All About How You Rock

You rock - Allume

Let’s do something fun today. Let’s celebrate our gifts and talents and what makes us unique as bloggers.

We tend to beat ourselves up for what we don’t do right, don’t accomplish and haven’t  yet achieved.  Sometimes we beat ourselves up so much that we are paralyzed with fear to even take a step. I’m guilty of this very thing.

I have far more things on my to-do list for my blogging than I have actually achieved.  I have unwritten ebooks in my head and widgets to install and posts left half written in my drafts. But today, as I was thinking on these things and starting to get a little depressed, I was reminded that I need to take my thoughts captive.  God knows my limitations and most of these ideals are my own and not pressure that He puts on me.

Let’s allow ourselves to think today about how far we’ve come and what we have learned and achieved.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Let’s praise God for how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. For our uniqueness and the way He weaves our stories together for His glory.

Because the truth is that YOU ROCK! There is no one else exactly like you. No one else has lived your life, walked in your shoes and has truth to tell in the same way that you do.

Your blog? It’s awesome! It’s a reflection of you and that is beautiful. Even if you have things to polish up, look for the beauty where it is right now.  It’s a process and I guarantee you that being grateful for where you are at each step of the way will get you farther than beating yourself up ever did.

Speak kind words to yourself today.  Go ahead.  Tell us something absolutely amazing about you and your blog today!  We can’t wait to hear and celebrate with you!

Kristin

Kristin Lemus is married to her best friend and "momma" to 7 kids. She has 5 girls and 2 boys (one in heaven). She is passionate about encouraging moms that they are good at what they do and helping them to walk in truth. She's been saved by grace, is madly in love with her Savior and wants everyone to know the amazing freedom He brings. Kristin shares her heart and her stories at The Beautiful Deep.

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When Someone has Lost a Child Some Things to Do … or Not Do

Grief Quote - CS Lewis

 

Twenty-two years ago today, I buried my daughter, Amy. Amy had a genetic disorder and lived 4 days. She was born on June 9, 1992, died on the 12th buried on the 16th grave. She is buried in another state and I will not be able to visit her. She isn’t there and I know that, but I still wish I were there to put flowers on her grave. To brush the dirt and grass off of her headstone. To sit quietly for a few minutes in the cemetery with the birds singing and a maybe a lawnmower running in the background.

As I reflect on that time 22 years ago, I know that the experience of losing a child played a large part in making me the person I am today. It was also the hardest thing I have ever endured. Yet, I learned much about myself and others during that time.

One of the things I learned was what is helpful and what is not during a situation such as this. I want to share some things TO do and say or NOT to do and say when ministering to someone who has lost a child.

A disclaimer: I do not profess to know other parent’s feelings. I am only sharing what I know from my own experience; what I have learned from talking with other parents who have lost children – children of various ages, infant to young adults.

  1. DO tell them you are sorry for their loss and you are praying for them and their family.
  2. DO take a meal. We had so much food brought to our home that family members packaged it up and put it in the freezer. After things calmed down and all the out of town family left, it was weeks before we had to cook. We could just pull a meal from the freezer. One less thing to worry about in the days and weeks after she died.
  3. DO be specific when offering to help. Instead of saying, “call me if you need anything.” Say “I’ll come by on Tuesday and clean your bathrooms. Or is there another day that is better?” or “I’ll be by on Monday to cut your grass.” It is rare for people to call and ASK someone to clean their bathroom, but it is even rarer for those grieving to turn down an offer such as this!
  4. DO say the name of the child. Days, weeks and months down the road parents want to know that other people have not forgotten their child. I have a sister-in-law whose birthday is near Amy’s. She usually remembers to send me a text, e-mail or phone call letting me know she remembers.
  5. DO send a card or hand written note. Your note doesn’t have to be fancy, long or eloquently written. Just a note letting the family know you care. I was shocked at the number of sympathy cards we received when Amy died. I went back and read every single card multiple times. Currently, they are bound together and in my closet. They are precious. You may think sending a card is not a big deal. It is. And better yet, send the card or note a week or two or even three weeks after the burial. By that time, out of town family has returned home, the parents may have gone back to work and for those on the outside, things look normal. But, I assure you, in most cases, normal has taken on a new image and receiving a card and knowing someone remembers is comforting.
  6. DO offer to babysit, if appropriate. The parents may be overwhelmed with all the details and having someone help with the other children will, most likely, be well received.
  7. DO remember the grandparents. Not only are the grandparents grieving the loss of a grandchild, they are grieving for their children and the pain they (their grown children) are experiencing.
  8. DO remember the siblings. Two years after Amy died, my oldest brother’s son died and two years later his only daughter died, leaving two young children and leaving my brother with only one son, at that time a young adult in his mid-twenties. A few years after Kathy’s death, my brother’s  only living child got married. It was a joyous occasion. The young lady the son married was the only person that had sent my nephew a sympathy card. The only person to acknowledge HIS grief.
  9. If the child is an infant or young child, do NOT tell the parents they can have another one. The child is not a pair of sunglasses or a vase. One does  not just “replace” a child. Even though Amy only lived 4 days, I carried her for 9 months. I HAVE memories and I HAD dreams. Dreams that died with her. Dreams that slowly slipped away the afternoon she died in my arms.
  10. Do NOT tell the parents they are lucky their child died young. Yes, I had someone tell me this when Amy died. I was lucky that she died young and I hadn’t had time to get attached. Please see number 9 above. I assure you, when you bury your child there is no feeling of good luck involved.
  11. Do NOT tell them that it was part of God’s plan. While I knew that to be true, it was not comforting to me at the time. It took months, a couple of years even, for me to embrace that truth. Parents in the early stages of grief are not ready to hear this. It is Ok to say “we don’t understand God’s ways” or simply, “we don’t understand.”

In closing, one of the things I found to be very helpful for me while I processed my grief and walked that long road with ever-changing landscape was listening to Christian music. There are many songs that are fitting, here is just one: God and Time by Newsong

Have you lost a child or someone close to you? How did you process the loss and deal with your grief?

Mary

Mary is a Midwestern girl transplanted to the northeast with an almost empty nest. Her heart is to encourage and minister to women however the Lord leads and tries to honor the Lord by taking care of her body through proper eating and exercise. She writes of faith, family, healthy living and her journey through life at http://www.marybonner.net/ You can find her on twitter @TheMaryBonner

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For Whose Glory?

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I haven’t sat down to write in weeks. Haven’t opened up my blog, or a word document, or a Facebook post. Nothing.

I’m a writer, who isn’t writing.

But with good reason.

This is a difficult post for me to write, difficult because my pride screams at me to not write it. Don’t admit this! Keep it to yourself. It’s that pride, though, that is the root of the problem. The root of a lot of my problems, if I’m honest.

When I started blogging, like many of you, it was just for my family. Then, it morphed into something else. A hobby. A business. A brand.

A calling. A way to use my gifts to serve the Lord, and to encourage other women.

And as I pursued that calling, and ran hard after the purpose I thought God had for me, my blog grew, and my little community became a bigger community. My pageviews went up, and the number of Facebook fans and email subscribers grew and grew. I wrote eBooks, and gathered launch teams, and people started asking ME blogging questions, like I knew what I was doing.

So, I started to think that I did. I let the accolades of others fill my soul and speak to my worth. I loved the recognition, however small, and craved more. And I slowly took the reigns of my writing career away from God, and placed them firmly in my own hands.

Not consciously, of course, but I did it. Instead of praising God over the growth of a ministry, I stressed over the numbers that still weren’t “enough”. I slowly stopped writing what was on my heart, and started writing what I thought people wanted to hear, what I thought might have a shot at going viral. I lost sleep over implementing social media plans, I read books on how to make money blogging, and I lived stressed. All the time, stressed. Always one more thing to do, one more post to schedule, one more status to write.

The truth hit me after one particularly stressful week, and it hit hard. What started as an overflow of my life in Christ, was now sucking me dry and leading me away from the Lord. I was no longer working for Him; I was working for myself.

That’s the part that is hardest to admit. Somewhere down the line, I’d stopped writing for God’s glory, and started writing for my own. I wanted the numbers, the name, the notoriety. I wanted to stand out, to feel like all of my work was worth something. I wanted to feel like I was worth something.

I’m reading Kristen Welch’s book, Rhinestone Jesus (which is amazing, by the way), and she talks about this idea a little bit.

“Our desire to touch others must come from the transforming power of Christ within. Our ultimate goal should be to make His  glory known. There are a lot of do-gooders in the world. A few are misguided people looking for significance. We cannot offer eternal change on our own. It is found in discovering God’s purpose for our lives, whether big or small, and allowing Him to use us in a way that brings recognition to His name, not our own.

Misguided people looking for significance. That’s been me. I don’t think it coincidental that as soon as I took the reigns into my own hands, my blog essentially stopped growing. That no matter what I did on my own, I couldn’t get those numbers to go up and stay up.

Writing had become an idol for me, something that gave me a false sense of value. I had elevated the call of writing above all else, including my relationship with the Lord and with my family – my first callings! I’d stay up late, neglect my home, order out for dinner again, snap at a child, and turn on another episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – all for the sake of one more shared blog post. One more comment. One more accolade.

I heard, not for the first time, God ask me to lay it all down. Truth be told, He’d been leading me that way for the past year, but I had a list of excuses that I threw up every time I felt the nudge. This time, though, I obeyed. I stopped writing altogether.

It’s not been easy. It might sound extreme, but it’s been a bit like rehab. Life rehab. I have to fight the urge to classify every event in my life as “bloggable” or “not bloggable”. I took Facebook and Twitter off my phone. I moved my computer out of the kitchen and playroom and into the office (where I rarely go).

I’m relearning how to live, right here, in this life I’ve been given – being present for the moments that are right in front of me, not just the ones I feel are worth writing about tomorrow.. I’m relearning how it feels to start my day in the Word instead of on my computer. I’m relearning how to spend face to face time with my kids, giving them my full attention instead living distracted.

I’m remembering where my worth truly comes from, and how worthy is the One who gives it to me.

I want to want to write for His glory again, not my own, one day. But I still find myself caught up in the pursuit of glory for myself, when the urge to write strikes. So, for now, I’m quiet. For now, I will listen instead of speak, and follow where He leads, whether that’s to the playroom, the laundry room, the mission field, or, eventually, back to my keyboard.

Because nothing else, no striving or stressing, no hard work or carefully laid plan, brings the peace and joy that self-centered glory falsely promises. Instead, when I serve as He calls me to, I am humbled, and He is glorified.

As it should be.

 

Do you struggle with pride in your work, whether it’s writing, or speaking, or mothering? How do you handle that?

Kayse

Kayse is a teacher turned stay-at-home-mom, and is married to her favorite musician. She is addicted to books, baked goods, date nights, and car dancing, and she firmly believes that real is the only way to be. Kayse is the author of Getting It Together: Your Guide to Setting Up A Home Management System That Works, and writes about faith, family, and real life on her blog, kaysepratt.com.

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