Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is really important?

There comes a point in your life when you finally "Get it." You come to this crossroads spiritually and mentally that just kind of trancends time. You find out what matters, what doesn't, and the people that you really don't need in your life. A year ago I made the decision that there were 3 areas of my life that were most important. Those three things came before everything else regardless of who or what you were. I chose to take anything that might distract me, discourage me, or just change those relationships in anyway and I got rid of them from my life. I changed things like who I talk to when I'm upset, the music I listen to, the things I watch on tv, and even what I read. I started looking at how I saw those three things and reevaluated the situtation. I took myself out of the equation and looked at how each of these "pieces to my puzzle" fit to make my life wonderful. Then I saw how I could put myself into those pieces in a better way than I had been before. When I did those things it dramatically changed my life. I seriously started living a different way, and now I've been doing it long enough that I can't imagine trying to live my life the old way.

Three of my favorite things...
You are probably wondering what exactly my three things are... well they are God, my husband and marriage, and my children. Those three things, IN that order, are the most important things to me. They are truly what matters to me in this world. Now I know some of you might say, "well what about friends, or family, a job, and responsibilites?" Yes all of those things are important and a part of my life, but if they at any point interfere with those three most important things, then the dynamic of that relationship has to change. Its really that simple. At least for me it seems simple. Then some of you are probably thinking..."Why are her children last?" Well to me this is the hierarchy of a woman's life. God comes first, her husband next, and then her children come in behind them. Why this is important is because there are places in a woman's heart that only God can fill. There are needs that a woman has that only her husband can meet, and to be able to fully care for her children in a happy and fulfilled way, she has to have both of these things in her life.

God has to be the first priority in your life. Now I am not saying you have to constantly read your bible and be in prayer. You can't live your life in a functioning way if you do. There are still responsibilities you have that you must take care of. What I am saying is that you have to depend on God for your needs first. You have to go to Him when you are sad, hurt, angry or even happy. You have to depend on His love when you feel neglected or pushed to the side. Because I promise in life you will feel that way at some point. You cannot expect your husband, boyfriend, or fiance to fulfill every need you have. That isn't going to happen and it isn't fair to them. There are places in your heart that God designed especially for Him. He knew that we'd never be able to fill that place with anyone but Him, and even though we'd try our little hearts out, we would ineveitably fail. I think out of all of the things I struggle with, this is the one thing that is the hardest for me. Not because I don't love the Lord with all my heart. I do very much. I am grateful beyond belief for His grace and love, but I am horribly guilty of putting my husband first. I try so hard to get what I need from him so much of the time. It works sometimes, but then others, it just disappoints me to the core. There are days when I just so desperately want him to notice me and he doesn't. Not because he doesn't love me, but because he's just busy. That is where you have to take that resposibility off of his big shoulders and put it on bigger shoulders. God is the one person that will NOT let you down. He will always be there, always love you, and always listen. He doesn't have another priority, or another place to be. He sits next you to waiting for you to ask for His help. I don't know of any mortal man that is that caring, kind, and loving. Not to discredit the men, its just not your thing, and I get that. Now... ;)

My Husband...
I am so blessed with a wonderful husband. He has loved me through thick and thin, dark and dreary, happy and sad. He has dried my tears, pushed me to be better, and ripped me to the core. He has loved me more than anyone ever has, and hurt me just as much. He makes me want to be a better person. I see in him all of my hopes, dreams, and desires. True soul mates make each other stronger by the life they live together. This means the person you are meant to be with is going to test you. They are going to push your limits in one way or another. They will definitely irritate you, annoy you, and make you want to scream. They also will give you more joy in a smile than anyone on earth. They fill a place that is solely made for them, and it is an amazing feeling to love someone so much you would do anything for them. When you work to see past their flaws and love them more because of them you stop putting so much pressure on that person. This is something that takes practice. You have to stop yourself and relearn how to think about things. Its not an easy process, but it is vital to having a successful relationship. I encourage you to try putting someone before yourself for a week. Do nice things for them, cherish them, and love them no matter what they do that might annoy you. See what happens in that relationship. I promise it will be worth it. Now this area of my life hasn't been easy. I put a lot of difficult, unattainable, and irrational expectations on my husband the first part of our marriage. I expected him to fulfill every one of my needs and desires. He just couldn't do it. And it was wrong of me to put that on him. Now, I know that just because our marriage isn't romance and roses all the time, it doesn't mean he doesn't love me. People show love in different ways and you have to be thankful for those ways and adapt. You have to be willing to put a LOT of time into a relationship. You have to do nice things you may not feel like doing. You have to smile and laugh together. You have to tell them you love them. Its all part of a give and take process that will slowly change the dynamic of your relationship in amazing ways. When you stop expecting your mate to be the things you NEED, and appreciate them for what they give, you will love them in a whole different way. Making them a priority is such an important part of learning who you are. Through this you will grow in such strong ways. This is one of my favorite things!

My babies...
I have beautiful babies. Man they are just .... goregous. I look at them and just am in awe of them. They are funny, sweet, loving, and irresistable. I adore them beyond measure. I made the decision a year ago that I wanted to be a stay at home mom so that I could dedicate my life to my 3 important things. Its been tough, but its been rewarding. I love being home when they get here. I love cooking for them and having everything in order so we can enjoy our time at night. I love the snuggles and hugs. All of this wonderful, does have its downsides that I was accustomed to before I stayed at home full time. I miss having extra money. I get frustrated at the ever growing pile of laundry and the dirty footprints on my clean floor. I am exhausted 90% of the time, and I never have the excuse that I have to go to work so I can't do something. But being a mom is the most wonderful profession in the world and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Its better than any dream job I could have thought up in my mind. Its just that simple.

Your three important things...
Now you might not be married or have kids. You might just be single and have a career you love. Whatever your 3 things are is fine, just make sure that the number one thing is always God. When you do that, everything else you love will flourish. Its a wonderful process and journey. You will grow in ways you didn't know were possible. You will enjoy your life more, and find that even during the hard times, they don't get you down as much as they used to. Its just such a great thing.

Until next time, Let Go and Let God, Love will never ever fail you, and It will all be OK... I promise!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Change?

The Change...
Almost a year has gone by since I went through the "change." Now I didn't go through menopause at 31, thank goodness, but I did have my entire life flip completely upside down. I didn't have hot flashes or mood swings, but I did cry a lot, had to work extremely hard, and learned that if I wanted to be a better person it was going to hurt like crazy first. I have to say, it was probably the hardest year of my life, but the best at the same time. It's taken me a lot of "revelations" to get to where I am now. I've had to deal with a lot of my old baggage, and I had to learn to look at things in a very different way than I ever had before. I repeated phrases to myself until the ideas stuck. I wrote out things just so I'd memorize them. I talked to myself, my family and friends, and mostly my God. I worked so very hard. But oh my goodness was it ever worth it?! I would NEVER go back to my old way of living. I'd rather die than know that I would have to feel like that again. It's just not an option for me anymore. It's just NOT.

Why tell my story?
I was sitting one day reading this awesome book, that I know at some point I will write about on this blog, and it made me wonder what exactly was my gift to be used by God? He made me artistic, a good cook, a writer, a wife and a mom, loving, kind... really all kinds of things, but I've never had any real direction. I've worked with children, adults, the poor, the rich, and even the crippled and special needs. But nothing has stuck. Nothing has felt right... not until now. I realized one night that my story would help someone else find Him. That is really the main focus of our lives anyways, to love God and lead others to Him. So I decided to start this blog because I know that somewhere, there is someone, that needs to hear what I have to say, and it might be more of an urgent need than to wait until a book was published. I don't know who will read this. Might be one person, it might be a million. I don't know. I just know that God said to write and so I am. I learned a long time ago that everything in your life happens for a reason, and even as I write this, my reasons are forming into a path that God had created for me all along, and I didn't know what it was. I am not completely crazy. I might make you laugh or cry, or maybe both. I'm not scholar. I don't have a PhD or some seminary degree. I'm just an ordinary girl, with an extraordinary God. I promise I don't have all the answers, but what answers I do have... they come from God, and I know that just knowing that will change your life because it sure changed mine.

Love is the Change...
It's truly amazing how differently you look at things when you have a dramatic transformation happen within you. I see colors more vibrantly. I actually stop and smell the flowers more often than I used to, and I treasure the way they smell. I laugh a lot more. I cry a lot less. I actually ENJOY the things I "have" to do now.  I play silly games. I dance, and I sing at the top of my lungs. I'm not afraid. I don't worry as much. And most of  all, I love more deeply than I ever imagined possible. Now let me stop and tell you a little bit about my old self,  I always loved very deeply. I am a passionate person. I love to love. Artistic people tend to be that way you know... but I always held something back, even when I didn't realize it. I was afraid that I'd never be loved as deeply as I was loving the other person, and to me somehow that didn't seem very fair. I felt like no matter how hard I tried, no one would ever love me enough to make me feel good inside. What a huge burden to put on everyone wasn't it? But when I changed myself, I learned that those unrealistic expectations were NEVER going to be fulfilled by ANYONE on this Earth so I needed to stop focusing on that. I had to instead focus on loving what I did have, but I had to love those people and things with everything that was a part of me. Wow, was that hard! Not because I have family and friends that are hard to love, because they are wonderful, but you see when you love like that, you have to give up a lot. You throw away your pride. The expectations have to go out the window, and you have to be unselfish constantly. Its not easy. Trust me, I've cried to God so many times to change my thoughts and help me get rid of the old ways of thinking I've probably given God a headache! But slowly, over time, it got easier. I started letting go. Stopped judging others love of me, and started just loving "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of the most important people in my life. You have to start small, you can't decide to just love everyone all the time. Try one person, then two, and work your way up. The longer you go, the easier it will get, until one day you will find that you even love people you don't know in a way that is pure and honest. It's a pretty cool feeling once you realize this about yourself. You kind of have one of those "go figure" moments. I have those a lot. Funny thing is, once I started loving with everything that I am, I didn't care if they loved me back the same. Which seems a little ironic to me, but why question what works?

Let Go and Let God?
I suffered for a long time trying to be this perfect person that I finally realized I will never be. I am human, I am a woman, and I am flawed. God made me that way on purpose. Why? I still don't know sometimes. But I do know that He loves me regardless. He looks at me like I am the most perfect person in the world. Ironicly, that exact person I was trying to be all along is who He sees when He looks at me. How that works, I'm not exactly sure. But I've learned to just be thankful its that way and move on. :) Before I learned that lesson though, I became a very sad, very stressed, and exhausted person. It's alot of hard work to be something you will never be. You will wear yourself out trying to achieve that goal and you will fail. There is no other option. You will fail. I had gotten to the point where I was at the bottom. I was literally clinging to life with threads of hope, and those thread were unraveling very quickly. I did something I've never done before, I reached out for help. That was the BEST decision I ever made. I met with my Angel (that's what I call her because she saved my life), and my life started over. Angel is not a psychiatrist, or a therapist, she's not even a doctor, she's just a woman that has "been there and done that", and THAT was exactly what I needed. The first thing I learned from Angel was the phrase, "Let Go and Let God." Haha.... what a phrase for a perfectionist to learn?! But I was at the point where I wanted someone to take over. I was too tired to keep fighting it. As I got better and better though, I learned its the hardest of all the lessons. I still struggle with it sometimes.... ok A LOT of times. :) But when I do struggle, every time it gets a little easier to let go. Now, I might worry a second, and then I let it go. I never was like that before, and I'm sure you will find that out, if you keep reading. But this is the first post, and I don't want to give it all away on the first day, so you will have to hang in there for the rest. I can say this though, If you can learn one thing from me, it will be that you have to learn to get out of God's way and let Him do HIS WILL, HIS WAY, IN HIS TIMING. Its really that simple.

Until next time, Love Never Fails, God is the only way, and it will be ok, I promise!