anger management, challenging kids, connecting with your children, self care, support, Uncategorized

What to do When You Don’t Like Your Children

I’m going to tell you, in one sentence, the exact synopsis of a whole bunch parenting books you will probably want to read.  

It’s developmentally appropriate for your children to be jerks.  It’s not developmentally appropriate for you to be a jerk.  

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Here’s a little secret…you probably are going to be a jerk at times anyway.

In reality, us parents are also growing and developing.

This…is why parenting is so challenging.

Of course, being a parent is completely amazing and yada, yada, yada….but, common!  If a parent tells you they always get it right, they have it all figured out all of the time, their children are perfect little angels, you should never, I repeat, never, trust that person.  At least until they’ve had some counselling for their denial and lies.  Haha!

Children are growing, learning, and their brains are not fully developed.  They fall, make messes, have a difficult time sorting through their emotions and processing all that is going on.  They are in constant transition with the new skills they are learning, sorting through what they are good at, what everyone is trying to teach them or get them to do and children often have some large questions they are asking and working through in their hearts.  It’s really not easy to be a kid.

Us parents also have a whole lot of transition, large questions we are dealing with, stressors and especially when we are new parents, we are learning along side of our children what is developmentally appropriate for them.  We are bombarded with voices, opinions, questions and judgements.  It really is not easy to be a parent.

But, it is worth each and every challenge.

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However, what is a mother or father to do when they are struggling to feel love toward one or two children in particular?

Of course you love them.  You carried them in your womb, or perhaps you adopted and carried them in your heart and went through the labor of brining them home. They are eternally part of you.

But, you are tired.  You are beyond that, actually.  You are absolutely exhausted.  Your kid is driving you crazy with their backtalk, their lack of boundaries, poor decisions, sibling fights, grabbing and constant demands for attention. Perhaps they are off the walls with energy, plain weird, loud, and for goodness sake, they are always hungry!

I have been there…when one of my kids, more so than the others, is really testing me and I’m struggling to even want to be around them.  Once in a while it comes up again, but not as often as it used to.

I remember when I first realized this.  I had just had my third child and I was feeling overwhelmed with all the demands of having three kids under the age of 4.  My oldest child was driving me nuts.  She hated having a bath, never picked anything up, and when we did crafts and painting, it ended up looking like a bomb had gone off.  She was an early talker and an early back talker too.  On top of it, I was babysitting other kids, doing after school care to help make ends meat and every ideal I had as a mother was being challenged.  She was the one I had the most difficulty with.  She needed attention, and I didn’t have it in me to give her all that she needed.

Then one day at church, my answer came.  An upbeat song came on and everyone was dancing around the room.  My newborn baby was sleeping in his car seat, my two year old was with her daddy and my eldest daughter tugged on me to dance.  I picked her up, twirled her around the room and joined in the celebration with her.  We were laughing and dancing and God gave me a feeling of love that I had been missing with her for the past while.  As we danced for a long while, I heard in my spirit, the way to overcome feelings of disconnect is to connect as much as possible.

If you have a child who is driving you crazy, a child who you don’t want to be around, THAT is the child YOU need to connect with the most.  

THAT child is the one who needs the most hugs, kisses, time on your lap, etc.  She is the one who needs to feel the most loved, like you would lay down everything for her.  It is about her, but mostly, it is about you.

When we are challenged with a particularly difficult child, sometimes what is being revealed is not what is in their heart but what is in ours.

And something magical has the chance to take place.  A heart transformation in us.  However, it is a process.  It takes time and effort.  Here are some practical tips for your journey of connecting with your child.

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  1. Take time for you.   If you are exhausted, you are going to not be able to engage with your child very well.  If you’re not sleeping well, reach out to someone who can come help you take a nap during the day.  Then use the time you feel most refreshed to connect to the challenging child.
  2. Refuse to let anything in YOUR heart come between your relationship with your child.  Forgive them for being a brat, for not handing themselves well, or for not listening to you. Spend time with God laying down your feelings of anger.  DO NOT bury those feelings down and deny they are there.  Allow them to come and have compassion on yourself.  It’s not an easy boat you are in.
  3. If you’re pregnant and/or hormonal, have extra grace on yourself.  You’re body is putting you through A LOT! I really hope you have some help around you during this season.  It’s wonderful but for me, was always an extra challenge to maintain self-control and feelings of love when I was tired and sick all the time.
  4. Get into a bedtime routine.  It doesn’t matter what time bedtime is, do three things.  Get ready for bed, read them a story and pray for them, with them listening to you.  If you didn’t get a chance to connect during the day and this is it, and this is still a very powerful thing to do.  If at bedtime you constantly feel tired (like when you’re pregnant or going through crisis), try to start earlier the next night or perhaps do story time and prayer time before supper so it’s a shorter process at night.
  5. Find what brings your child alive and do that together.  Then do whatever brings you alive together.  For me, I love nature walks. When my kids come with me, I always feel connected to them.  We usually have a great time.
  6. Keep trying.  It may not happen overnight, but over time, you’ll find your heart changed.  Your relationship will also change because your child will respect you more and want to follow your lead.
  7. Realize you are not alone.  I think this is a very common issue with parents.  Our children are designed to push our buttons and challenge us.  These challenges are what causes us to grow and become better than we were.
  8. Last but not least, have compassion. On yourself, on your child, on the situation.  Because, like I said, parenting is not easy but neither is being a kid.

You are loved.  You are the perfect parent for your child.  You’ve got this.

Kelly Willington

 

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday, Identity, Mothering, support, Tough Times

Support in the Rain

I’m part of a community called Five Minute Friday.  You are given a word prompt and five minutes to write on that word!  Today’s word is “support”.

I was pregnant with my fifth child. You know, when you’re in your first trimester and you feel overemotional, sick, tired, grumpy.  I loaded my six year old, my four year old and my two year old onto the Halifax City bus.  The stroller my two year old was in accidentally bumped the toe of an obese lady sitting at the very beginning of the seats. Her foot was over the line but I apologized sincerely and sat down, exhausted.  We had just come from visiting my son who was sick in the hospital.  It was supper time and everyone was hungry.  The bus was packed.  Standing room only.

Two minutes into the ride, the lady, very loudly, said. “You are so ignorant.  You don’t care about people who are handicapped.  You did that on purpose.  You ran over my foot and now it hurts and you are a (insert insult here…I can’t remember the specifics).  I smiled and said “I’m so sorry. I really did not mean to hurt you.”

“Yes you did!”  She proclaimed loudly and started with her insults again.

My bus drive wasn’t long, but it felt like forever.

Finally, I stood up for myself, with tears running down my face.  I got off the bus at my stop. It seemed appropriate that it would be raining buckets outside.

Something amazing happened though.  A young asian lady, who spoke no english, came over to me and put her umbrella over my head and walked with me, in complete silence to my apartment.  We hugged.  She left.  I have not seen her since.

To me, that is support.  Random support, but it doesn’t matter.  She bore my burden and covered me with grace.  It doesn’t matter what kind of support you receive…be it regular, inconsistent, often or not.  If it’s positive support, you have all you need.  You are rich, rich, rich indeed.

STOP.

You know, they say that the best indicator of a couple lasting for a lifetime is the kind of support they have around them.  If the people around them believe they should be together and love them through the difficulties, then they are more likely to last and thrive.

I say it’s also a good indicator of the kind of parent you will be and the kind of children you will raise.

Sometimes we have to work to build community and supports but I have found that God provides those good things, in his perfect timing.  I am so grateful for all the people who have been, are, and will be supportive of my family.  Some of those people have been supportive through books and blogs but they are still there.  Encouraging us to run the race well.

And so, even though I may not have a lot of material possessions or money, I am the most wealthy girl anyone has ever known.  Because I am loved and supported.

If you are supported, you also are the most wealthy, ever. 

I’m not focusing on what I don’t have anymore. Because I’m too grateful for what I do have.

What kind of supports are you thankful for?  Thanks so much for reading and for your “support”!  Love you, always.  IMG_4159IMG_4089DSCF5696

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2  

 

 

 

Anger, Mothering, surrender

I Surrender (The Anger Series)

I’ve been thinking a whole lot about anger….not just my own, but collectively, why so many of us struggle in this area.  I’ve honestly put off writing because, well, I’m not perfect.  But, I have had some victory in this area.  At least, I’m not where I once was.  I’m not at square one, but I still need to work on a few things.

This morning my black, Miniature Schnauzer puppy, Russell, woke me up bright and early to go outside.  Exactly 4:50 a.m.  Sigh.  I like sleep so much.  But, I’ve been waking up at 5:30 a.m for about 6 months now (most of the time) and I absolutely love waking up that early (well, most of the time).  This morning, it was too close to 5:30 for me to warrant going back to bed. I’ve lived long enough now to know that if I’m woken up during my beauty sleep, for whatever reason, (other than children puking), maybe God has something to say.

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As I grabbed my cup of water (trying to give up coffee folks…I know, it’s sad) and settled down to a song I had in my head “You Can Have It All Lord“, I knew God was saying a few things to me about this whole issue of anger.  And, seriously, whatever God is saying is so much better than anything I could say on my own, so I’m going to share it with you all this morning….

It’s not so much about anger, as it is about surrender.  

That’s right.  Let it sink in.  Let all that condemnation about you being so angry fall off.  Really, what are we supposed to feel when our three year old dumps melty peanut butter all over the floor, then toothpaste the next day, then ranch dressing a few days later, than another tube of toothpaste and finally (hopefully) a whole bag of sugar on the floor…all within two weeks.  Are we supposed to be all sugar and sweet and everything neat? NO.

How about when your children are fighting, again, over pretty much nothing.  Am I supposed to suppress anger and ignore them?  Maybe sometimes I do.

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What about when your kids are being snails getting ready for school in the morning, when they delay in what they are supposed to be doing, when they refuse to be helpful, give you super powered attitude, or when they themselves react in anger toward a sibling.  Are my feelings supposed to be soft?  I don’t think God wants me to fake it with my children.  No.  I know what God wants.

What God wants is all of me.   He wants surrender.  Surrender so we can receive the ability to possess self-control.  

I feel God say, it’s not so much about feeling angry on the inside as much as it is about controlling that angry response.  It’s about self-control.  However, there is no self-control without surrender first. 

Friends, let the condemnation for feeling angry come off.  There is no condemnation in Christ.  None.  He is not upset with us.  But, he does want to work with us.  He wants to strengthen our self-control through surrendering to the greater work of the Holy Spirit.

The very definition of surrender is “an agreement to stop fighting, hiding or resisting, etc., because you know you will not win or succeed.”  

Honestly, take it from me.  Angry reactions are not working in this home.  They are only making angry children follow after their parents.  We cannot win with angry responses.  We can win with Christ though.  

I believe surrender is something that is cultivated in private and then flows over into daily life, as we continue to trust in God.  We CAN trust God with the outcome.  We can trust God that He is working in our children’s lives.  He loves our kids more than we do.  When we surrender to his ways, instead of trying to control our children and everything that might go wrong, we become parents who model peace, even in the midst of the storm.

And friends, I long for peace to be the forceful substance of my home.  It doesn’t matter how nicely my home is decorated, how wonderful it smells or the food on my plate.  Peace makes all of it pleasant.  Even the stink and dirt can be more pleasant with a spoonful of peace.

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I’m going to work less on anger and more on surrender.  Self-control is a fruit of surrendering to someone greater than I.  That someone is Jesus, who never condemns, never is critical or judgemental, but instead lovingly shows us how it is done when he surrendered to the cross.  The cross is covering us on our journey to experience true freedom from angry, outward responses.  The cross is key to our victory.  Whenever I want to yell, roll my eyes, get that mad duck face on (yes, I do that sometimes), cross my arms or lecture, I’m first going to remind myself to go to the cross of surrender.  It’s power is unlimited, unmatched and unceasing for those who surrender to it.  

Then, we can boldly and with confidence enter the throne of Grace, where there is mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).  These places are real, folks.  It’s not a fairy tale.  They are more real than the chair I’m sitting on.  Let us go there, together, sweet friends, and find all the help and victory we need.  For our children, for our grandchildren, for our legacy, for our Lord.  Amen.

 

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Love,

Kelly

Anger, Five Minute Friday

Neighbour (Five Minute Friday)

I’m part of a group called Five Minute Friday , where they give a word prompt and you write on that word for five minutes.  Today’s word prompt was “neighbour”.  Enjoy and leave a comment! 

I stomped up the stairs to my neighbours house when I was four months pregnant with my first.  I was so angry.  Those 18 year old “rig pigs” were driving Ferrari cars, carrying big screen T.Vs into their house, bringing home girls, having parties and all of the judgements I was making towards them now had a firm hold when they did something unthinkable.  They smoked.  It was a non smoking home and we were renting the basement suite, they were in the upper level.  The smoke came to my apartment and I was already so sick, I could barely function. I was overcome with nausea and anger that they would even dare.  So, I marched up there and confronted my neighbours.  I was not nice.

They denied it even happened.  I KNEW it did.  I could smell it, it was making me feel more sick.

Fast forward 11 years….my next door neighbours have done the unthinkable.  They have been unreasonable with my kids.  They yelled at my son for driving his scooter in their driveway, and then told me I needed to try harder.  Yes, because when you’re feeding a baby, cooking supper, and making sure your toddler doesn’t have a temper tantrum while he’s waiting for supper and your three older kids are outside playing, I should be trying harder to be a good mom.   Oh, and when your three year old touches the tip of his foot on their sprinkler, from the sidewalk, while you’re at the door talking to another neighbour, and they yell, loudly and angrily, from their house to have a conversation about boundaries with the said three year old, you recognize that maybe, just maybe these type of people are going to be a bit more of a challenge.

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The difference in these 11 years has nothing to do with a change in environment but instead, I can live with my neighbours because I can live with myself.  I’ve grown to love myself a whole lot more and judge myself a whole lot less.

Was I impressed with my neighbours?  No.  I was upset for them yelling at my kids about something so ridiculous.  I was upset for them accusing me of not trying hard.  BUT, this time, although there has been one conversation, it was not unkind and did not end in yelling.  I’m not sure how they think of me, how they’ve been judging since the said conversation or the other sprinkler incident, but it doesn’t matter anymore.  I can let these incidence’s go quickly now.  I can surrender them to Jesus and move on.  I can know that the opinions of others have no reflection on me, but instead reflect the one who is holding the opinion.

To love your neighbour well, you must first love yourself.  Love who you are, who God made you to be, and where you are.  Then, you’ll really love your neighbour, instead of just practicing kindness and performing for them.  

Go ahead, love who you are. The world needs you too. 

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Love,

Kelly

Uncategorized

If Mama Ain’t Happy (the anger series) 

I want ya’ll to know that I’m writing this first paragraph, last. As I’ve written this post, I’ve yelled once, triggered from an 8 year old’s terrible attitude toward a simple task. I’ve stopped myself from yelling a bunch more times and it’s not even 10:00 am.  The struggle is real folks. I know I’m noalone….now onto the real post…

I post a lot about being a happy and joyful mom. But, I will be the first to tell you that I struggle, daily, with anger and reactions to my kids’ mistakes and bad judgements.  I’ve been crying out to God for 8 years, since my first child was two and my second was new born. Eight loooong years of my mistakes and my heart being exposed to these precious little people. 

Sometimes, in certain seasons, I feel I am winning in this battle. I’m patient, can keep a clear head in moments of setback and chaos and can calm myself. Other days I feel I’m back to square one. Lately, The Hubster and I have been making more of an effort, together, to not yell. Frankly, yelling is scary for the kids and makes our home feel terrible.  But, the girls have both commented how they see that we are trying to stop and how it has been better.

But, a truth has been emerging, slowly, during these eight years of heart grief over the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve come to the realization that God is very interested both in heart healing and in the process of it all. He is more than able to heal someone of anger in an instant, but the battle is not about anger. 

It is about exposing the lies that you believe. 

The lies can go deep. They are often in our subconscious. But, God has a way of uncovering the buried thoughts, exposing the bones, and making those bones fill with truth and dance with life. 

Anger is a symptom of lies we believe. These lies can be ones that run deep within our culture. It doesn’t matter what tribe or nation you were born in, we all struggle with lies and anger to some degree. 

But take heart for Jesus has overcome. You are more than a victor through Christ. And your children are in the palm of his hand. 

I’m going to do an anger series and uncover some of the lies I have believed about myself, motherhood and others. Maybe you can join me on this journey? Anger is a theif and I’m here to stop it from being passed on to my children’s children. I cannot do this alone. 

All human help is useless. With God’s help, we will do mighty things. Psalm 60:12

In the end, what we need, friends, is not another parenting book, another blog post on how to stop anger, another seminar or sermon, we desperately need the love of Jesus to fill us to overflowing and the Holy Spirit to expose, in the moment, what lies we are believing. 

Accountability and friendship are great companions on this journey, but no one can walk this road for you. It’s straight up Jesus and you.  

Join me as I talk about some of the lies that I’ve battled and am killing. I’m doing it for my family. Why are you? 


Know you are loved, fully, right where you are in your journey.  You are loved so, so much. The more we can let that truth sink in, the easier this will be. 

Love always, 

Kelly

Identity, Mothering, Uncategorized

I’ve become a Dummy Mommy

There are many things I am good at and love to do, but I’ve been noticing how, over the last 10+ years, I’ve become so immersed in the parenting world, I don’t really know what’s going on around me sometimes.  Honestly, it was not that long ago when I found out who Kim Cardashian was, and therefore learned about her whole family…I saw her on the cover of a magazine, standing in line at Shopper’s Drug Mart.  I asked the cashier who she was and she gave me this look…a look that said “have you been hiding under a rock? ” Sometimes being unaware is good, no? 

But, the world of technology has grown so much since I was pregnant with my firstborn. I had barely gotten to understand Myspace when Facebook showed up.  And, through the years so much has happened, but I’ve been busy changing diapers, breastfeeding, serving meals and wiping potty training butts. Can anyone out there relate? 

I’ve invested a lot of my time and energy into this family of mine. They are my inheritance after all. 

But you guys! Sometimes I feel like I’ve become a dummy mommy.  The one who has no clue of how to blog… I actually had to look up what a URL was the other day….(I still can’t figure out how to pin things or add links or whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing) I generally don’t know what’s happening in the news, unless my hubby talks to me about it, (which he does and he is absolutely brilliant, so therefore I am too, right?) so I do get a bit of the scoop…if I’m not trying to stay awake.  

But, it’s trying this blogging thing out that has made me feel like I don’t understand a lot of technology…I’m like the VCR grandparents of my generation…who couldn’t figure out how to get the movie to work in the VCR player. I subscribed to this lady who talks about how to grow your blog and it was like she was speaking another language to me.  So frustrating. 

But, ya’ll!  Does it really matter? Does this world need me to know who the Cardashians are?  Has knowing pop culture ever made anyone’s life richer? I’m thinking maybe not too many people can say that it has.  Am I writing to grow into a big blog? No! I’m writing because it’s a skill I wanted to develop. I actually am wanting to write an book more…(but I might be ancient before I figure that one out).  I’m writing to be a blessing to whoever and whenever.  I’m writing so my kids see their mom working in writing too, and maybe they’ll be inspired to write, even in the midst of chaos.  

In the end, our knowledge base and how many skills or facts we have understanding of, should not be part of our identity. For me, it has no bearing on who I am, or whose I am.

  I think God kind of likes it when we don’t know everything.  Then, we rely on him and not google to help us figure out where we are going and what we need to know.  I’m ok being a dummy mommy ( I know I’m not dumb.  You know what I mean right?  It’s someone whose head and heart is immersed in mothering and not much else for a time).  But I’m not okay to remain the same.  I want to grow in my faith, hope, love and whatever it is I need to understand to help my kids grow too. 

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you…. it make sure your faith is in God alone…” James 1:5

Guys, I need so much wisdom, it’s not even funny.  But, wisdom, not facts, is where it’s at.  The world needs us mothers to have wisdom and put our hearts into parenting. Then, hopefully we will release some amazing kids into the atmosphere.  Whether you’re a stay at home mom or you work your ass off outside the home too, this is always a good dream to have. 

So, thank you for reading this post and the blog, even though it it still such a work in progress.  Even though I have a hard time to find the time to consistently write.  Maybe one day, I’ll have amazing content twice a week, but for now, I’m just going to be myself and be okay to be a work in progress.  

Love you all!

Kelly

Grief, Uncategorized

Tug of War: The Pull of Grief

This wave hit me hard.  It wasn’t expected.  It was messy, tear-filled.  It put a blanket of darkness around me and my home for the evening.  Thank goodness for order out pizza and a sunny day so the kids could fool around in the backyard.  I went to my bedroom with the puppy and the baby and cried my heart out for a while before bedtime demanded my presence. 

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I once read some of a book with a sub-title “The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy.”  What a beautiful description.  But, I find grief is more like that game, Tug of War.  It’s not elegant like a dance.  It’s friggin’ messy and takes a lot of strength out of you.  At first, you’re just in the mud pit in the middle.  Then, God gives you a hand out of that pit and you take hold of this rope.  But, on the other end of the rope is grief and on your end is you and Jesus.  Actually, Jesus is everywhere, but sometimes you don’t see that.  It’s impossible to see when there is mud in your eyes. 

Eventually, you realize that God is giving you tools to bring you back to joy.  And he’s giving you a cloth to wipe your eyes.  Oh, but sometimes those tugs into the mud come unexpectedly strong and you’re right back in the pit.  It’s easier to get out of the pit the next time though, because you know to reach up to the strong hand of the presence of God.  Sometimes though, things are so deep around you, that you don’t need just his hand.  He actually gets in that pit with you, grabs you by your waist and lifts you out.  But not before a conversation, along with a few tears, right in the mud, where he convinces you that you no longer want to be in there.   

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One day, I don’t want to even have a hold of that rope.  I’m not sure if that day will ever come.  My life seems hard, messy, beautiful all at the same time.   I’m up and down and all around.  Sometimes I wonder if I have a mental disability (grief can make you feel stupid, crazy, and mimic short term memory loss).  I wonder if I can for even one more moment do this all on my own.  The fact is, I can’t.  I cannot raise these five children, and walk through everything by myself.  Yet, moving here to Red Deer, I am.  My husband and I are doing this thing alone.  And, I would never recommend it. 

Yet, God says to me…. “consider. it. joy.”  Here, I’ll give you the whole paragraph from the book of James.  “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a change to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” 

The weight of the first sentence is not on the word “joy”.  Instead, the weight is on the word “consider.”   Consider. it. joy.  The very definition of the word consider is “think carefully about something.”  When you are walking through grief, a crisis, an illness, or perhaps processing some very weighty information that affects your family, you do not feel joy.  Instead, you must pause and ponder it all with Jesus.  He whispers to us that there is a bigger art formation taking place.  That one day, we shall see and know in full, and we will be in awe of what Jesus was weaving and painting and forming all along.  That those splatters of mud from the pit, along with your tears, were making something stunning. 

I often want to paint, even though I have no skill in art.  But, our whole lives are a masterpiece. The tears, the grit, the falling, it’s all a part of it. 

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Keep moving forward.  Just one step at a time.  And, in time, we will see.  He is in it all.  With us, holding us, surrounding us.  He is never, even once, sitting on the sidelines watching.  He catches us with his hope.  He holds us with his love.

Do you know someone who is walking through grief?  A crisis?  Difficulty?  Embrace them with love.  You can represent the hands of the Father.  Do not judge them for their complaining.  Do not give them advice to “get over it”…or any advice at all!  Let them process it in their time.  Just sit with them, or offer them tangible help.  Bring them meals, fold their laundry, babysit if they have children.  And, remain silent.  Listen.  Pray.  There is no other way.  No human being can lift someone out of the pit.  Nothing you say can lift someone out.  But, your loving presence can give hope. 

Don’t stop giving hope.  Don’t stop giving courage.  Don’t stop giving them love.  All through your just being there. 

Don’t stop praying either.

Psalm 34:18 & 19 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.  He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

Psalm 40:1 – I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.IMG_0555

Love,

Kelly