Legacy: kindness?

Something heavy on my heart are the power of words. With my job, too often I see kids walk through our doors beat up from the words and actions of adults in their life. Kids come in with heads hung low or hiding deep wounds made by someone’s tongue.

Choose your words wisely. Your words can either help someone or hinder them. The same can be said about yourself.

The words one hears; the words spoken over someone, to someone, and about someone all become a part of the individual who is being spoken to. If these words are damaging, unfortunately it becomes a part of them.

Parents and family members, if you are trash talking another person that is related to your children, keep in mind that you are hurting your children. Your temporary pleasure of acting out in anger is not worth the abuse on your children’s heart and soul.

Be kind.

Speak kindly.

Choose to love. Stop the words of hate from exiting your mouth.

Be better.

Do better.

You were made to live in a way that helps and blesses others, especially your children, who are here to carry the legacy you leave behind.

What will your legacy be?

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The Step Or Bonus

You are important.

You matter.

As a Stepmom Mother’s day is a strange day. It is filled with tension and love. By Monday I feel like I can take a deep breath and finally relax after Sunday is complete.

If you are a fellow Stepmom you know that some may acknowledge your role while others will not. Some of you desperately need and want to be accepted if it is a simple, “Thank you”.

This year Mother’s day is difficult for other reasons for me. Some reasons I will not share in this post but will reserve for another time.

I do not need a day like Mother’s day. I am blessed knowing that I am important and valued by those that matter most to me. I am often celebrated multiple times a year. I am blessed!

But the day does lead to other struggles and I would be happy to skip the day all together.

It will be the 3rd year without my Mom here. Even though the Lord has removed the deep grief I used to live with, the day is filled with a twinge of sadness. I am so blessed to have others in my life who love me like a daughter and I know that my Mom would be happy for these beautiful ones who cherish me so.

The day also brings an awkwardness as my daughter struggles. My desire is for her to love and cherish her Mom. As she grapples and struggles through her situation it is difficult to see her be put into situations that she never should have to be put in. She is a model of bravery and courage as she battles to love everyone even at the expense of her heart from one side.

Finally as Mother’s day approaches I grieve my baby. I should have been 30 weeks pregnant.

It was going to be a celebration of this beautiful miracle. Life should have been moving and growing within me as my family of 3 anticipated the arrival of number 4 this summer.

Despite the struggles I have new hope, and have found joy in letting go. I look forward to what is to come this year. In fact, the more I spend time allowing Jesus to heal my mind, body & soul, the more I laugh at what the enemy has attempted to destroy. It is payback year and the dues must be paid. Justice and victory are coming.

For those of you struggling with similar things I encourage you to know that God hears every hearts cry. He sees every tear that falls. He is for you and your family whether you are acknowledged for loving and caring for your kids or not. Whether you are a Foster Mom, Stepmom (bonus Mom), Adoptive Mom, or Grandma who has taken on the role of Mom- you are seen, known, and valued. Your kids need you. The enemy will try to tell you otherwise and others will jump on that bandwagon but it will never change the truth.

You are important.

You are valued.

You matter.

Keep loving no matter who tries to stop you.

No Grey

Black or white. Truth or lies. There is no grey area regarding our words.

Have you ever been nervous to be in someone’s presence who you knew had been told awful lies about you?

This alone can make one feel instantly unsafe.

It is horrible when slanderous words are used to steal your true identity or the identity of ones you love. Gossip and slander can steal the opportunity away for a genuine connection with others. Relationships, and entire family units can be torn apart just by one person sowing lies about individuals character and life. It is sad. It breaks hearts.

Until repentance occurs and time reveals that the lies have stopped, things will never be remotely similar to what they once were. With children the lies they may believe could take a lifetime to work through.

What we say is very powerful. Death and life is in the tongue. We either uplift or tear down. There is no grey area.

Choose your words wisely.

Choose love.

Choose truth.

Do It Again

2018 is on the horizon and I have many things on my mind. I have spent 2017 forgiving many, loving fiercely and surrendering my soul to my mighty God. There are many questions I have and many prayers I’m waiting for the Lord to answer. 

He has done great things for my heart, my soul & for my family. He has delivered me from pain & healed my body. He has set me free.

My biggest question going into 2018 is, “Will you do it again?” 

Every day for the past week and a half I have asked God this question. I have wept and I have spent hours into the night interceding for my family. There is so much on my heart that I cannot give up hope believing will happen. 

I have spent my time watching the boxing scene in Rocky where he did not win that battle but he put up one good fight & remained standing. This is 2017. 

2018 will be the year I see God do it again. I will go back in that boxing ring and win! It will be my year full of laughter & joy. 

I have listened to this song every day for the past week and a half. It has been my anthem. God is good. He is faithful. ⬇

“Do It Again” Elevation Worship

Speechless 

Is there a word that better describes grateful, thankful, or blessed? Joy? 

The past month has renewed hope within me for the impossible. I cannot describe it. I could not tell you when it happened. One day I woke up & all of a sudden what seemed impossible no longer looked or felt impossible. Childlike faith & joy was  restored. It was not like I lost it but the pain that God delivered me from has now enabled joy to invade every part that was ever damaged.

Words are not adequate. Giving my life will never convey how grateful I am for all that God has done for me and my family. 

Just this past week alone I have found myself wanting to shout praises to God! Simple things like being greeted from our cat at home have made me say “thank you”. Or the time she fell out of our window this past week & bounced off the side table onto the floor because she fell asleep there (she didn’t get hurt and I laughed a lot). 

What really gets me is when I see my daughter smile at me & tell me unsolicited, “I really love you Kara”. I love hugs from my husband & waking up knowing he is excited that I’m the first person he sees. 

I am grateful for voxers & phone calls with friends who have lasted the test of time & distance. I love that others have adopted me & love me without an expectation of what my response may be. Love has literally consumed my heart that it often feels as if it will burst.

Grateful? Thankful? Those words do not cut it. Those words merely express a tiny piece of what is in my soul. 

I am living in freedom! 

Joy is life.

Now I know what it means to laugh my way through trials. Do you want to know why?

Because my God is going to do the impossible! There is no way the enemy can win.

The Not So Evil Stepmom

Do you ever wonder if your love is breaking through to your stepkids?

Are you in a situation where the other parent is not easy to work with? Is life often like a rollercoaster due to the parental alienation tactics that brainwash each child that you love?

Do not give up. Do not stop loving your kids. 

Through the years my husband and I have learned some simple things that have helped our daughter have a “place of her own”. What is unique about her is that she has three homes rather than just one or two. It has been crucial to try to find something for her that is stable, safe & her own “home”. I will share a few tricks we have learned & maybe it will help someone get creative for their current situation.

Our kids deserve stability, safety & love. Stepmom, if you are not doing your part to help then you are joining the “problem”. Do not allow the stereotypical label of “Stepmom” or the vile actions from the other side validate your wrong reactions. Respond instead in love & extend mercy.

I strongly believe that my role as a Stepmom is to help facilitate the best relationship that my daughter can have with her Dad. On a similar note I believe I am to encourage all parental roles (in our case it would be bio-mom & grandma/grandpa) to work together for the good of our daughter. This means no trash talking anyone, and never ever taking out your frustration on your child or spouse from the unfair, illegal actions being done from the other side. At the end of the day if it feels you have bitten off your tongue you’ve done well (so pat yourself on the back… Yay).

I’ve also learned that there are appropriate times & ways to speak truth in love. For example, if a child has been misbehaving and the other side keeps making statements about how bad their child is, insinuating it is your husbands fault, I believe it is okay to say how good of a kid and Daddy they are. A child may misbehave but that does not make them bad nor does it necessarily mean one parent is to blame.

Create special traditions that are not dictated by specific dates. This year we do not get our daughter for Thanksgiving & it also lands on our weekend, which BM will not allow to be made up. So we plan our own Thanksgiving & stick to our traditional meal that is special to us. The times you share should not be dictated by having special dates on the actual day. It can always be done differently and creatively. This is a fact you’ll have to get used to. Greive it as you need to but do not get hung up on it. 

Give your child something that can be shared amongst all households. This will be the equivalent of “home” for your child. This could be a backpack, a stuffed animal or a small bag with items. Whatever it is this will be & can be the one stable thing that they can carry back & forth that will not change for them. You will find this provides a “safety” feature that often is not felt in each home. 

Never give up. Never give in. Keep loving. Keep hoping. Keep showing up and following through. 

Your impact is great. 

Punch the Darkness: Love Mercy

Mercy.

My amazing husband and I were talking the other day about mercy after reading Micah 7. This followed a conversation I had with a good friend the night prior about how I was living in His mercy every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). It is an amazing truth!

It is hard to see heart-wrenching things happening all around us. I have asked, as have many of you, why God hasn’t done something sooner to help a situation or specific person. 

As I was processing out loud with my hubs I said things like, “I know God doesn’t like it when people hurt his kids. I know he is for our daughter but I don’t understand why he hasn’t switched things around more?”

His response was wise and it hit me in my gut, “He is extending mercy to her Mom. It took me 30 years to finally give my life to him and he extended me mercy over and over again. Why wouldn’t he do the same for her?” (I am so blessed by him!) 🙂

Finally it made sense. I need to extend mercy more. My Mama bear heart can contend for justice but it also can extend mercy to someone who is really in need. I can speak truth in love and still extend mercy. When it is hardest to love mercy (Micah 6:8) get on your knees & pray.

I need mercy. You need mercy. My enemies need mercy.

God is a good God. He is faithful. He waits for each of us because he loves us so much.

 You are worth it (even my enemies).

Working For It!

I have to be honest for a moment. There are so many things that I want to write about but I am hesitant to because there are some things better kept quiet for this season. Eventually there will be a time when I can write about all sorts of triumphs & victories after mighty battles. If you sense that I am being vague, it is to honor certain people I hold dear as well as protect those that are innocent. Our words can cause so much pain even if the truth is being told. I want to write words that speak life, and encourage readers in times of great struggles yet address great difficulties at the right time.

In church today I realized how much my mind is changing. Getting rid of toxic thoughts and surrounding myself with non-toxic people have led me to a place of such joy & freedom. I still have a lot of work to do but I can honestly say that I have noticed a change in my life. Praise is on my lips even amidst trials. Truth is in the front of my mind rather than lies. Because I know whose I am and He is good & mighty & powerfully loving, not wanting any sin to taint me, or someone to mess with me, I am able to rest. No matter what happens I rest without fear of tomorrow.

Life can be hard but my joy does not depend on my circumstances. My joy comes from the One that never changes. He is always faithful, is always good & never gives up on me. He is my constant one. He is the only one I need to look to for my worth. He is always there when I am alone. He understands every tear & speaks life into my identity so that I can slay the enemy once my feet hit the ground every morning. 

Grace is extended during imperfect moments when my emotions are on overload & pain is expressed outwardly. Every time I invite him into the mess, healing occurs.  A new level of confidence grows and new levels of joy flood my soul after failure or heartache is turned to victory.

Surrender and healing is worth the hard work. Just like others work hard for that hot body, I am working on my soul. 

Enemy Slaying & Justice

Several weeks ago a certain part of my life was met with some serious confrontation. It began with the injustices over certain things happening with my daughter. I remember dropping her off after having a full two weeks together. When we made it home I cried myself to sleep. I love my girl so much & the battle she endures tears my heart up inside.

The following weeks I began praying differently. I was filled with boldness & confidence knowing God wants justice. And all of a sudden it hit me. I didn’t believe God wanted justice for me. This realization hit me so hard that it almost felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I grieved the fact that for the majority of my life I did not know my worth. For years I allowed people to treat me awful, always with the thought that it was my fault. I figured that since they said I was to blame that it must be true.

Be careful who you listen to. Be careful the ones you allow to sow things into your soul. 

It can be hard when those in your life that are supposed to love & care for your heart fail miserably. When it comes down to who matters, Gods opinion of you is the only one that will have eternal impact. 

Several days ago I was able to have a pep talk with my daughter. I told her that just because important people in her life place conditions on their love for her & treat her awful does not & will never decrease her value. Her value only increases. She is priceless. Because of Jesus she is able to know that her value is not & will never be dependent on other people loving her back the way she needs them to in return. God has her back. With God she gets better with time just like fine wine & in that case her value increases everyday no matter who neglects or abuses her.

The day I shared this with her was also a reminder of the enemy slaying I had just done the weeks before.

Therefore, this summer has been an epic one, slaying the enemy left & right! 

Justice. 

Justice for my daughter.

Justice for my husband.

Justice for me (I finally believe it)!

Reign in My Heart

Love wins!

I felt compelled to declare this truth today. We have been walking our daughter through some difficult things. Her sweet heart has been holding onto guilt for things completely out of her control. 

The more that lies are said and hurtful things are done I can see how pointless it all is. Do you want to know why?

Because love wins. 

As long as I choose Jesus, forgiveness & love, nothing can compare to Him. I have started saying, “I forgive you” out loud because I want love to reign in my heart. Ever since I have started to do this I have literally seen a shift occur. Truth surfaces & a confidence in Jesus & who I am deepens. 

Dear ones, when life hurts due to the actions & words of others choose love. 

Love wins!

Romans 8:31-39