[ Loop Devotional for Women]

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You Have a Helper

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).

My daughter, there are things you know are true—things you can’t see, things you can’t touch. You read my words in pages held together, all stacked, one by one. You read the stories of my presence in my children’s lives. You read about my promises. You see the words upon the page, listen to the sound of them expressed aloud. But what do they mean to you? Am I a God you see around you? Do you breathe Me in, this day?

You hear my name in sermons, read about Me in books. You hear my name tossed around on the lips of believers and unbelievers alike. A believer? A phrase so familiar. . .What is that? What does it mean to believe in something—in Me—as it requires so much faith?

I ask you to wait and trust Me. I tell you to not fear and look for where I am . . . Yes, even in the believing in something yet to be fully seen, you can still see Me. You can still feel Me. And I want to show you where.

There is a place, deep within you, that has eyes that see what is true. My Counselor, within you, the Holy Spirit, gives light, illuminating uncertainty, eradicating doubt, pushing forth understanding to what the world, on its own, can never understand.

This world is not meant to make sense, without the eyes and ears of my Counselor within you, guiding you to see and love and act in ways that do.

You see, it is up to you—my heart within you—to make sense in this misunderstood world. It is your task to see most clearly, from the place where my Counselor resides with you. It is your task to live, to act, from that place, from the understanding I give you about loving whom I say.

You have a Guide who knows Me and shows you the way to live. And it will not align with the ways of this world.

Listen deeply now. Pull in close to hear my whispers: Practice recognizing my voice so when you hear it, you can act. And do it with confidence, hearing Me and seeing me, even yet.

Someday there will be so much more to see, to hear, to understand. But you have enough now. I give you enough to know how to live and love now.

Trust Me.

Live that life now.

Carry Me into the world.

LOOP

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a step mom- on mother’s day.

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Apparently everyone is jumping on the Mother’s Day bandwagon right now, even though we’re more than a week out from it. I guess this is when I should write about it, too.

imagesMother’s day is a really, extremely sore spot for me. I’m not excited for it. I don’t have a wish list. I don’t look forward to any part of it. It hurts me. Mother’s day feels like a giant loss for me and there are no possible words for me to even explain this to you, without giving you miles and miles of explanations. So for short:

Mother’s day is a trying time for me. My own mother lives on the other side of the country and told us she was leaving only 10 days before she drove off. Her job didn’t call her there, she convinced them she needed to move. She took a pay cut, drove her own, personal car through the mountains, and increased her monthly bills tremendously. This was 6 years ago.moving-company-reviews-clipart

In these six years, my own mother, who I used to view as this immense source of strength and beauty in a way I couldn’t understand, this woman who had it all and had it all together- she has cracked. She is broken. and she is lost.

 

My own mother suffers from some manic depressive habits and probably schizophrenia, if not a multiple personality disorder. I can’t give you a real diagnosis because she won’t visit a doctor to receive any help. Through these debilitating mental disorders, she has lost the job that she chased after, 2300 miles away. She has lost her home, she has lost her car. and she’s lost a lot of dignity. While there isn’t much else to lose, she is very rapidly losing her children. It’s hard to even say that. I’m not going to go in to grave detail here because it’s far too extravagant to try to explain.

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I have felt, for 6 years, the way a young child with a parent who walked out of their life feels. Abandoned. A little worthless, since it was so simple to just leave. A lot forgotten. But I’m an adult and I was an adult when she left and I do still have contact with her. But it feels so strange. This is the first year I didn’t call my own mother on Easter. I just couldn’t.

As a step-mom, mother’s day is naturally strange. Two years ago, Mother’s day was only a few days before my Prince and i’s wedding day. So he had the kids make me Mother’s day cards. I got one that said “Happy Mother’s Day-ish” and “Thanks, StepMomma (with my real name inserted.) And it was cute the first time because they still didn’t really know what it meant to have a step mom or what was happening. I’m not sure they really realized I was moving in until I didn’t go home the first night we returned from our honeymoon.

The second Mother’s day, I directly asked them to not send me an “ish” card. That I’d rather have nothing than an “ish” card. Because in all honesty, that “Ish” hurt.. pretty bad. They couldn’t even call me their step mother. i was just Ish. My Prince had them buy me flowers and they picked some out for their mom, too. Snuck into her house and left them on her windowsill. Our church has a Mother’s Day thing every year, where sometimes the kids deliver the flowers to their moms or sometimes they call everyone up in front of the church to have flowers given to them, or sometimes an adult will pass them out while we watch a slideshow of memories of little babies in hospitals and moms kissing their babies cheeks.

I don’t want to stand there. I feel like an outcast. My kids don’t want to buy me flowers, they correct the servers at restaurants that say “Maybe Mom will…”. They can’t stand the idea of me as their mom or as a mother-like influence. And it really crushes me sometimes.

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Mother’s day hurts. And i know that for you, it might hurt in different ways. This year feels different and feels like my kids may actually like me better than they did last year, but i am still a little bit broken on Mother’s day, grieving the loss of my own mother. She’s still alive but she is very much not here. She doesn’t know the names of my kids and hardly knows what I do for a living.

For mother’s day this year, I don’t want a thing. i don’t need a thing. Except maybe a giant hug from my Prince and an “I love you anyway.”

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writehard

The Liebster Award!

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okay guys. I love this stuff. i love that you take 30 seconds to read my blog, let alone a few minutes to try to learn more about me ❤ i love it. thank you for the nomination Sissy Mack!!

Finding bloggers that have less than 200 followers is tough!

Mack’s Questions are as follows:

1.  What is your favorite thing about yourself? I really like that i’m not judgmental and that I think I try my hardest to see the entire situation before I figure out how to approach it.

2.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Germany ❤

3.  What is your favorite creative medium? Photography and painting. but i’m really bad at painting.

4.  What is your geeky secret? Geeky? I have no idea. I’m really crazy about office supplies.

5.  How would you describe your style? colorful and fun. clean and tidy.

6.  When did you start writing? ive always written and it’s always been a secret.

7.  Why did you start writing? i wanted to be famous like Anne Frank and have one of my diaries discovered, but because i ended up doing something really cool. (this is my geeky fact, i guess haha)

8.  What is your favorite dessert? I really love mint chocolate chip ice cream but i am lactose intolerant, so i guess… cookies?

9. Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? oh gosh it depends! i love it all.

10.  What was the last movie you watched? Logan. it was grusome.

11.  Which continent do you live on? North American continent!

 

***Eleven Random Facts About Me***

1.  Mustard is slowly becoming my favorite color.

2. I am overly addicted to the clothing line LuLaRoe

3. I don’t have a lot of close friends

4.  I’m a 26 year old grandma.

5. The craziest thing i’ve ever done is become a step mom.

6. I really want to raise goats.

7.  My husband and I are working our way to become DeBt FrEe!

8. House hunting is actually one of my favorite things to do

9.  I am obsessed with my dogs.

10. I really love reading, now that I’m no longer a student.

11.  Cleaning is therapy. Clean house = clean mind.

Now I get to nominate some of my favorite small blogs.  I love following each of you and just want you all to know that you inspire me.

1.  Redneck Lena

2. Newish Wife

3. Marajudah

4. Dorky Mom Doodles

5. Not From Your Average Joe

6. The Canadian’s Wife

7. The Opinionated Dad

8. Stepmom Warrior

9. Tilly The Blogger

10. Single Dads Are Cool

11. The StepMomster

 

Now it’s my turn to ask the questions!

1.  Dogs or cats?

2.  What’s your DREAM job, no strings attached?

3.  When did you start writing?

4.  What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

5.  What’s one thing you’d like to improve about yourself?

6.  What is your favorite movie?

7.  What’s the first vehicle you owned?

8.  Do you have any creative hobbies (aside from writing)?

9. Do you have any children?

10.  What’s the one thing you’d like to be known for?

11.  Where are you from?

New Years Check in-2

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Checking in and keeping you updated on my New Years Progress is a really great way to hold myself accountable. If I’d written my goals down just for myself, I probably would have already lost the paper and forgotten my goals. Yay technology! Here they are:

The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Fixing up House A
  3. Fixing up House B
  4. Making healthier food and life choices
  5. Saving more moolah
  6. Paying off all debt (excluding student loans, mortgages)
  7. Weekly Bible Studies with the kiddos
  8. Reading my entire bible all the way through
  9. Hosting a Bible study in our home
  10. Becoming a DBA and LLC for my personal business
  11. More family time
  12. Learning to cook one decent meal for the family
  13. Only wearing jeans one day/week…
  14. Read more.

in February’s Post you saw me do most of these things, the ones marked in yellow were already achieved or are things that are a work in progress. Decluttering, making healthy choices, saving money, pursuing my LLC (now that i’m a DBA), all things that are daily choices.

number 11 is something new, though. With 17 committing 6 nights/month to us, it’s really helped us to spend time together. The younger two are so happy to have a committed night with gbaby- i think this will be so good. now just to get 20 on a regular basis! I keep suggesting to PC that we ask 20 to come to ONE of the every other friday nights that 17 and gbaby are over, one night per month. all four kids and the g baby. it would be so nice.

I’ve successfully cooked 4 new dishes that i have never attempted before. Honey Garlic Baked Chicken , Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm., home made hamburgers with sweet potato fries (that was the new thing) and asparagus, and last night I made pasta salad with chicken and homemade bread. it was so good. I took step by step photos and then ran out of time and forgot to take a final photo. I was going to take a leftover photo but THERE WAS NONE! 17 ate 3 helpings of it and took every last noodle. so. good. i dont even like pasta salad! until now 🙂

I’m reading more- I’ve finished two books this year, which isn’t crazy, but I am in the process of my third book! I’m just happy to be able to dedicate some spare time to something I enjoy and not have to write book reports or take quizzes on it!

Can’t say I’ve read my bible all the way through this year yet, but i’ve been doing The Matthew Challenge and that’s kept my nose in the book.. most days. We’re also pursuing the home bible study, but it won’t be feasible until the summer.

it’s exciting to check in and see more things marked off the list or areas that I’ve made progress on!

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how are your new years’ goals? still attainable? or did you throw ’em away a while ago? happy wednesday, y’all!

finding the good in me, without affirmations

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Self-worth. What a concept.

I used to be this empty shell, this person who lived off of her self and honestly didn’t care about the opinions or actions or anything that involved another person. I was plenty fine  with myself to be apathetic about my day to day interactions and that was enough. but now. now this is hard.

It’s a real life, daily struggle to find value in my personhood. As a follower of Christ- I can easily look throughout scripture and be reminded that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that the Lord knows the plans He has for me, and that God cares for even the amount of hairs on my head. Those are facts. Those are hard truths that remind me that I have value. That I have something worth breathing for. (see: Psalm 139:13-15, Jeremiah 29:11, Luke 12:6-7 for full verses).

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It’s a daily struggle in this step-mama’s life to find value in what I do.

My entire life has flipped completely upside down in the two years that my Prince and I have been married. Most of the changes haven’t been bad- some of them are great. But they take adjusting. Time. Patience.

I used to measure my worth in the things that I did. How involved I was in certain areas of my life. Whether it was with my church, a sport, school activities, my job, even ways I was involved with my family. That’s where I found my worth, my value.

Let me tell you. Things. Are. Different.

I am no longer a first baseman. Softball isn’t a part of this life.
I’m no longer employed by my church, nor, as of yesterday, in the leadership spectrum.
I am no longer consumed by homework, projects, books, assignments.
I am no longer run ragged every day from serving hundreds of customers. It is not uncommon that my office will not have one visitor in a business day.
My biological family has taken a back seat since I became a part of a new family. They live far away. They are on opposite weekends of us.

So how do i find worth now, since all of those things have changed?

Unfortunately, I rely heavily on how my husband and children respond to me. I value and crave their positive comments, affirmations. I seek them. Sometimes doing extra things, just hoping for a “thank you” or “this is great!” I need it.

I rely on affirmations. But I shouldn’t.
Relying on affirmations allows me to be broken when I hear critiques. I am a “words of affirmation” girl in all aspects of my life. Work: need affirmation. Love: Need affirmation. Parenting: need affirmation. Being someone’s daughter: need affirmation. I need to be able to check off the box that says “you’re doing well!” before I can move along.

Relying on affirmations as a step parent isn’t good. It’s hard enough for kids to compliment each other, biological parents. Let alone this extra person who hasn’t really been here forever. Affirmations are hard to come by.

I am a work in progress. It’s an interesting time to be thestepmomma. Life is changing. Things are different. i am growing. I hope to find more value in myself in different ways, not relying on the words of others. I think this little cooking journey I’ve been put on is satisfying some of the needs I have, since good food usually brings compliments. I hope to continue to create and learn more skills- which may bring more satisfaction. Keep asking. Keep prodding.

There will be something good in here, some day.

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The big, green monster

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Proverbs 27:4New International Version (NIV)

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy?

Jealousy is something I’ve never struggled with, until now. I’m not sure how to handle it- but Proverbs has said it perfectly. Who can stand before jealousy? Who can even try to compete. Who can win against it? No one. Your mind eats at you. Your thoughts are overcome by negativity- worst case scenarios. It creeps in and spews darkness in all of the wrong places. Lord, help me.