Recurring Strength

Sometimes I don’t want to be strong.

Am I weak for admitting that?

Sometimes I want a day off,

but I’m unemployed.

Sometimes I need balance,

but both feet are on the ground.

Sometimes I’m not grateful,

Sometimes I don’t want to say the right things,

And sometimes I tell God that so “He know it’s real.”

 

Strength is not just handed to the weak.

Nor are the tasks they are given.

As I take it one day at a time,

I am taken back to a time when I couldn’t.

When my portion of strength was small, because so was my faith.

When everyday was a burden,

Now every day is a challenge.

I have seen that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.

So handle this, I can do all things through Christ who gives us strength,

But what if some days I don’t want to.

What if some days I want to take the day off and pretend there aren’t responsibilities asking for my whereabouts.

Strength is pushing through that.

Weakness is acting as if it doesn’t exist.

It is acting like all things external, don’t phase my existence.

 

I am woman.

I am strong.

Strong with a God-like strength that only He can administer.

But I am human.

Human with a flesh that has the tendency to crave laze.

Flesh that thinks “Me, Me, Me” that has to be trained to behave.

Human that is failure without God’s Grace.

Sometimes I don’t want to be strong.

I am not weak for admitting that.

I am stronger as a result of my honesty.

I am strong because I recognize that though I don’t always feel like it, I am.

I recognize that though every job well done isn’t a milestone to everyone, it still is.

I recognize that in Christ is the solace that I seek.

I recognize that in my weakness God is my strength,

and nothing can take that from me.

So I am, even when I don’t want to be.

 

This is for You…

This is for you. If you could read this, if I could tell you who He is and how important He is to me, to us, this is what I’d want you to know.

I know you can’t recall the 40 weeks you spent in my womb, you can’t remember the growing and the forming. You were unaware of the process, but I was there the entire time. This is who God is to me. He is the one who has been there through my growing. Even the growing I wasn’t aware of, those instances that just seem like wasted time or time I can’t comprehend. He was there, He IS there, caring for me, keeping track of my growth, feeling every move and hiccup.

I know you can’t recall the first time I held you in my arms. I know you can’t remember the first time you encountered this new world. Though you have no recollection, I was there, arms opened wide to comfort you. Though in an atmosphere so unfamiliar, you heard a familiar voice, you felt a love you didn’t know you knew. This is who God is to me. He is the constant in an ever-changing world. He is the love I feel when all seems lost. His presence gets better and better, sweeter and sweeter as I look for solace. Even when I don’t know I need it, there’s a voice that calms my soul, that warms my heart.

I’m sure there will be memory of the frustration of wanting sustenance that you can’t provide for yourself. Waking in the middle of the night for nourishment that your body cannot produce. You’re calling to me for help, no matter the time of day or night, I come to give you that nourishment. Even when you aren’t aware of your need for it, it already exists in me for you. God is that for me. When I call, He comes running. When I seek Him, I find Him. When I have no way to provide for myself, He is my provider. He has all I need, He knows my needs before I can ask.

By the time you can read this, there will be plenty of opportunities of my grace toward you to seem to run out. There will be times you do things that may not be of my liking, but despite any upset, I love you, I forgive you, I will never give up on you. That is what God is to Us. He is the God who loves us no matter when we decide to come to Him. Jesus is the one who gave up His life so we can be free from the sin that would otherwise kill us. Our sin is forgiven. We have the privilege to pray to Him, to worship Him. To encounter His presence, even after we have went against what He has asked of us.

What a good God!

Rookie Mama : 5 Things that Got Me Through Postpartum

Pregnancy is a challenge, motherhood is a challenge. I’m new to all this, not an expert at all, but I wanted to share 4 things that I did during my final trimester that helped me once my baby decided to show up. My #5 is what I wasn’t prepared for, that I think all mommies should be aware of.

  1. Guard Your Peace  – With all the preparation going on for baby, things could possibly get hectic. It seems that leading up to the baby shower and after the baby shower, there was non-stop action going on around the house. Everything that was going on disrupted my calm mindset I had developed. I started to feel rushed and anxious. I prayed about it and God told me to Guard my peace. I had spent days and weeks and months praying and meditating to get to a place where I was not in a rush or apprehensive as “D Day” approached. With everything going on I had to make sure I did not allow any circumstances to throw me off. I stopped trying to entertain, did things at my pace, ignored advice I didn’t ask for and focused on the Lord’s promise.  “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
  2. Build Your Knowledge – These days we have so much information available to us. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you utilize it. Having a baby for the first time can be intimidating. Thinking about all your body has to go through. There are so many women with so many different experiences who will share what they know and it will not always be accurate. Do your own research. I spent countless nights reading (on reputable sites) about the labor and delivery to prepare myself. I read about anesthetics, the 3 phases of labor, what contractions were like, when to go to the hospital, false labor, how to help east labor pains. I read so many different things, and it helped. Once getting into the Delivery room, if I didn’t know about something I asked. Pray and ask God for wisdom in decisions you have to make dealing with you and your baby. Don’t base your decision off of someone else’s experience that they shared with you. 
  3. Prepare Your Team – My mother lives in Texas, along with my sisters, brothers, and grandmother. My paternal grandmother in Florida. My family is scattered all over and throughout my pregnancy I really had a rough time without them, and I had to prepare for postpartum to ensure I had the help I needed. My mother bought her ticket in advance to be here on my due date (which was too late, I delivered 3 days early). She planned to stay with me for 3 weeks. Those 3 weeks she assisted me with breastfeeding woes, piles of laundry, groceries and meals, and house cleaning. Though it was a bit hectic with the extra company, I would probably still have laundry piled up 7 weeks later if she wasn’t here to help me. Once she left, family from church offered help by coming over so I could take a nap and bringing food to help with my many tasks. Whether your family is near or far, plan ahead on who can do what so you can have help and not put your body through too much too soon.
  4. Create Stations Around Your Home – Once getting home with baby, things will go rather quickly. I love Pinterest, and while making sure to prepare my home, I saw lots of posts about making “stations”. Diapering Stations – I got cute little bins and put diapers and wipes in my room, the babies room of course and also the living room. Anywhere you will spend time, you want to avoid having to get up. I created a postpartum station in the restroom. I put my pads, peri bottle, Dermoplast, wipes, and Witch Hazel all in a bin by the toilet to avoid too much moving around. I didn’t care who saw my pads out in the open! For breastfeeding, I had my pump, lanolin, water, snacks, charger, and remote in the place I nursed the most. This probably I “Duh, Of course I plan to do that!” type of thing but just in case! It saves you time.
  5. Cry it Out – I cried a lot during my hormonal pregnancy days, I was already a crier before though. What I was not prepared for was “Postpartum Blues.” Not to be confused with Postpartum Depression, the Blues occur up to 7 days after Delivery due to hormonal changes. I found myself crying more during that week post D Day, than I did my entire pregnancy.  I cried over small things, I cried (and yelled and cursed) due to sleep deprivation, I cried out of frustration, I cried in extreme gratitude. I cried a lot. At first I was embarrassed, but it gave me some relief. Don’t be afraid to say what is on your mind whether you are afraid of something or angered by something. Let the tears flow and don’t be surprised by it. If you don’t experience it, that’s ok too. What the nurses made sure to tell me though, was if you had these uncontrollable emotions after that first week, you may want to seek some help.

I hope all of this is helpful to anyone reading out there. I enjoy writing about my experiences since having my baby girl. Comment if there is anything you are doing to prepare that you want to share, or anything you did with your past pregnancies! I’d love to read them!

The Blessing not the Inadequacy

I wanted to set 30 days apart to prepare my heart for the biggest change I am sure I will ever experience. Of course there is an entire 9 months of gestation for that, but these are different for me.

I am seeking revelation where I feel I am meant to learn a lesson. My first lesson, Focusing on the Blessing and not the Inadequacy.

I have been blessed in many ways recently, and I must admit that my first reaction has not always been healthy. IT hasn’t been “Thank you Jesus for the blessing!” Recently for a second I only thought, “If only I had the means to do this for myself.” I looked at my inadequacies. I looked at a blessing as only a result of my failure and not my favor given from God. Some months ago, my mother sent me a few very lengthy and angry texts because I again responded incorrectly. I realized then that I was taking focus off of the father and not the enemy. This last time didn’t require her to rebuke me. I saw it myself.

God’s ways are not my ways. His plans are not my plans. A lot of my journey since August has been fighting with myself and with God. I wasn’t always receptive to the lessons. I magnified the inadequacies. I magnified the struggles. My God is so much bigger than that. He is too good for that! As I prepare my heart, I choose to look to my father as what He is, my father. A good father, who will give me what I need, who loves me unconditionally. I will choose to learn from that amazing love and to share that with my child so she knows who her heavenly father is. So that as a family we know, who our help comes from!

His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Though I am in a state of vulnerability with my father, it does in no way mean I am weak here on earth, because His grace is sufficient for me!! God is good!

In a Year’s Time

Around this time last year was one of the most important transitions of my adult life. It was a move that was inevitable. It was a change that was needed for my own good.
Last year I was hurt by people that I loved. Last year I am sure that I hurt people that I loved or that loved me. I think that is all apart of life and growing up. While it is happening it hurts, it’s confusing, but it is also enlightening.

Some change is necessary in order to open your eyes to things that you need to see. Some people are removed from your life because they just were no longer meant to be there.
In a message on this past Sunday. Steven Furtick said that we so often miss the “Johns” (those who were there at the cross) because we are focusing on the “Judas’” (the ones who betrayed us). We so often waste energy being pissed at the people who wronged us and forget about the people who were there all along. We often waste time focusing on the wrong we knew someone was capable of, when we can be going about our business. Staying upset forever is a waste of time, and a distraction from the task at hand. Everyone has experienced a Judas, and all of us have been someone’s Judas. I don’t think there is a need to analyze it, but to be aware of why it all happened and to move forward.
I wouldn’t change anything about all that has happened. All the crying, all the confusion, all the drama. Though it was no fun, I wouldn’t change it. There are things I could’ve done differently, that others could’ve done differently, but given the choice I would not change it.
So often we make moves according to other people’s opinions. For the first time I made a move not thinking of anyone’s opinion, because it had to be done. I think I will take others judging me and misunderstanding me over the feeling of being unsettled. I will be ok with someone not seeing eye to eye with me in order to pursue putting down my roots. It is so simple to get stuck in life. It is so easy for that 1 year plan to turn into 5. It is so easy to forget about all those places you wanted to go, all those programs you signed up for but never responded to, the dream you have always had. Looking at where I am people may not think I have done much of ANYthing, good thing that doesn’t matter. Inside of me, I feel so much stronger and even more determined. Even more prepared for what is ahead. I feel like it is becoming more and more clear to my husband and I what we are meant to do and where we are meant to be. Every season is for a reason. Every place where you settle is for a reason. Every move you make should be for a reason.
Some moves I think I made too swiftly, and I have learned from that. I have learned that good intentions without wisdom don’t lead to good decisions. With that being said though, I know that lesson needed to be learned.
I always end up referencing this, but it is important to me. My parents moving away created a shift in my life. It was a shift that I can gage as a turning point to where I am now and I will also reference once I get to where I am going. I never imagined them going anywhere. I thought they would always be a few minutes away. I would hear them talk about going, but I didn’t believe them. I watched as they were persecuted for a decision that they knew was God’s instruction. I watched as they continued for the goal knowing what they were meant to do. I watched as they stepped out on faith and stood on that faith to become settled. I marvel at their journey. It is a genuine appreciation for their courage and for God’s faithfulness. I miss them every day. I love them and trust God enough to follow in their footsteps, but not to confuse that with following their path. Their actions taught me to go after putting those roots down. My OWN roots, not Aaronda or Drew’s daughter’s roots, but Arika’s roots. You may read that and say it is the same thing, but in my mind it means that where I go in the future will be because that is where I am meant to be and not because my family is there.They taught me that God is intentional and has a plan, they taught me that what is for me is for me.
The feeling of being unsettled is one I don’t wish on anyone. The pain behind knowing there is more, but for some reason you don’t go to find out is one that stings constantly. The freedom of pursuing who you really are and where you should be is amazing. In a year’s time, I am happy to be at this point in my life. I am happy to have had this last year with my husband good and bad – to get to know him more, to experience each other in new atmospheres and to really discover what our heart’s desires are. I am excited to see what the next year brings!

Consequences 

“Some people create their own storms, but get upset when it rains.” 
Our actions have consequences. The result of our choices can be good or bad, but none of us want them to have negative results. 

The quote above rings so true in our world. So many of us want what we want when we want it and don’t think about how it could potentially harm ourselves or others. 

This makes me think it all starts with our parents. The Bible says 

“Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭23:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

My pastor mentioned this during service a little while ago. Our parents discipline help us to tackle real life situations, whether we like it or not. I hated it as a child, but my mom would make me take care of my siblings or come home to do chores while I was out with friends. She handed me so much responsibility. Then, I thought she was picking on me, but as an adult I know she was preparing me. Those lessons taught me to love my family and close friends and to help them when they needed me, it taught me to really consider if hanging out was all that important, it taught me that sometimes I have to endure even when I don’t want to because that is the way life goes. Now my choice to live out what I learned is all on me, and not my parents. 

I have said all this to say that I feel like there are adults who forget, that when you create your own storm, you can’t be upset when it rains. We all need discipline. We all need someone to remind us when we are right or wrong. We all have to face the results of our actions. Are we really adults if you don’t think so? 

I have had to make decisions in life to be that person to show a friend, “Hey, you can’t act that way and expect me to just ignore what you did!” This isn’t an easy position, but it helps the other person. I have also been on the other side of that, with friends, with my parents, and even my husband. It’s always difficult to suffer from a decision you made, but sometimes it is necessary. It’s even more difficult as an adult. Early in marriage I would get upset with my husband for telling me things that were actually true. I thought he was being cruel, and he was saying what needed to be said to break unhealthy patterns in my life. I had to let go of the denial and see it for what it was. If I continued to be offended, I would not experience growth. 

I want each of us reading to remember that what we do and how we choose to do it doesn’t always just involve us, but could also attach others to suffer the consequences. AND you can’t be offended or emotional if the parties involved are upset about that. Someone may read this and argue that we should show others grace and mercy because we have all made mistakes. True. Absolute true, but when will repeat offenders be disciplined if they continue to make decisions that effect others? When will someone speak up and say “you’re wrong!” When will someone love enough to tell a person that their self destruction is poisonous to everyone you burden with your issues? 

In 2016 I noticed a lot of patterns. Patterns in my own life, patterns in family, and even patterns in spirituality that I had to examine and decide whether I would go with the flow or against the grain. My father helped me with this since his move to Texas. Since moving he is more observant and we talk more about those observations than before. He is also more focused on the task at hand and not allowing emotions to drive him. That taught me a valuable lesson, and strengthened my respect for my parents. We have to be real with ourselves, we have to take discipline whether we like it or not and learn to avoid the storm we created when that issue comes up again in the future.  

Him or Her? 🤔

As my mind wanders thinking about who you will be, I can’t help but day dream. If there will be a Stephan the 3rd, a cute little guy who dresses like his daddy and another body to eventually have mama waiting to be able to leave the house. Will he be a sweetheart like his daddy? Will he be a little goofy kid or a sarcastic one like mommy? Sports or Music? I’ll let you be all books if you want to. 🙂 

I think of how my nephew stole my heart. How he calls me and asks “Chu doin Arituh?” I think about my baby brother who has my wit and smarts. How he always has a rebuttal and point to prove. 

My husband was brought up by a father who loves sincerely. I look forward to see him love his son that way. My mother’s heart turns to mush over her boys, as they cause her to stand on her toes and get tough skin all at once. 

My little girl… as much as it gets me excited, it makes me nervous. But even if it’s Aria, I still see her being like daddy. A love like his will help her to know her worth. A beauty like her’s will make daddy melt away. Can his heart handle loving 2 Ladies? 😆 I think of my niece, and how she will lay with Steph our entire visit and not even think about me. I think about her cute little outfits and how Steph flipped out over her little suede boots. Lol. Aria, you have to be a little song bird. It’s in the name! Today I was wondering if you were just chilling all day, I started to sing and felt that busy feeling in my tummy. Does that mean what I hope? 

So many possibilities! My mom says I think too much, but how can I help it!? Only a few more weeks until we know if it’s Stephan III or Aria!