Be strong and courageous

 (*disclaimer--I love my life, I love my husband, I love my kids, we are not having major issues, just the ups and downs of life, and the apprehension of the unknown, etc. please do not comment that I need to be committed to the rubber room or suggest my life is falling apart*)

It's been quite stressful around here lately, as we wait for the banks to finalize their loan approvals, and lawyers to send paperwork where it needs to go. Our current home's final sale and closing should have been signed 3 weeks ago. Of course there's a lot of finger pointing from all the lawyers and no one knows what's really going on, since all it requires now is the buyer's signature.   It makes us edgy, irritated, etc. I know the boys feel it and act accordingly, sadly. Besides the fact that we're half packed up, or maybe more like 3/4 packed and they're getting bored and the weather hasn't cooperated for outside play much.

 I had a breakdown/breakthrough today.  I was at the end of my rope, with feeling like a crap mom, bad person, etc. I yelled, and carried the boys to their room and said we were all on a time out. Just begging God for some help here, berating myself for being such a bad mom, for acting like a drill sergeant lately, trying to figure out how to get a break from somewhere, anywhere.. Opened my Bible and it opened to Joshua 1. Of course "Be strong and courageous" hits me. How does this fit tho?

It says:  No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I pulled out: I will be with you, I will never leave you, lead these people (children), keep the book on your lips (bible) meditate on it, do NOT be discouraged, God is with you wherever you go; as keywords for me at this time.  Poignant for me because I have been saying "how can I raise these kids, when I seem to fail so often?" And questioning our decision of the house with the area and being "alone" again. But BE STRONG and COURAGEOUS, he's with me, always, and he will help me and he will lift me up to lead/raise these kids he's given me.

I looked up the definitions of 'strong' and 'courageous'.


1.having, showing, or able to exert great bodily or muscular power; physically vigorous or robust: 
2.accompanied or delivered by great physical, mechanical, etc., power or force: a strong handshake; 
3.mentally powerful or vigorous: 
4.especially able, competent, or powerful in a specific field or respect:
5.of great moral power, firmness, or courage: strong under temptation.


possessing or characterized by courage;  brave: a courageous speech against the dictator.
(brave: possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.)
It also said: gritty, tough, hardy, resolute, assured, undaunted, fortitude, as synonyms under definition.
Whoa..hmm...?  Mentally powerful. Able, competent. Gritty, resolute, assured. I need these things. I don't need to be lifting weights and muscularly strong; I don't see any dragons that need slaying-just the figurative ones.  I feel like in the past few years, I had to be strong. I had to hold pieces and people and family and life together. But, it was just doing the motions, not feeling, not really strong.  I kind of lost my role and myself when other family life fell apart, and threats of defects in an unborn child hit. Things hit me harder than I expected. I had to grieve my expectations of the future, and I also forgot to tend to me. Easy to do when you're a wife, mother, daughter, sister, employee, and who knows what else, wiping noses and bums all day, while trying to fold 4 baskets of laundry and feed all the pets along with people. I tended all those titles but, at times, forgot the most important: me. And while I don't need to, or want to be, front and center (I've never liked that) I do need to take some time for me. And I need to stop being so hard on myself.  
Let me tell myself that one again. Stop being so hard on myself.
I realized that I put way more pressure on myself (thanks to some reminders from a great friend) than anyone else puts on me.  I marked the line so high, that even I can't reach it.   Why? Who knows. I've always loved seeing that red A+ on my papers. I've loved being one of the few to get 100% on every spelling test. And it morphed on into motherhood and other areas.  Social media/networks do not help, not one single bit. All it does is pit mothers against each other, pressuring them to compete, to come up with the best craft, outfit, made-from-scratch meal, pinning the most and creating the most pinterest crap (I still refuse to fall into that) and posting perfect family outings with matching outfits and whatever.  I told Kian, what I need to tell myself, one day as he was upset Karter beat him at something:  "There will always be someone who is smarter, faster, taller, better at something than you. And really, it doesn't matter, because you will do the best you know how, and that's still winning." 
Sappy, cliche, sure.  But, in the end it's true.  I need to be the best ME, that I can be. Not the best mother, not the best cook, not the best crafty lady, not the best whatever title everyone on social networking is vying to be this week.  (and it's subconscious I think for most.) So, it's going to be hard.  Because I know I have a competitive streak in me, quietly, and I use that to judge myself, I'm going to have some struggles.  But, as I read these passages, as I wrote things down in my "random writing notebook" that were coming to me: to use care- with myself and my kids and husband; to focus on immediate relationships and moments instead of having perfection, cultivating them much like plants, not soldiers. 
And I did something probably pretty odd to most of you.  I wrote those things down. Those ugly thoughts I have: failure, bad mom, envy, guilt, anger.  Then, I burned them. One by one, with a match, over the sink. It was satisfying actually, to see them go up in flames. It doesn't mean I won't have days where we will struggle.  It doesn't mean I won't still have guilt on days I yell too much or end up giving someone a swat.  It doesn't mean I won't get a little jealous and annoyed at other people's "luck and good fortune" (whatever you want to call it).  It means, I need to LET. IT. GO.  
My purpose is not the same as anyone else's.  I need to be strong and courageous in the areas, in my whole life, in every role.  Gritty-sometimes it takes lots of elbow grease to keep up relationships, a house, etc.  Resolute--standing my ground, enforcing consequences to yet one more tantrum and sassy outburst. Vigorous--meeting each day with positive energy and fullness.  Assured--that He's got my back, that my path is the one I'm supposed to be on, and assured--having peace and complete trust in that- and in myself.

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