Monday, April 30, 2012

Just wondering...

If you are reading this, please do not judge me.  And, if you absolutely cannot control the urge.  Judge me behind my back because, seriously, I don't want to hear it.  ;) 

Okay, so I seriously doubt that I am the only woman alive that wonders what really goes on in the minds of others, especially members of the opposite gender.  But, I wonder, then struggle, then ignore, then debate, and it goes on and on and on.  I guess I am a thinker.  At times, this is great.  Other times, like right now, not good.  At all. 

My current struggle is my own self-esteem.  I am doing remarkably better than even two weeks ago.  I have learned when I start to feel those thoughts come around, to grab my Bible and jump in.  There are so many positive things, and if you just start flipping, eventually you will find something that fits.  :) 

I have it so deeply rooted in me that I am not worth much to anyone but my kids.  I am trying, with not much success, to know that at some point, this will change.  Over the last year, I have realized I am important to some women in my life.  I volunteer regularly in one  ministry, and have realized I am important to the kids I see every week.  However, I still wonder about other things. 

I am getting ready to really tell it like I am feeling it tonight, so, please forgive me if I am totally out of line.  I am just praying that when I put myself out there, I am not alone, and that somewhere, some mommy out there is feeling the same way. 

I have had the incredible blessing of women in my life who speak loving things over me.  When I have a rough day, I have a few women I can call and know I will be able to gain some positive perspective.  If I am experiencing mommy failures, I know that every mom, regardless of marital status, has been there, done that.  Many of those mommies even have amazing men who love them, live with them and help them.  I have the incredible blessing of a church that surrounds me and the girls with love.  These are amazing things, and are not taken lightly.  I am so incredibly thankful.  Really, honestly, I am. 

But.  Yeah, there it is.  We all knew it was coming.  Here comes the total frustration coming out.  But, how come?  If gorgeous mommy A comes up to me and says, Cil, you are gorgeous!  Or, super skinny perfect mommy B says Cil, that outfit is amazing! Or, amazing friend and mommy C, says Cil, you are such an amazing mommy.  Why is it that I can't believe it?  And, if this is true, why has no man recognized it???  I feel like the only people that even see me are my (incredible amazingly awesome) lady friends.  Why is it that I can't seem to get a single stinkin' date?  I have been legally separated for way over a year, and divorced for a few months short of a year.  If what all of these women say about me is true, why hasn't one single man asked me out?  And, even beyond these stupid frustrations, why can I still hear one man's voice screaming through all of these thoughts, "No one will ever want you, especially with three kids."  I pray.  I beg God to give me direction, comfort, strength and wisdom.  And, he always comes through.  Somehow, I make it.  I am able to find peace.  I am able to find comfort.  I can walk through any situation put in front of me.  But, this one stupid piece of junk thought, I can't seem to shut up.  It just eats at me.  I want to stand on a street corner and take a poll, would you date this woman, even knowing she has three kids?  Except for the fact that the answer I would probably get would depress me.  I want to prove it wrong.  I desperately want to prove it wrong.  Except no one wants me.  So I can't. 

And this, my friends, this is where I am tonight.  On one hand, I am excited and fully believe and expect the fact that God has huge prosperous plans for me.  But the scary thought is this:  God has huge plans for me.  But, will those plans prove this horrible thought right or wrong?  I know that I can do things and prosper alone.  And, if this is what God has for me, I know he will give me what I need to do it.  But, just about every ounce of me is scared that I will never experience what a God-centered marriage feels like.  That no man will ever see the woman that God created me to be.  I am fearful that I will never experience what it is like to have a husband pray blessings over me.  Obviously, I can and will be if necessary, but I don't want to be the spiritual leader of my home.  I genuinely want to be the wife that God wants me to be.  The helper, not the leader.  I was given a vision once, not going to share what it was, as it is quite personal, but I am so afraid I will never see it happen.  What if what I thought was a God-given dream was in fact Cil just being too optimistic?  Then what?  So, as you read this, whenever you read this, please pray for me.

I really am good.  I am so incredibly thankful for the life free of pain, emotional beatings, and fear of tomorrow.  I am trying to maintain the proper perspective.  I guess I am just a little weary of hearing things that make me question the truthfulness of my friends.  I love uplifting words, but right now, for some insane reason, they just feel empty. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Made for More

I have mentioned several times this amazing book I have been so lucky to find.  I, again, will highly recommend it.  I am nearing the end, and while I still struggle, I have realized that no matter how perfect my life is, I will struggle.  We are all human; struggles are inevitable. 

The balance between the feelings God gives us and the ability to express them back to him have confused, and honestly frustrated, me for some time. I used to think expressing the way I felt to God gave me the ability to treat this person that way because of the way I felt. I told God how I felt, so I should be okay, right? I realize that God is the giver of feelings. He has them so totally mastered, he created them, after all. However, giving us the feelings, even when we express them to him, does not give us the right to always act on those feelings.  This book has showed me that.  And, judging by my reaction to the parts I just read, this reality check was completely needed. 

Anyway, I used to absolutely love listening to the song "You are More" by Tenth Avenue North.  I heard it the first time at a really low place, and it brought me feelings of major hope.  The song talks about how we are more than our circumstances, mistakes, and total screw ups.  I used to listen to it when I felt like giving up on everything - life, marriage, mommy-hood, love, God, all of it.  The video is very moving, too.  So, when part of the book is titled "You Really Were Made for More," I thought it would have the same meaning.  The song is awesome, if you've never heard it, look it up.  :)

Back to this book, it talks about being made for more.  At first, I thought, well, yeah, been there, listened to the song, I get it.  I skimmed over it at first, because I thought I was smarter than that, and obviously didn't need it.  I sat there thinking, yeah, I was made for more than the crappy hand I was dealt (yeah, that was actually the thought I had.  Selfish and totally not the right perspective, but...).  I was made for more than a life of solitude.  I was made for more.  I felt like the author of the book had no clue how well I knew this chapter.  So well, I felt I didn't even need to really read it.  Continued to skim through it, and skimming over it made me realize my thoughts were SO far off.  Which was really a good thing, because well, my thoughts were really off.  I didn't realize how I felt like "more" was owed because of junk in my past.  Those were my stinky choices, and they shouldn't entitle me to a better "more" because of them. 

So, there I sat, feeling pretty smug about being made for more.  When I really thought about it, I started feeling convicted about how off I was.  Yes, I am made for more, but looking from the Cil perspective is a little different than the more granted through the God perspective.  Cil says I was made for more love, more affection, more appreciation, more, more, more.  Then, it hit me.  I was made for more love.  God's love.  More love than I can ever even understand or know what to do with.  I was made for more of Christ flowing through me.  More of His actions, thoughts, and ways.  I was made for more trust, wisdom and strength than I will ever know what to do with, but they aren't through me, they are through him. 

So, we are disappointed.  We are discouraged.  We want more.  Because, well, we are made for more.  But, when we feel this way, do we grumble and complain, or do we get our praise on or pray about the reasons we feel this way, remembering the creator of those feelings, and the planner of all our days? 

I was flipping through my Bible tonight and came upon Ecclesiastes 3, which talks about the right timing for everything, and that God is really the only one who knows exactly what the right timing is.  I don't know why I continue to be so blown away by God's gentle reminders that he's got it all taken care of. 

So, as I sit here, getting ready to go to bed, I know that I was made for more.  Part of that more could be a new start at a better life.  Might not be, too, but regardless of that, I was made for more than I can ever express.  More sorrow, maybe, so that I can experience more joy.  More depression, so that I can understand what more victory finally feels like.  More love, so that I can give and share love with others.  So, instead of being impatient about why this or that can't happen just a little faster, I am just going to try and focus on the right here moments of total blessings.  Little girls who use any excuse to sit and snuggle.  Little girls who remind me God loves me, and that little girl loves me, too.  I am blessed.  Completely blessed.  And feeling pretty much amazed at the things going on inside of me.  And I love these new things.  :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No Words Left...

This week has brought a lot of ups and downs.  Church last week presented me an opportunity that I do not typically take.  I took it, in obedience and was so thankful after.  However, this week brought be a lot of "opportunities" to choose God perspective instead of Cil perspective.  Several times, I have sat back, happy with myself, knowing I was looking at life through eyes that were not my own.  But more often, I sat back disgusted with myself, because I failed.  Again.  I am in the middle of a mind battle.  A vicious, no weapon too big kind of battle with my own mind.  I left an abusive situation, thinking that would remedy the abuse.  But, as I posted last week, the abuse lingers, because the words still cause pain.  A different perspective has brought me a lot of joy this week, but it has also brought struggles to let my perspective go.  I have tried to remember not to look at this with my own eyes, but to remember God sees something much much bigger.

This week I have felt completely cut off from civilization.  Playdates were cancelled, my mom worked late, Jess caught a virus, it was literally one thing on top of another.  I struggled.  I had a BAD run the beginning of the week, and it even left me feeling completely worthless.  Something I am learning about myself is that I am a very social person.  I enjoy the company of other people.  I like to hear about their days, their kids, their accomplishments, and even their defeats.  Realizing this is big, because I used to live in a small box, fearing (literally, fearing) the family get together, women's function, or school meeting.  I hated going to things out of fear of several things. One: people's judgement.  Two: people's wrath.  Three: People, in general.  Just bein' honest.  I had a small group who sort of understood me, but for the most part, I was a closed up box.  The last little bit has really made me realize I function best when I am doing something, helping someone, just loving on those around me. 

So, back to this week.  My mom had to borrow my car.  No biggie.  But, the psychological factor of knowing you can't leave the house started to weigh me down about 3pm.  At 4:30, I discovered Jess had this massive rash all over her.  I knew what it was, and that she wouldn't be in school the next day.  Turns out, she wouldn't be in school Thursday, either.  I teach.  I love my job.  It is one of the biggest blessings (aside from my kids) that God has absolutely orchestrated in my life.  It bummed me out that I didn't get to work.  On top of that, church was out for Wednesday, too.  On top of having a cranky baby, I had a cranky baby that just wanted to go bye-bye.  She begged.  It was pretty pathetic.  So, anyway, Thursday, Sara comes home with the previously mentioned massive rash.  Except, in true Sara fashion, hers was much much worse.  Because this reaction is typical for Sara, I sort of (ok, totally) brushed her off, telling her she was fine, but contagious, so...  Friday morning, she wakes up, and I realize she really IS much worse than Jess.  Talk about total mommy failure.  I felt like such a loser.  Anyway, I got out Friday night, but pretty much stayed in and threw a pity-party Cil-Style yesterday.

I have been in this battle with my mind.  God loves me.  No, He couldn't.  God is doing incredible things in my life right now.  Really, what?  Why not this or that?  God created me wonderfully.  Yeah, you are so wonderful you can't even keep a marriage afloat.  (Yes, my mind seriously thinks that at times)  I have been really trying hard to find a direct scripture to rule out a lie, but sometimes, there just isn't one, so I have to make do.  Anyway, I have really been struggling with this whole "single" thing.  When I finally put an end to the little bit of marriage I had left, I knew I was walking where God wanted me.  He put direct promises in my heart, and I have watched many of them come to pass.  But, the big one?  I just don't see it happening like I want, so I struggle.  I have said probably a thousand times I felt like God rescued me from so much.  While I still have a mind battle in front of me, I don't have to worry about anyone else battling me, too. 

So, come back to this morning, one of our worship team read Psalm 18 aloud during praise and worship.  I was blown away.  Anyway, in the beginning, it talks about God being our strength.  This week I have done nothing but pray for strength, it seems.  Strength to help the girls.  Strength to run.  Strength to say the right things.  Strength to keep my mind in check.  Anyway, what she was talking about caught my attention.  I was standing there, and it was like something literally snapped in front of me. Then she said, "he rescued me because he delighted in me."  The service kept on, but I heard nothing more.  He rescued me.  He saved me.  He pulled me out.  He gives me strength, courage, wisdom, peace, joy.  So many things I can accept, because he rescued me.  And, do you know why he rescued me?  Because he delighted in me.  He knows me.  He knows my innermost thoughts, fears, failures, wants, longings, dreams.  And yet, he still delights in me.  Me.  Cil.  If he can delight in me, why can't I?  He knows more about me than I do, so why do I struggle so much with this?  Why can't I accept his unconditional love for me, without fear of it eventually being taken away because of my decisions, thoughts or behaviors?  Why do I constantly berate myself when it is ME my mind is berating? 

So, as Pastor Derek talked again today about persective, I sit back, thinking.  God knows me.  He knows my thoughts before they even form in my head.  He says, "You, Cil, are wonderfully made.  I delight in you.  My love for you never quits. You are called, because I called you.  You are redeemed.  You are mine."  So, today, I am going to remember that if he didn't love me, he wouldn't have rescued me.  And, he totally rescued me.  And, he rescued me because he delights in me. 

If you were not at Northridge this morning (or last Sunday morning) I would seriously suggest listening to these sermons. They are amazing! :)  Note, you will click launch media player, and click perspective.  Today's isn't up yet, but worth checking back for, I promise! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Choosing Life

****This was a difficult post to write.  I have written it several times and deleted it, for fear of what others would think.  I do not want anyone to read this post and think I am angry, or that I am bashing anyone.  I do want to share with all of you that we all struggle.  Just because we appear to be completely confident, happy, functioning women does not always mean we are.  I hope this post can help someone realize they are not alone in their struggles.****

The last few weeks have been a roller-coaster for me.  I continue to battle a lot of things I thought were far behind me.  This has left me to wonder why I allow these thoughts to take control of me.  The thoughts are not accurate.  The thoughts are not in line with God's Word.  The thoughts are absolutely wrecking me, so why?

A little bit of history that I think may be relevant to this post.  I have been emotionally and verbally abused for extended periods of my life.  The words were spoken by someone I thought genuinely loved me.  I trusted this person, and really believed that the words were spoken to help me see my faults and fix them.  I have learned since that these words were only intended to keep me bound in chains.  There is no anger or hatred in this now, but it used to have complete control over my life.  Because of this, I feel that my self-confidence and self-esteem lack severely most days.  I only said this because it is relevant to this post.  :)

God created women as amazing creatures when thriving.  He also created us to be helpers to others.  This could include a husband, kids, or friends.  We do not focus on ourselves, especially when we have littles that need so much from us.  We do not often take time for the things we want or need because there are others that we feel are more important than us.  I feel like this could be problem number one.  We feel that the people around us are far more important than ourselves.  This can be a great thing when used in the right balance.  I, as a mom, don't have that right balance.  The girls need something, I get it for them.  They want something, typically, I put that want above what I might need.  My priorities are a little skewed.  I feel that because I love them so much, they deserve to have the little things in life they want.  So, then my needs start to get a little more overwhelming, and I start becoming frustrated at the things I need and can't figure out how to make happen.  I devalue myself.  This is scary stuff.  If we as women do not see the value in ourselves, how are we going to teach our daughters to value themselves? 

Over the last year, I have taken more pride in the way I look than I ever have before.  I have had many women speak beauty into me.  I do not view myself as pretty.  I never have.  However, I had one friend talk me into an adorable hair style.  I had another friend show me the importance of make-up.  I had another group of women let me know my new styles were adorable.  I was starting to really feel confident in myself.  All of these women were trying to show me that I am someone to be loved, valued, and appreciated. 

A few weeks back, I received a compliment from a man.  Gasp, I know.  :)  It was not a you are gorgeous sort of compliment, just a small positive comment, pretty much.  I accepted it at the beginning, thinking to myself that I was really becoming someone amazing.  As the days have passed, I have torn myself back down.  Why do we do this?  During the first week, I kept telling myself that the compliment meant nothing, he must've felt obligated to say something.  Then, it went from that to I misunderstood the compliment to be something positive, when in fact, it really wasn't.  Then, the last few days, it even went one step farther.  I felt like I was nothing.  That the women God put into my life to speak confidence in me were lying to me, making me feel good about myself because they felt pity on me, that I was really nothing, because if I were pretty, or my dress was cute, or I really looked good in that color, someone that doesn't know me would have said something to me.  Disclaimer: I am an over-thinker.  I know this.  My thoughts go rampant on me quite often.  I am working on this issue...  :) All of those positive feelings I felt about myself one by one went down the drain. 

A very smart woman told the women at our church that we have power in words and to use them wisely, because they can build someone up or completely tear them down.  At the time, I was still in an abusive environment and shrugged this off, because obviously, she didn't know me.  She didn't realize that the words being hurled at me to discourage and destroy me were true.  She must not have understood how horrible of a person I really was.  After this event, I really fought myself, because a small little fire was lit inside of me.  I kept thinking to myself I never wanted to see my girls having the thoughts about themselves that I thought about myself, but I was nothing, so I deserved the thoughts and words, right?  It was horrible.  As time went on, I got a little stronger and stronger.  I began speaking positive traits into the girls, thanking God for the positive traits of my girls while I prayed over them each night.  In the last year, I have seen their confidence build in themselves.  And, that makes me so happy.  But, I still sit here thinking only negative things about myself.  Every positive thing I encounter has to be justified with at least one (or more) negative things.  I get on the scale and find myself down a pound.  Instead of rejoicing, my mind reminds me I am still 10 pounds away from where I was 6 months ago.  I run a solid three miles.  Instead of allowing myself to feel the victory, defeat settles in as I remember that my time slowed down 3 minutes. 

For many years, I allowed myself to believe the negativity.  I allowed myself to believe no man would ever want me.  I was lucky to have snagged the one I had.  I allowed myself to believe that no amount of make-up would ever make me beautiful, so why even try?  Every piece of me was thrown into the fire, and every single piece of me was devoured into flames.  I never allowed myself any other choice.  I never fought back, because I knew I wasn't strong enough for the battle anyway.  I never allowed myself to truly consider what God thought, or that He created me just as I am.  This morning, I sit here struggling, but this time, I know that God is going to give me the strength and endurance I need to fight this mind battle.  Those words that were used to destroy me forever are going to go down. 

God's word tells me I am wonderful.  I am loved.  I am his.  He will never leave me.  His words are true.  My enemy will come to steal, kill and destroy any joy I am willing to discard.  I am choosing to believe life this morning, instead of believing the lies of yesterday.  God has an amazingly beautiful plan for my life.  His plan will bring joy and prosperity.  It will not involve death for me or my girls.  I am so thankful that in the midst of this battle, I can be prepared to fight.  I do not have to believe the first thing thrown at me, but can fight back with the words that He has spoken over me.  I am choosing to believe His word over the words of the joy suckers in my life.  This is going to be a horrendous battle, but I am going to have God-given victory. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I have lived for what seems to be a long time.  I know many have lived longer, and consider me very young.  I get that, and that is totally true.  And, for the most part, I am totally young.  Just my feelings...  :)

I became a Christian so young I don't even really remember ever not being one.  So over the course of 27 years, that is a lot of praying, learning and walking in faith.  Anyway, over the last few months, maybe its been a process of years, I have really learned what it means to pray.  And not to just pray, but to wait, listen and just trust.  I am not saying I have it all figured out at all.  I have just given up.  I gave up what I want to happen for what God wants to happen.  I mean, why would I even want what I want when what He has planned is so much better?  Ten or eleven years ago, what I wanted was a married life, no kids, a dog or two, a job I loved, and partying on the weekends.  Yeah, you see how amazing Cil's plan was, right?  I am so happy and blessed that God knew what was really deep down in my heart.  I love kids.  I can't imagine not having them.  Three is sometimes a lot, but I would never trade a single one of them, so I guess three is great, more could be better, but I am so not going there.  I just think it is funny.  I used to make decisions based on what Cil wanted.  Cil wants this, so Cil does that.  Cil wants that, so Cil does this.  And none of it ever worked for my good.  Some of the not-so-good did have amazing parts, but...

I just love the way I can pray now, knowing that if what Cil wants doesn't happen it is because God has something way better in store for me.  I have been so longing for a new car.  My PT Cruiser is just a tad lot small for me, three gorgeous little girls, and all of our junk.  I know how to budget, I know what I can afford, however, God's answer continues to be wait.  And, it is frustrating.  But I know God has something perfect for me in mind, obviously not for right now, but for when it will be perfect for me. 

So, I have all these little things that I think I need or want, and I have found such contentment in just waiting to see what God will do.  I have been kinda getting out of my comfy spots and doing things that are just not me.  And God.  :)  He is kinda sorta amazingly awesome in the sneaky ways he works.  I obey, He works.  I look for him, he comes to me.  Every single direction I look right now I see his fingerprints.  My kids, my job, my old car situation, everything.  I wish I had some incredible word tonight, other than how amazing God is, cause I have said that a few times already in this post.  Maybe I should change the title?? 

I guess I said all of that to say this: I have been praying about something, a few people know exactly what, most don't, and no I am not quite ready to divulge my heart.  I do not have an answer yet.  But I sit here knowing that God's plan is incredible.  I know this verse, but love the way I read it today from The Message: No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it - What God has arranged for those who love him.  (1 Corinthians 2:something <--- gotta love the message for grouping several scriptures together, I have no clue what the actual passage is).  So, if Cil has this plan, dream, longing, and God says not yet, not now, not ever, I see this to mean his plan is far beyond anything I can imagine for me.  So this trust thing has suddenly been made so easy.  If God chooses to not allow something to happen, it isn't because he doesn't love me, because he does.  Jeremiah 31:3 says "God says, I've never quit loving you and never will.  Expect love, love, and more love!"  God is not a mean God.  He loves us.  So, if he sends something different than I asked for, so be it.  His plan, not mine.

I ran tonight.  For the third time in a week I ran 3 miles in right around 30-35 minutes.  And, instead of immediately rejoicing, I got mad at myself.  This was typical for the old Cil.  Do something that should cause celebrating and excitement and instead berate and minimize what I did.  I found fault that I had to walk up "monster mountain" instead of bounding up it with endless energy.  Silly.  I know.  I let the old monster creep in and criticize a moment of victory.  Almost immediately, I felt something within me creep up, something kind and warm reminding me of something really important.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  If my legs can't run up a hill just yet, they will because I am wonderfully made.  I can do all things (including that ridiculously stupid hill) with the strength of Christ flowing through me.  I had a great time tonight.  I walked into the house and for some reason felt completely unimportant, not valued as a mom, woman or friend.  This was completely out of line, and I am so aware of it.  It is amazing what happens when you know enough scripture to push those thoughts away and out, when you know who you are in Christ, and what exactly He did just for me.  Well, and everyone else, but would've just for me, if needed.  Anyway, I was amazed at how much ground I gained tonight with myself.  With just some simple words, my whole mindset was set right again.  I don't have to allow my mind free reign over my spirit.  I have the ability to not only trust God with my prayers, but also my well-being and confidence.

Lastly, I read something in this incredible book I am reading and I wanted to share.  I am a recovering perfectionist, more recovery is likely needed, because it is part of who I am.  Anyway, this really hit me hard: "I know perfectionism.  She calls my name and says 'You will never be good enough,' and sometimes I listen.  I cower in a corner.  Or I endlessly run.  But it's always about fear.  Then these words stop me in my tracks, grab me by the heart, and invite grace to speak instead: Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18)  I don't have to be perfect.  I only need to be perfectly loved.  And I am.  So are you." (taken from You're Already Amazing, by Holley Gerth)  So, this week the challenge for myself is to remember I am perfectly loved and do not need to fear my insecurities, imperfections or inabilities because those things will steal my joy.  So happy for the incredible things God is showing to me right now! 

You're Already Amazing is written by Holley Gerth.  I strongly recommend it to anyone who has ever wondered about her self-worth or identity in Christ.  This book has really changed my thought processes.  It is amazing!  :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012


The last three days have been so up and down I almost can't explain what I am feeling.  It is so strange, because I am experiencing so many whirlwinds of emotion, and yet underneath can't help but to feel blessed and thankful for everything that I have, seen and unseen. 

I met with a fairly large group of women last night, where we talked about brokenness.  Some of the ladies there were struggling with so much of what I have been through, and it really started to get to me.  I sat there and struggled so much with the way I felt, and hearing them talk about how frustrated, angry and upset they were almost brought it all back to me.  I wanted to let the anger and hatred completely overtake me.  However, that isn't God working in me.  I know that. 

Sitting there last night, I felt like such a total failure.  This feeling was completely crazy, as there is no reason to feel that way.  I have three amazingly awesome, intelligent, gorgeous little girls.  I sat there wondering how many people thought I had it all together.  I sat there, berating myself for feeling mad, disappointed, and lonely.  I am so hard on myself and I hate that about myself, but am unsure of how to move past it.  Instead of feeling excited about where I am and how far I have come, I was angry with myself last night for not trying harder or longer, or...  In times where I feel tired, restless and disappointed with what I am today, I tend to wonder where I would be if I had stuck it out.  Would he have eventually come around?  The answer is no.  I know that in my head.  My heart still crosses that bridge every now and again.  Especially when special holidays come around. 

The girls are gone this weekend.  I was so fortunate to share Good Friday with them.  It was really neat to be able to share the reason behind why we were out of school.  However, the Easter egg hunts, special dresses and shoes, watching their excitement over finding eggs in the morning, all of those things will be different for them (and me) this year.  I am finding it difficult to not just sit down and cry over the things I am missing, instead of focusing on those many amazing blessings I have today. 

I am so incredibly thankful for women who are open and honest enough to share little bits and pieces of their lives.  I am even more thankful to discover I am not the only person to make a poor choice and land in something so massive I can't get out of it by myself.  Once again, I am even more thankful that the blood of Jesus covers it all.  While the sad little moments come and go this weekend, I am going to really try and focus on the facts first on the fact that this weekend represents the most monumental event in history.  Then, I will focus on the facts that I am safe.  I am happy.  I am so blessed.  I am protected.  I am wanted.  I am loved.  Easier said than done, but still gonna work on it. 

Hope this post finds each of you with loved ones celebrating the resurrection of Jesus!  Happy Easter, everyone! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Through the Eyes of a Child

I had one of those days today.  You know the type.  My alarm never went off, the girls didn't want to wear what I needed them to wear, and today was a self-inflicted deadline I wasn't looking forward to.  By 7:05, I was ready to call in sick, pull the covers back up over my head and go back to sleep.  I hate days like this.  It is days like this I can feel depression, regret, self-pity and complete anger seep in and take control.  I pretty much hate days like this. 

After determining that I couldn't bail out on my responsibilities (and that was really a temptation, as all of my kids overslept with me), I put on my pretend happy face and got moving.  Why do we as people feel the need to put on a face that is so fake everyone sees through it but you?  I struggled all morning, sitting on the brink of tears.  Finally, a friend led us in prayer at work, and I lost it.  Immediately, peace overtook me.  Why do we feel like praying for peace and wisdom is a sign of failure or weakness?  I don't understand, because as soon as I allow God's peace to wash over me, I feel completely weightless, like I could literally float through air.  I am so thankful that I have learned I can have that blessing anytime I need it.  Even when I am not perfect. 

Anyway, this is really the part I wanted to share, because it made my day.  I am so blessed to have a job I absolutely love.  The kids I get to teach make my life so much happier.  I can struggle with junk at home, go to work, and come home completely forgetting the struggles that will be there waiting for me.  Anyone that has a heart for kids will completely agree how valuable working with kids is.  Ok, off track again, I was in my classroom prepping for my kiddos to arrive, and looking pretty awful.  I had total red eyes from crying, my makeup was gone, and my hair was totally flat, as I had to opt out of my shower this morning.  One of my students' moms came in and said she had to tell me a story.  Her little guy was so excited about going to school today.  When she asked him why, he told he because he had the prettiest teacher.  The weight of the world fell off of my shoulders.  This little guy didn't see the streaked makeup, the blotchy eyes, or the flipping-out-at-all-the-wrong-angles hair-do I was sporting.  He saw Ms. Cil, the prettiest teacher. 

This really made me think on and off all day about the way God sees us.  Yeah, he really sees us.  He knows all of the horribly evil thoughts and plans I was thinking about regarding some situations happening in my life right now.  He knows I struggle with fear, anger, and regret.  He knows that if I allow it, my past haunts me.  However, he doesn't use those things against me.  He just kinda wraps his arms around us and says, "You know, its ok.  I have you.  I have your fears.  I have your hurts.  I have your back, too, and your heart.  Just let this all go.  It really doesn't matter.  I love you for you.  Not for what you can do for me, but just for you.  I love you in spite of your mistakes, your worries and those extra pieces of chocolate you snuck from the candy dish.  Let these things go and see what I can do.  I will fill you with peace.  I will help you walk in wisdom and courage.  I will give you the strength you need to finish this battle.  Cause, you see, I have already won it.  I know the rest of the story.  And, I love you anyway."

So, today, I am so thankful for the most adorable mohawked little boy I know.  I am thankful his momma shared with me, and most of all, I am thankful that God can use a totally random funny story to completely change my thought process.  I am gonna go to bed tonight one really happy teacher.  :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Disney and Beyond

The girls and I had an incredible spring break trip to Disney World.  We made some amazingly incredible memories.  I feel so fortunate to be able to be on my own and still not have to give up the silly little luxuries. 

So much is happening with life right now, I don't even know where to start.  I feel so amazing and blessed.  In the not so distant past, I never thought I would feel as great about life as I do right now.  While I hate the "single" part, I am pretty thankful for the experiences and new faces I am enountering. 

I can finally start to see the girls' personalities again.  Sara went through an intense angry period.  She hated life.  She hated me, she hated her sisters.  The stinky part, was she had no problem telling anyone that.  It really broke my heart.  As a mom, I often feel like part of my job is to make their lives easier and happier.  I made a decision that literally ripped her world apart.  I made the decision knowing the sadness she would go through.  I am so happy that with a little patience and a lot of love I am starting to see glimpes of the young lady she is becoming.  She has started taking on responsibilities in the house, almost joyfully.  She loves to help me with Jessica.  She has started helping with the dishes and taking out trash, again, without complaint.  I am so thankful for that.  I know it doesn't seem like much, but for her, this is huge.  And I am so so thankful.  She is going to come out of this a young lady filled with hope and excitement for her future.  I am so excited to be her mom right now.  :)

Cassie has turned four, and is starting to go through some anxieties.  I am hoping it is just part of turning four, and not part of real fear.  She is taking an active role in learning, though, and soaks it all in.  I am really proud of the progress she is making.  Jessie is totally two.  Everything is mine, no and hitting.  She is a sweet girl, but only when she wants to be.  And, she doesn't like boys.  It makes me laugh, because she says she doesn't even love Jesus, because he is a boy.  I know she doesn't mean it, but it still makes me laugh.  She is such a stinker. 

I am really excited about so many things.  Life is always changing and slightly chaotic, but I am really happy with it.  I am meeting new people and embracing different challenges than I ever thought I would.  I am definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, and am almost enjoying this season of stretching and growing.  It is difficult and frustrating at times, but I cannot become the person God wants me to be if I don't ever change the things I allow to happen or affect me.  Change requires growth.  It is hard and uncomfortable, but the journey is even more amazing because of it.  Can't wait to see where his hand leads us in the next few weeks!