I felt this deep pit in my stomach as a young mama of four kids. The laundry was piled on the floor; the dishes were piling up. The never ending amount of diapers to change. My to-do list and life’s mundane offerings seemed to be always in charge of my trajectory of the day.Continue reading
If you haven’t seen Jim Gaffigan’s comedy sketch on parenting back in the day, please do yourself a favor and watch it now. It will make you laugh. At least I hope so.
There is a line he says with his Jim Gaffigan way, “People ask me all the time, “What’s it like having four kids? Well, imagine drowning and someone hands you a baby.” Joshua and I laughed so hard when we first watched this skit- we were in the deep waters of having all our sweet babes so young.
Kristin- what does this have to do with boundaries? Great question. My mind is like an endless web of intersecting connecting points…I’ll get there.
As Joshua and I were preparing for our “Boundaries” podcast for this week’s Wholistic Hearts show, I remembered a time as a young mom when my boundaries became known very clearly.
Let’s take a step back in time…
I walk into the church nursery to drop off my four little children on this Sunday morning. My eye on the prize- 45 minutes of uninterrupted time of listening to the week’s message. I sign each of my twin babies whom were 1ish, check to make sure I had all the things the nursery helpers could ever possibly need in the 45 minutes- even though I was in the other room. I say goodbye and headed to door number two to drop off toddler, he starts crying and clings to our legs. I leave my husband to help ease the separation anxiety because it is just better that way. I walk away to take child #4 to her big girl class right across the hallway and say goodbye. Deep breath- in and out. I return back to toddler’s room and he is slightly better. But it is now a drawn out process of bribes and desperation. I wonder if we will make it to the service before worship ends. Then, a sweet woman approaches me with her name badge on and asks how I am doing. I give a half hearted and exhausted, “ok.” She tells me how they are really low on volunteers and need more people to help sign up. Instantly, BIG FAT tears fill my eyes as I could feel my soul dripping out the last of the empty well of giving. I just want one day of the week to have 45 minutes to myself.
Back to Jim Gaffigan Joke
“Imagine your drowning, and someone hands you a baby.” That’s what it felt like. In that specific moment of way back when, I was absolutely drowning in diapers, in little to no sleep through nights on end. And then I was asked to help on a Sunday morning doing the same thing I did all week long multiplied by however many kids were in the classroom.
Disclaimer: I LOVE MY CHILDREN. I LOVE OTHER PEOPLE CHILDREN. I LOOOOOOOVE and appreciate all the amazing nursery helpers, toddler wranglers, and children’s teachers/helpers/volunteers.
AND, if loving on that age while you are a young mama is your jam- my hat is tipped to you, and God bless you. However, it was not what I could give at the time.
AND PLEASE, for the love (in my Jen Hatmaker voice) don’t ask young mamas’ to volunteer in the nursery. I promise, they will approach you if they feel the fire in their belly to volunteer.
AND all you grandmas’ out there- THE CHURCH NURSERY IS THE BEST PLACE TO VOLUNTEER!!! Give your amazing experience in the nursery, in the elementary age, in the middle school, in high school- WE WANT YOUR WISDOM!!!
Ok…now I have said my peace…
As a young mama, know your boundaries. Let your “yes” be your full cheerful wholehearted “yes.” And the word “no” is not a dirty word. And “no” is a complete sentence.
“Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving- all because God loves hilarious generosity.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 TPT
I give you permission to relax. Your season will come to volunteer, to deliver the meal, to say yes to the committee. Your heart is doing hard work- it’s fully loving the bundles of babies in front of you or guiding along the toddler or holding down the job and making sure you are connecting with your children. Set your boundaries. All will be thankful. Bless you Mamas. And Papas.
To listen more about boundaries, listen to our podcast.
My words bring Life or it brings death to our children’s hearts. What we speak over them is the heartbeat of who they are. No matter how old we are, we have an innate longing for approval, affirmation, and sense of belonging from our parents.Continue reading
Each week I observed and was ignited by their gigantic faith. I observed how they feel the weight of the world just as we do. I observed the cry of their hearts longing to be seen, known, and a part of something bigger than themselves. They embraced one another. They put down their phones and picked up the wonder of encountering Jesus in an imaginative, real way.
Over and over again, Jesus explains in Luke 15 how the Father goes after the ones who are lost, who have lost their way. God is the Father who cheers for His kids to come back home.Continue reading
Sometimes when my heart is in a hardened or closed off space, worship will hit underneath the fragile walls and help them to tumble down.Continue reading
The Relentless Love of the Father- Part One
Over the last few weeks on Wholistic Hearts podcast we have been talking about the Wild Mystery and Comforter of the Holy Spirit, Jesus- the Bearded Man who is arresting us with His presence, and now the Father.
Who is the Father?
It’s nearly inevitable we grow up with a view of who the Heavenly Father is without viewing Him with a lens of our own. Some of us had loving, caring fathers and some of us had absent fathers. No matter the circumstance we grew up in, our view may be clouded with our own experience of a father…good or bad.
For me, even though my dad was a great dad, I still have struggled to picture The Father. At the beginning of my relationship with God, I saw Him as distant and unapproachable: a pointing a finger type God who was disappointed.
In the beginning stages of visualizing the Father and Jesus, I was standing behind people in a crowd. I did not feel I could approach Him. Then as some of you know in an Encounter He gave me, I pictured Him sitting at a fireplace. He was sitting in a chair facing the fire. And I walked in the room walking steadily behind him. The beauty of this, which has just surfaced as I have been talking about the Father this week with family and friends is His kindness in letting me approach.
Another picture He gave me is a scene where I have met a new dog and I kneel down and stretch my hand out non intimidating and allow the dog to approach me. This is how the Father waits for us.
In addition, my mom reminded me the other day that even Jesus confirms the Father’s gentleness by sharing this Truth, “Come to me all who are weary…” Notice He says, COME.
The heart of the Father is approachable. He is patient. And He waits in a cloud of tenderness.
God has met me in so many areas of doubt, mistrust, and timidity. He continues to softened my heart through using my imagination.
I have seen more of the capital T Truth- which is this…
He is a Proud Father.
He is Steady.
He is kind.
Last Saturday, a handful of my family- my mom, my oldest brother and two of his sons, drove from Georgia for an adventure to Colorado- in our home. We greeted them with excitement and anticipation to show them around our beautiful glorious state of Colorado over the next week. After months of being quarantined and only being around the same few people, we all embraced each other with gratitude and relief. Starting off the adventure with a good ol’ backyard fire pit and talks.
The following day we ventured over to the stunning Red Rock Canyon for a family hike.
Exploring the red rocks and walking our feet through red dirt will never grow tiring for us Coloradans or visitors alike. As I hiked the trails, I remembered a time when he lived in Colorado and I lived in Florida. He asked me to come out for the summer to experience Colorado. I came out for the summer, as a 20 year old, timid with worries of being far from home and yet excited to do something outside of my normal comfort zone. That summer changed me. I realized I was an adventurer. I realized I loved hiking and the mountains. I realized I could ask questions and almost tangibly hear the heart of God. The deep conversations my brother and I would have through Colorado trails would center around God and adventure. I’d ask questions and he would answer in a way which would usually make me long to know God more. So here we are, full circle- I am guiding him through the wild trails of Colorado where he once introduced the wildness of Colorado and the beckoning of God calling me out to adventure.
We may not have been able to do some of the family trips we had planned for this summer, but this made up for it. Having our family come out and visit and share giggles and experiences and exploration was a deeply needed treasure.
Now if I could just get the rest of my family to come out to Colorado…
I’m gonna say it.
I think my testimony will be called, “You can’t make this shit up.”
I know, that’s offensive to some of you. It was to me, too. And that’s okay. But really…Holy Spirit is wild and so very liberating.
When I first started learning about the Holy Spirit, the wildest things were happening. I had driven up to a retreat (WE REVEL) where I witnessed healing happen left and right: healing of hearts and healing of physical ailments, which totally blew my mind that this was real. I was witnessing women of faith stop and listen and then speak things to people so specifically to people to encourage them. I watched people give gifts to other people they had never met and witness their reaction to receiving such a personalized handwritten note.
Then… this was where it got personal for me. I was listening to one of the speakers at the retreat as I sat on their living room floor. I instantly found my ears perked up as she said, “Become aware of the things which you can’t stand. Sometimes the enemy will put his thumb on something that he knows is actually a provision from God to prevent you from fully walking in your destiny.”
My first thought was a peacock. I hated peacocks; I truly found them annoying. We have a local zoo which they roam freely in and squawk and display their feathers in a “look at me” fashion. Each time we visited and saw them my gut reaction was, “They are so vain.” Well, at the retreat, I wrote down in my journal- “Oh! Like the peacock!” Later on that day, I was sitting down to decorate my journal I had received with different varieties of scrapbook paper, and I noticed a giant piece of paper with a peacock. I thought to myself, “Huh. That’s funny,” and stuck it in my journal. Again, we gathered up to hear a speaker and she handed out a prayer which printed on the paper was…a peacock. Now my eyes became more attune to what the Holy Spirit was saying. My faith was beginning to build. I had hoped He would speak to me, but I was so cautious. I didn’t want to get burned and feel silly and humiliated by even thinking He was directly talking to me.
Fast forward to the evening at the retreat where we talk about the Holy Spirit. They were handing out scarves as a gift- which is powerfully significant- (you should really go to a REVEL retreat)…The leader stops and says, “I feel like Holy Spirit has another scarf for someone that is different than this one I am handing out.” Another woman attending stands up immediately and says, “I have one I am supposed to give away. Hold on, it’s in my suitcase.” She runs to her luggage and comes bounding back in the room with joy and describes how she packed and unpacked the scarf multiple times and finally put it in her suitcase. It was a peacock scarf! I stood up, shaking…and said “Oh it’s definitely mine!” I was stunned. I was hopeful. I was instantly like a little child in wonder.
I arrived at the retreat with the burning question, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” And through using nudges and words which might have been insignificant to others started a path of asking more of who is He and who am I? The next day I wrote down for the first time- I am His Peacock, displaying the colors He has created me to be. I stepped into a place I’d never gone. I started to see how I had hid my beauty, covered up, and been ashamed of my feminity. The enemy no longer had the tightest grip on who I am called to be. It was now a time of discovery and relationship and intimacy of asking questions with the Holy Spirit.
He is so full of wonder and mystery. He is infinite. He is intentionally with me. He is whispering to the deep places of my heart and yours.
The Peacock Scarf and Journal
Nine years ago, I was in so much physical torment. My feet felt like fire ants were stuck inside the bottom of my foot. My skin raw and blistering from the uncontrollable itching. Sleep was not an option with this intense rash on my feet which lasted for 5-7 days for years upon years. Questions played through my mind like a scroll that never ended. Why did it have to come every 21 days? Why could no one answer what was happening to my body? Why doesn't medicine help? I went to doctors desperate for answers and each one giving me the look like, “Hmm…I don't know what it is.” Referral after referral I got no where. I felt at the end of my rope over and over. Each month being hopeful that something would help- prayer, essential oils, supplements, medicine, etc.
But each month I felt like I was slapped in the face. After seven years of torment, I had a major epiphany. My husband sat next to me while I cried in frustration and said this pivotal annoying profound question, “Babe, what if it doesn't go away?” I felt like an instant pouting child. I so wanted it to heal. I wanted healing desperately. I wanted breakthrough. I hated how my body was acting. There was a legit anger at my body for creating this rash every month. But something within me started to shift as I pondered this question. I started saying, “Even if the rash comes back, my body is still a temple. God gives me strength to be okay. I can still be a mom who loves her kids well. I can still show up.”
In the ugly moments of insomnia and racing mind, I began to see Jesus in the midst. I do not believe He caused this situation but I do believe He has taught me more than I could have without the rash.
Fast forward a few years past the conversation with my hubby, and the rash still continues though it seems it is fading. I have worked with my functional lifestyle coach for many years to discover the beauty of my relationship with my body. I am learning to love the parts of my body which speak very loudly especially when it comes to the rash. I am learning to trust what it is saying instead of fight against it.
Our body is telling us a story, and it is our job to listen. Sooner or later if we ignore it long enough, it will yell instead of whisper. Our body is a tool to listen. God uses the most amazing ways to speak with us. Through this thought process, I have spent multiple hours praying and asking what the feet represent. He answers. In your body, what is it saying? What is the Lord saying through your heavenly temple? Develop a relationship with your body which is based on love and not hatred. As I emerge from years of this place of hatred to a place of love, I continue to find freedom from pain, self-judgement, and walk more into who He has created me to be.
Do you need help guiding you through these conversations? I'd love to come alongside and coach you through. Contact me here.
Recommended Follow Up Books
- The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van der Kolk MD
- It Didn't Start With You by Mark Wolynn
- What Your Body Knows About God by Rob Moll
- Embracing the Body by Tara Owens
(If you love the idea of reading further, would you consider using my above links? I am an Amazon Affiliate and this helps me keep doing what I am doing…thanks friend!)