding out my brother was gone, I had a rough day. I was wallowing in my sorrows and feeling sorry for myself. I have that right in this situation, but it was affecting my parenting, how I was treating others, and how I felt about myself. I listened to a song (the lyrics aren’t perfect but the premise is good) and it made me realize I had to shake the devil off and LIVE MY LIFE.

So, I commit here and now before the friends and strangers that read my blog, that I will continually do my best to be my best self and I will live my life – truly live. Mary and Dennis are gone but not forgotten. They can no longer live, but I can and I must. I must make my life worth living by choice.

197520-Make-Your-Life-Worth-Living (1)

 

Sincerely from the heart,

Super Momma Maggie

(I plan to begin posting more on my other blog. It will be about my past life experiences that have made me who I am. If you are interested, check out www.maggieaspoon.com. And if you enjoyed this blog please like and share. Thanks!)

 

The best me I can be

So often I find myself wanting to change someone else.  I find myself complaining or feeling angry, frustrated or annoyed with someone else.  I was talking to my 7.5 yr old Cassie tonight about it.  She expressed feeling this way sometimes, too concerning her 5 yr old sister.  She said sometimes she just wants to hit her as hard as she can.

Ever want to punch someone in the face?

As we talked about how I felt annoyed with my sister sometimes she asked me a good question.

Mama, if you could go back what would you change [with your sister]?

I explained that if I could go back I wouldnt try so hard to make her be one way or another or to make her like me or want me to be her friend.  I would just be the best me.

I told Cassie that really in life all I can do is be my best me.  I can be who I know I should be and then others can either reciprocate (a big word that I did not use with her) or they can just be jerks.  But if I am my best me then I know how they are is not because of me.

I may not always be my best me, but when I know I am not I work to express my apologies and move on.

May I always be my best me and lead my kiddos to be their best.

Good night.

Mantra: I am a good mommy!!

Today was a particularly rough day. Serenity (who was aptly named as a baby) really misbehaved a lot at school today. She hit and kicked and stuck her tongue out at the teacher. She was just a terror – though not as bad as she has been in the past. She didn’t scream or yell horrible things at them like she used to do to me.

Her misbehavior made me feel like a bad mother.  What am *I* doing wrong that she would behave this way?  What could I do differently?  What is wrong with me?  These were questions that ran through my mind as I sat and cried.  I felt so horribly lost. 

We have tried to many things.  Each time we tried something new we were very consistent and did exactly the same thing for several months to no avail.  Finally, when she was 3.5 we sent her to daycare. I just couldn’t deal with her misbehavior any longer.  It was making me feel so miserable and depressed. But did sending her away make me a bad mom?

Before then I had mixed views on mothers who put their kids in daycare when they could stay home with them.  How could they let someone else raise their child?  How could they allow someone else to decide who their child would be and form them into that person?  How could they!?

Its funny how we view other peoples shoes when we’ve never once worn them ourselves.  I guess it’s the whole plank in my eye, speck in yours thing. (Remove the “plank” from your own eye before you pick the “speck” from your friends eye.)  Now I know.  Now I understand that there are very valid reasons for putting your child in daycare.  Please forgive me all you daycare-using parents out there.  I meant no harm!!

I wont list the reasons for putting your child in daycare.  That’s not what this is about.  Its about how difficult it is to be a mom.  But in my humble opinion unless you are actively harming your child you are a good parent.  Any parent doing their best is a good parent. Not perfect.  Not the best parent in the world, maybe, but a good parent.  I will not allow my child’s behavior to make me feel like a bad mom.  I may not be perfect – I know I am so very far from it – but I do work hard to be my best.

Sure I may need to readjust some things.  But Life truly is like a box of chocolates: some of days are yummy and tasty and others are just plain gross!  But you enjoy the yummy ones and cherish them with all your heart.  The bad days you just throw out and forget, learning from them what you can.  That is what I am doing with today: learning that I am a good mama even on bad days, and throwing this day away like a bad banana!

So I leave you today with these thoughts: consider how other peoples shoes might feel before you judge how those shoes look.  And you are a good parent, despite your child’s behavior, if you are doing your absolute best.

Lots of Love,
Super Mama Maggie

Bible Verse:

Psalms 112

1 Praise the LORD.

   Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
   who finds great delight in his commands.

2 His children will be mighty in the land;
   the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
   and his righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
   for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.
5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely,
   who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 Surely he will never be shaken;
   a righteous man will be remembered forever.
7 He will have no fear of bad news;
   his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
   in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor,
   his righteousness endures forever;
   his horn will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked man will see and be vexed,
   he will gnash his teeth and waste away;
   the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Whose number one in MY life?

So my mistakes are many and my flaws are great.  I am human and find it so hard to find strengths within myself.   It’s not that I dont think I have them but rather that I feel like my weaknesses are so great that they outweigh my strengths.

Lately I have felt quite selfish.  Not in the usual sense of the word, but rather in the Mommy sense of the word.  Those of you who have kids or have spent much time with kids might fully understand what I mean here.  I stay home with my kids; they are awake from about 7 am to 7 p.m.   Out of those twelve hours they nap about 3 or so.  That leaves 9 hours of parenting time.  While they do play some together without me, I do have to constantly jump in to handle a situation or two (sharing is a serious issue in our house right now).  The few bits of undisturbed time I do have I end up spending keeping the house clean (dishes, laundry, general pick-up and put away, the usual).  So really the only time I get to myself when the kids dont need me and the house can wait is nap time.  Though the past several days I havent even had that because the kiddos havent been napping well.

So that leaves me feeling, “What about me?”  Do you ever feel like you are disappearing?  Sometimes I feel like I am just Mommy or Wife but rarely Margaret.  I suppose that is why I cherish Ladies Bible Class; it is one of the few times I can just be a woman among other women rather than a Mom or Wife.  I dont mind being a Mom or Wife — I love those jobs – but they are filled with so much responsibility that sometimes it leaves me feeling emotionally overwhelmed and physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I feel like I work 24/7 with very few breaks to just be me and do what I want to do.  You know?

This isnt really a complaint, mind you.  I knew when I signed up for this job (Wife and Mom) that I would be consumed by the job and someday emerge again years later when my kids have grown and I can just enjoy being a Wife and woman.  I just never imagined it to be so completely consuming.

I think Christianity can be that way sometimes.  We join the race for Heaven thinking it is simple: obey the gospel and receive forgiveness for our sins and salvation from Hell.  But it doesnt stop there, does it?  It consumes you.  You are crucified with Christ and you no longer live but Christ lives in you and the life you now live in the flesh you live by faith in the Son of God.  Meaning you are, in some way, dead.  You sacrifice your entire being, making yourself a living sacrifice to God, “holy and pleasing”.  It is a life-long, self improvement process, never stopping your service, growth and of course all out of love. This is as it should be.  I found a verse used in a recent sermon so inspiring that I wrote it out to post on my wall:

1 Corinthians 15:55-58 (NIV)
”Where, O Death, is your victory?
Where, O Death, is your sting?”
The Sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore stand FIRM.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

I find this verse encouraging because I see my dual life as Wife and Mother as a service to the Lord.  This verse encourages me to give myself fully to that service, realizing my sacrifice is not in vain.  All I can really do is my best and pray that God do the rest and fill in the gaps that my mistakes leave behind.

So those days – or even years – when I spend all my time parenting and keeping house I try to recognize that its alright; its not in vain.  I can always scrapbook the kids baby pictures for them when they get married as a wedding present.  Until then I will enjoy my kids rather than the pictures.

Bear in mind that these are the ramblings of a tired woman at 3:30 AM.  Why am I awake?  Im not too sure.  The past several days have been exceptionally stressful and I have found it very hard to sleep.  My mind has been racing at night, too, which really doesnt help.

So maybe now I can sleep since I got some stuff off my mind.  Good nite and good morning. 😛

x ❤ X

Day Four: 863 Calories yet satisfied

I only ate 863 calories today yet not once did I feel hungry or underfed.  Dinner was very satisfying.  And I was so proud of myself that I went to life group and they ate pasta dishes and lasagna (MY FAV! I love pasta!) and I ate NONE!  I sat there and ate my bar like a good girl.  Of course I was a little disgruntled, but I got over it. 🙂

So I have to tell you what I ate for dinner because it was so yummy!! There are so many restrictions of what I can have and cant, especially since I have sugar issues so I wanted to be careful.  I bought some raw chicken tenderloins at Costco (about 18 lbs) and intend to eat those all week as my “lean”.  I hope I can come up with enough ways to prepare them so I dont get bored because chicken can be pretty boring – especially since I cant find a bbq sauce I can eat.  So here’s what I did:
Green: I steamed broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus in my steamer.  As the veggies cook, they drip down juice into the steam water.  As they steamed I cooked the chicken some.

Lean: I added a bit of water to the pan (instead of oil) and somewhat boiled the chicken strips.  I added a bouillon cube for a bit of extra flavor (because chicken can be so bland). I also added a few of the asparagus ends that I would have discarded (because they were tough), for flavor.  I used 1/4 tsp mustard powder and 1/8 tsp onion powder also.  Once the veggies were finished steaming I added the leftover water (with veggie drippings) to the chicken and finished cooking the chicken.  Once it was fully cooked, I removed it from the pan, leaving the watery mixture in the pan.  I added 1 tsp of arrowroot powder to the pan and cooked it for a minute or two until it was gravy-like.  I poured it over my chicken and voila! Chicken with Gravy and veggies on the side! YUMMY!!  It tasted great!  I plan to have the same thing tomorrow.

So I had a thought.  I was contemplating the verse:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 NIV

I consider myself a Super Mom – more power charged than some other mothers – and the above verse is one of the many reasons I consider myself that.  It is not that I consider myself special of my own right.  Nor do I think that I am exclusively special and no one else can be as super as me.  I am dead to Christ and alive in Him.  I allow God to guide my life and I do my best to turn to Him on how to raise my children.  Though the Bible does say very little about child-rearing, it does say an awful lot about how to be a Christian and how to be like Christ.  So I try to take who God wants my children to be when they are adults and teach them those lessons now.  A child is never too young to learn that certain things are wrong and certain things are right.  In fact, the other day Cassie said to me, “Mommy, when I get big like a Mommy I can do whatever I want because I’m big.” to which I said, “No, Cassie. While you are able to do whatever you want you still need to make wise choices to please God and to live a good life.” then I went on to explain how I could make some poor choices but look at the consequence.  I made it all easy for a 4 yr old to understand, of course.  While she may not fully understand everything I say, she gets the point of it enough for now.

I view child-rearing kind of like building a brick wall.  You cannot build a brick wall by dumping concrete on a pile of bricks.  You have to carefully dig out the foundation and make it flat.  Then you begin to lay the bricks one at a time, carefully smoothing out thin layers of concrete between the bricks so they will stick.  The bricks are the life-lessons and Biblical lessons that my children need to understand.  God and the Bible are the concrete and I am merely the simple brick-layer who is doing what I’m told.  No I have no clue what I am doing but I do know how to lay bricks and smear concrete.  So I lay down lessons for my children and smear Bible verses – sticking them where I can in context – and pray that God leads me to make them who He wants them to be.

So am I more Super than you?  Well that depends… does the Holy Spirit dwell within you?  Do you allow Him to guide your life?  Do you prayerfully go about parenting?  If yes and you are doing your best than I would say you’re on the right track.

I don’t want to sound self-righteous.  I dont think I am better than anyone.  I believe God is perfect and His work in my life impacts my children and by His leading I am the perfect parent for my children – not a perfect parent, mind you, just perfect for my kids. 

I am doing my best and letting God figure out the rest. Are you?

xox

Day One: Starting Over!

So since I screwed up so badly the last several days I am essentially starting over with my diet, with today being day one.  I wont even BOTHER posting about YESTERDAY! (…which would have been day Five.)  Yesterday was rough and miserable and today I feel better.

Do you know the hardest thing to deal with?  I thought I was eating pretty healthy BEFORE the meal plan.  Now I am realizing that I ate a lot of foods that were high in sugar or turned to sugar in my system.  So my body was so high on sugar that it could barely cope without it.

So now here I am at the starting point.  This diet is supposed to be easy, but there are so many little tiny things you can screw up on.  The main things I’ve had trouble with are eating the right distance apart (2:30-3 hrs) and preparing the right amount of the right foods for dinner.

“The right foods” may sound silly to some of you who eat whatever you want whenever you want but on a meal plan designed for optimal weight loss without loss of nutrition the amount of “what” you eat is very important.  Obviously certain foods like french fries, anything fried, and high carbohydrate and high sugar foods are off limits.  But I also have to weigh my meats and measure my veggies so I know that I am not over eating.  Over eating is so much easier than we realize.  We eat even one portion of food and often times it is twice as much volume as we need, and I was one of those who ate two servings of too much food.  It has paid off well and made me FAT! No, Im not 200 lbs overweight but even 20 lbs of extra fat is detrimental to your health and a strain on your body.  One person suggested going to the grocery store and picking up a 10 lb sack of potatos and carrying it around the grocery store (in your arms, not in the cart) to see how it feels to carry just 10 lbs of extra weight.  I have about 40 lbs of extra weight weighing me down and I am certain it will make a big difference in not only my looks but also an even bigger difference in how I feel.

So today I didnt taste any new products.  The only products I have yet to try are the other two oatmeal flavors.  Next month I want to buy things individual and get some of the products I dont have that I havent tasted.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Family Life:

Today was particularily trying.  Cassie tried my patience at every turn. Every single time I requested her to do something or stop doing something she disobeyed me.  She argued several times and fussed more times than I can count.  I do not know what is going on with her.  I suspect it may have much to do with the fact that Presten has been working a LOT on the weekends lately.  He is going “to work” again tomorrow morning from 9 – 12 which means the kids will only briefly get time with him in the morning and unless they skip nap they wont see him again until 3 or 4.  My kids always misbehave more when they dont get enough time with Daddy.   On several occations I have seen a correlation between lessened play time with Presten and grumpier days.  It makes sense.  He is half of the parental unit.  They need him for totally different reasons than they need me.  I cannot fulfill their needs for him, nor can I begin to try.  I am so proud of the fact that Presten is a chiropractor but I often wish that he werent.  I remember my dad coming home every night at 5:00 p.m. on the dot.  We ate dinner as a family and spent the evenings together.  As a teenager we worked outside together on our farm after dinner.  Presten doesnt get home until 6:30 or 6:45 which may not seem like a big deal but when the kids need to go to bed before 7:30 it is.  It means he cannot eat dinner with the family during the week and he only has a max of 30 minutes before the kids need to get ready for bed.  30 minutes a day just isnt enough for the kids to feel loved by him.  If I had it my way we would win the lottery (or some other such get-rich-quick thing) and we would both stay home (or at least he would work limited hours) and spend our time doing much more important things.  We would do more work with the church and volunteer work and all sorts of outtings.  We would travel and show our kids the world.  Presten desires to be home more hours of the day but he simply cannot until he is making enough money in the time he is there.

It may sound like I am just complaining.  SO many people are out of work and want a job even if they have to work 12 hours a day.  But my above remarks have been on my heart since way before this resession and a recession doesnt change the way your heart feels.  My husband is amazing.  He is my Prince Charming, the man of my dreams, the man I have prayed for since I was young.  He is everything I asked for and much more.  He is NOT perfect, but he IS perfect for me.  So why would I want to spend any time away from him that I dont have to?  We love spending time together doing pretty much anything.  We love talking with each other and cuddling to watch tv.  We enjoy working on projects together and playing games together.  He is my best friend and I love spending every moment I can with him.  I want him to be happy and I know he enjoys being a chiropractor, but he doesnt enjoy spending so much time away from his girls.

So my prayer for our family is that God will work it out to where Presten can spend more time with his girls, even if it is only 30 minutes more a day.

However, dispite all this, I am learning to be content in my current situation.  I know and believe firmly that God has a plan for my life.  I know that this moment, even its frustrations, fits into a greater plan. Certain pieces of the puzzle may seem to not fit, but they will make sense in Gods time.  (Prov. 16:9 and 19:21, among many others)  The Bible tells us over and over again that God has a plan and will for our lives and we only need to trust Him and allow ourselves to be clay in His hands to receive His perfect will.

May yours and my tomorrow be filled with abundant joy – oh and weight loss! 🙂

xox

No Greater Joy

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
3 John 4

I have committed myself to being a Super Mom – lead by the Holy Spirit and guiding my children using principles from the Bible.  It is a hard road, one that requires constant change.  I cannot sit idle as my house becomes a mess, nor can I sit idle when I learn new truths that require a choice: to change or ignore.  As I shared in my last post, I have found a new source of wisdom, one that draws from the Bible: nogreaterjoy.org (ngj).

After spending nearly all day reading everything on that site that I thought might pertain to me, my brain hurts but my heart is joyful and excited.  I look forward to the changes taking place in me and my family.  I believe that being a wife and mom should be a joy, though lately it has been nothing but a chore for me.  My husband and I have commitment issues – not to each other, but to our word.  Our word means very little; we say, “I will…” but do not.  It is a frustrating and unintentional issue.  I have made it my goal to be trustworthy and reliable in my word, letting my “yes be yes and my no be no.” But my husband has not made that choice yet and it has made our marriage frustrating at times.  Additionally, my children have taken on fighting with each other, among other things.  As for myself, my health is failing in a most uncomfortable way and it makes me feel unwilling to rise and meet the day.

Yet reading these articles on the ngj website have renewed my strength and made me joyful of the changes to come.

I pray that God will guide me as I work to change my focus and share with my husband the views I suggest we change.  I also pray that God guide me as I work to improve my health, so that I made succeed in being as Super as possible, not feeling a pull to be idle due to discomfort and fatigue.

(It is not a matter of not knowing WHAT to do for my health, but more a matter of DOING IT!)

Please, reader, keep me in your prayers also.  The prayers of fellow believers are a great gift.

God help me.

Super Mom