Please Sign This Permission Slip

The Golden Rule

I have often struggled with the verse, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), thinking that it would be insulting to my neighbor if I was to love her as I love myself. I have always thought negatively about myself, even in elementary school, believing I was far bigger than others, hairier, louder, and something was wrong with me. The last few years have truly turned me around, and now I truly do see that I must learn to love myself in order to love those around me. God has commanded that I love my neighbor as myself and I would very much like to love on my neighbor, which means I must elevate the love I have for myself. I must stop denying God in His outspoken love for me. I must heal and learn to belong in my skin if I am to love others properly.

The Permission Slip

Today I give myself permission to take better care of myself. I will learn to believe that I am enough, that I have worth, and that I am valuable. Every day I will attempt to say no to something in order to take time for caring for myself. When I sit down with chores and tasks and schedules, I will make sure to add things I enjoy like writing and reading and exercise. I will continue to get to know myself, my potential, my dreams, and my goals for the future. I will continue to walk toward God and learn His Will. In all of these steps, in prayer and meditation, and in practicing kindness toward myself, I will truly Belong. My happiness will be a positive light in the lives of my family and friends and all around me, making it worth the journey.

The Fringe Hours

I am currently reading the book, The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner. Throughout the book there are various writing prompts, so I decided to share this response to one of them. In my quest to learn to love myself this year I knew that books would hold many a key to unlocking the doors and windows in myself. This book has indeed begun to do just that with only a quarter of it read. I am taking my time as I read through it so that the truths of God’s love for me, and my need to love myself in order to pass that love onward, can seep into me. I love reading books with meaning just as much as I love reading books to escape. However, to read a book that will change my life takes many more days than cozy mysteries and adventure novels. Once I finish a book that takes me on a journey through myself, changes a habit or attitude of mine, it is very challenging to share that personal testimony with others. Therefore, many of the most important books get no more than a mere recommendation in passing from me, if that. This is why I thought recommending this book at the beginning of that journey would be successful.

Help Yourself to More Reading

Let me recommend some more books that have been instrumental in my life over the past year or so. I thought I would include links to past reviews that relate to this category as well, so below the new reviews I have included pictures of previous books which you can click on to find my review of that book. CLICK HERE to see my previous post of books that have helped me move from survival mode to thriving.

The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. was a game changer for me. Finding out there is a whole community of fellow “barometers” (someone who can sense others’ emotions, and is vastly affected by the mood of a room) as my mom always called me, was thrilling! This book taught me so many things about myself that I have now been able to accept rather than work to change. I recommend it for anyone struggling as I was to live in a sandpaper world.

Rachel Wojo’s
One More Step was instrumental in my moving into this season with joy. I was concerned for the year of waiting for Kyrie to get surgery that only in her healing would I find peace and joy. I learned through all of these books, and it was cemented through this book, that I can find joy in the pain, I can begin to heal even before I can find any solutions. I finished this book sitting in Cyprus watching these birds, and that image is one I return to over and over when I am feeling low. I was able to sit in my pain and feel God’s Presence and hear his voice promising a future. Like Abraham I was able to take one more step each day, to rise early, to obey, without any confirmation of the promise. This book was the one at the beginning of this season of Abraham I feel that I am currently in, so it sits in my memory as a huge book in my year. This book required a contract between myself and God, and I return to that piece of paper almost every other week to remember the promises, and to seek one more step of obedience to God. If you are in the in between of seasons, a time of struggle or transition or trial, this is the book for you. If you are feeling weaker and weaker instead of stronger, read this book before you give in to the exhaustion.

I cried every chapter of Undone. This beautiful memoir by Michele Cushatt softened my heart in so many ways. It gave me the courage to keep going through the trials of waiting for Kyrie’s surgery and watching her in pain all the time. Truly, it was life altering to join with Michele in her story through her beautiful writing.

All of Sarah Young’s devotionals have been wonderful for me to grab for a quiet time of prayer and meditation. I so appreciate her gentle way with words and the practice of taking a verse and treating it as straight from the mouth of God as well as something to respond to. She truly makes it safe and easy to be in conversation with God, to pray always as we are called to do. Dear Jesus is one of my favorites because it starts with the place of vulnerability which I really needed the past two years.

Louis recommended God in the Flesh to me under the category of my reading challenge “Read a Book That Someone Tells You Changed His Life” Louis said this book changed his life, and I took months to even start it. It was one of the few books we physically brought to Lebanon, so I had access to it, but I was scared I wouldn’t get the same things out of it which Louis had. Wow, was this book powerful. The simple way with words that Don Everts has makes the Truths of Jesus unavoidable and I had so much faith growing during the time I took to read this book. The book was instrumental in realizing that fundamentals of Christianity can always be deepened and strengthened.

Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell CLICK HERE for review         
This Momentary Marriage, by John Piper CLICK HERE for review        
When the Darkness Will Not Lift, by John Piper CLICK HERE for review        
21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, by Crystal Paine CLICK HERE for review        
How To Keep A Spiritual Journal, by Ron Klug CLICK HERE for review

Just a Stay at Home Mom

One Little Word

A pastor in our sending community often shares his distaste for the word “just.” We use it without meaning it. We say, “I just want some quiet.” Then as soon as everyone quiets down, we say, “Now, I just need to finish this page.” Well, you got what you asked for, quiet, but you were not satisfied. Pastor Tom’s explanations about the word just have inspired me to truly be more aware of the words I am using, and especially with the word just. I have removed it from my prayers because I never Just want that one thing. I want it all. I want the peace, patience, joy, love, grace, time, and sleep running over all over the place!

While I have worked hard to remove the word just in some areas of my life, I spent a season this past year elevating the word as well. In 2015 I felt that I was not being an intentional mother in the way God was calling me to be. I had people affirming my skills in mothering, I was homeschooling my son, but I was not obeying God in submitting to the role of motherhood. I wanted to be able to do all the things I wanted to do, plus mothering. It was like motherhood was my side hustle instead of my primary job. That was what God was taking issue with. So, I took a year to be “Just a wife and mother”.

Just a Wife and Mother

The first thing I found funny when I began using this expression was how people would correct me right away. “You’re not JUST a mom!” If I had said I just want to lose 100 lbs, no one would have batted an eye, but that phrase is all cued up in Feminist America’s mind as NO WAY! And I would explain, “Yes, I do just want to be a wife and mother for awhile. I was called by God to do this, and if I keep pretending I can do every single passion full time I will never have time for my kids.” The year was an excellent learning time for me. When our daughter was in pain all the time, my commitment was not torn from other pursuits, I was already prepared. God obviously knew what He was saying when He called me to this commitment.

Now What?

This past October I had a friend remind me that my commitment was for a year and it was over. I looked at my life and realized that in that year I had learned so much about how to be a good mom to my individual kids, and now I am ready for this new stage. I am going to be attending Rutgers University to pursue a second Masters degree. This degree is going to be focused on library and information science. I am excited to pursue this passion that I have had on the back burner for quite some time now. I believe it is going to open up new opportunities for ministry and fruit in my life.