Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Just give me the field

DSC_5094bwA few weeks ago I bought a cheap $3 lavender seed kit from the amazing everything use to be a dollar bin at Target.  Y’all I have bought these kits before and let my kids mess with them- total hands off project.  Nothing ever happens for us.  More than likely it is because we don’t actually water them or give them sunlight.  But I LOVE lavender so I was determined to make this one the exception to the rule.

I added water to the soil and planted the seeds per instructions.  Well kind of, I added all the seeds in the package instead of the 4-6 it suggested.  Rebel, I know.  Any way, I stuck it on the table where it would get sunlight and then actually watered it daily.  My kids helped remind me when the plant was dry and they would water it too.

“MOM, MOM, MOM!!!  This is growing” my kids were yelling in excitement.  Something growing that we planted- it wasn’t normal.  I enthusiastically said “I see!” as I tried to get as excited as they were.  But reality- I just want a lavender field.  Those sprouts are just the beginning but I want the finished product.  I know that the little progress I see, means we have a long way to go.

I watched as each of my kids looked at the tiny little pot with the tiny little sprouts and how they all were filled with such excitement and expectation.  They were excited and expecting of what was to come.

When God is growing us we need to be reminded that the growth is often slow.  It starts under the soil where we don’t actually see the growth.  Then the sprouts come up.  Those sprouts still need water and light.  They need patience and consistency.  Eventually we will have a lavender field that we get to harvest but even then, that field will always need tending.

DSC_5106ccI want to be like my kids watching those sprouts when God is growing me.  I want to be excited and expectant.  I want to marvel at the growth, no matter how small.  I want to keep watering the soil even when I don’t see the growth.  I tend to just want the lavender field.  I want to skip the waiting, the growing, the pruning.  I just want the pretty purple, fragrant field that I can harvest and enjoy.  But that is not reality.

God does His best work in the growing process.  I can get really discouraged when I know I am working but see very little progress.  But progress is progress, no matter how small.  Lets be excited when we see little sprouts of progress in our lives!  Celebrate them, get excited!  If you see a little sprout in your friend, celebrate with her!  Today I just want to encourage you to see the sprouts, thank God for how he is working beneath the soil, and be overjoyed at the progress!

 

My Story, Uncategorized

All the things

DSC_5123ccI have been wanting to update the blog a little bit.  When I started the blog over 4 years ago I thought my blog would be focused a lot around my family and that is where the name “marvelous meinardi” came from.  It has evolved and I wanted a name that reflected where I feel I am today in my writing.

Last week a friend text me and said she had a surprise for me.  When I saw her later that day she handed me a cute little bag that said “all the things” on it.  She was smiling big and although it was cute, I was confused.  I tried to hide my uncertainty, but I am sure  the confusion was written all over my face.  She seemed really excited about this gift and I was unsure why.   I started to think maybe it is because I always have a lot of stuff?

“I saw it and thought of you because that is your phrase!”

What?  My phrase?  Do I say that????

We happened to be at discipleship group and everyone in the room said YES!  We all laughed at the fact I was clueless to this.  How in the world do I say this often and have no clue??

Then it hit me- All the things is perfect for my blog!  I like to write whatever I feel is on my heart.  The topics range so, “all the things” is fitting!

By the way, I am now VERY aware when I say “all the things” and it seems I do in fact say this a lot!  Has this ever happened to you??

The blog is a work in progress but for now, it has a new name and  jessicameinardus.com is my new blog address!

As always, I appreciate all of my readers who come alongside of me on this journey!

Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Lets just adventure!

DSC_5009bw“Put those pillows back on the couch!!!”  I said in a very frustrated tone.  “but momma!!!! I need them to stay safe from the hot lava!” he cried back at me.  His face was saddened as he started to pick up the pillows.  I watched his disappointment and something changed for me, “never mind, leave the pillows, I don’t want you to step in hot lava!”

I like order.  I love a tidy house.  Being organized makes me incredibly happy.  Messes, disfunction, chaos, all cause me to be frustrated and sometimes can make me feel a little crazy.  But today I decided it wasn’t a big deal that my throw pillows were on the floor.  I can wash the covers if they get dirty.  I let the kids climb all over the couches, even though we normally say “stop climbing all over the furniture”.

adventureForcing him to put up the pillows was a big deal to him and I am glad I didn’t make him.  I watched as his imagination soared.  He invited his sisters on his adventure and I sat back and watched them laugh, then squeal when danger approached, and then celebrate when they made it to safety.  The smile on my face as I watched them could have never come from the couches being made up right with pillows perfectly placed.

I started to wonder how often I miss everyday joys because of some expectation I have set.  Obviously my kids need rules and boundaries and they need to obey me, but they also need room to let their imaginations take them to places fun and exciting.  I recently listened to a podcast on parenting with Bob Goff.  He said something along these lines:  Kids need less punishment and more adventure.  When I heard it, I wasn’t really sure what he meant.  But today, I think I get it.  I could get on to Harvey for using my pillows in the floor or I could let him go on an adventure!  There are times that this won’t work but I am confident I could relax a little bit more and allow more adventures!

DSC_4973bwMaybe you are the mom like me who likes things tidy, clean, organized, and the thought of letting your kids make messes stresses you out- this is for you momma!  I want to encourage you to find ways to relax and let your kids imagination and creativity run wild.  I haven’t mastered this but I am trying to find ways to do this without going crazy.  One thing I do is give boundaries with messy things.  Like letting them play play dough or do watercolors but they know to keep it on the placemat (this isn’t perfect and it is still messy but not as bad)  I try to ignore the mess until they are finished and then we just clean it up.  Also, we bought Ikea slipcover couches and that has been amazing!  If dirty feet or hands make a mess on the couch, I don’t even worry about it because I know I can wash it!   I am no where close to being good at this.  I also want to say that my house is rarely clean and organized, even though that is what I prefer.

If you are a mom who is really good at adventure and letting your kids run with creativity I would love your feedback on ways to do this!  We all have strengths and we should share and learn from each other!

Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Rise Up and Rebuild

rebuildblogRebuild.  I kind of feel like that word is coming to me over and over again.  I feel like God is continually whispering rebuild to me in so many areas of my life.  Rebuilding something almost seems daunting- it means taking something that already is and then making it new, which means work has already been done.  The Dictionary lists several meanings.  Some of the words used to describe rebuild are: repair, dismantle, reassemble, replace, restrengthen, reinforce, revise, reshape, reorganize.

I was studying in Nehemiah and the words “let us rise up and rebuild” in chapter 2, verse 18, stood out to me.  (If you aren’t familiar with Nehemiah, he hears about the condition of Jerusalem and he is heartbroken.  He finds out the walls are in rubble.  He decides to go and rebuild the city wall and the gates.  I would encourage you to read Nehemiah if you haven’t!)  Nehemiah sets out on a journey to rebuild what is broken.  He starts this quest with a heart that longs to see his heritage whole again and he completely trusts God with the journey and the outcome.  He just goes as a willing vessel.

Nehemiah arrives to find discouraged people and lots of opposition.  I think it would be so easy to just turn around and give up.  The place is a mess.  The people are a mess.  But Nehemiah tells his plans and encourages the people.  He relies on God the entire time, trusting Him.  When opposition comes, he ignores it and keeps going.  He finds a way to combat any negative circumstance.

I started thinking about this journey we are on as parents.  Everyday I feel like I struggle to keep going.  To keep fighting for the life I want for my kids.  It is exhausting.  Everyday there is something new saying “You can’t do this! This is just too hard!”  The truth is there are pains, difficulties, obstacles, heartache, you name it, we do and will face it!  If I want to raise kids who are strong in faith, trusting in God, who love others well, are confident in themselves and their ability, emotionally healthy, then I can’t quit.  I can’t stop.  No giving up.

There are so many things our kids are facing today that we didn’t face as children.  With the internet, social media, bullying, and pressures to “keep up” with the world, we have our work cut out for us to raise kids who are set apart in this world.  The more I learn about what our youth today are faced with daily,  the more it almost feels like the mold has been made.  I hear people say things like “this is just the way it is now”  and I know that it is really easy to believe that lie but it is just not true!  I do think it feels harder to do the work now to set boundaries that don’t look like everyone else’s, but I think in the long run, doing the hard work now is worth it!

After reading Nehemiah, here is what I learned and I want to remember daily in my journey:

  1. Rebuilding the wall didn’t happen in a day.  They weren’t able to accomplish their task in a day and I can’t either.  It takes persistence, consistency, and time to raise healthy kids.
  2. They faced difficulties.  They were constantly facing opposition throughout rebuilding and when we are trying to raise kids who look different than the world, we will face it too- so will our kids.  We will face trials on this journey.
  3. They were watchful and ready for the enemy.  They worked with a weapon in one hand and a tool in the other.  They were always watching for an attack and they were ready to defend, all while working at the task at hand.  The devil is always ready to distract us so we have to be watchful and ready.  When we are doing God’s work, the enemy will do what he can to keep us from it.
  4. The work is hard.  It isn’t easy to be set apart from this world.  We have to commit to do the hard work and keep going even when it isn’t easy.
  5. They were successful because they came together for God’s purpose.  We need to remember that as husbands & wives, moms & dads, we have power to come together for HIS purpose.  As a community we have the power to work together for HIS purpose.  As a church we have the power to come together for HIS purpose.  For our families, our legacy.
  6. They worked enthusiastically.  They found a way to be joyful and work with enthusiasm even though the work wasn’t easy and they constantly faced resistance.  When we keep our goal in mind, we can find joy in the hard things!
  7. They knew they were fighting for their families.  When we remember what is at stake- our kids, our grandkids, our great grandkids……. We are fighting this fight for our families!
  8. They told the opposition to hush!  They didn’t let distractions or temptations take them away from work.  They declared God’s goodness and kept working!  They were not about to let anything keep them from doing the work to rebuild.

Through studying Nehemiah, I feel so encouraged to rebuild a new mold for my kids, for my family.  To crush the pressures this world gives and replace them with God’s promises.  To commit to work together everyday with my husband to fight the enemy’s attacks and reinforce God’s goodness.   To revise the way I look at things.  Grasp the fact I  have a chance to reshape my kids future.  We can repair what is broken.  We have to remember it isn’t going to be easy, but investing in this is worth it.  Friends, we have the chance to say no to the lie that “this is just the way it is” and decide fight for something different!

 

Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Super Woman

 

superwoman“I just don’t know how you do it!”  That is a common phrase I hear.  Whether they are talking about the fact that I lived in a camper with 6 other people while we built our house, the fact that we homeschool with 5 kids, or how I manage day to day life with all we juggle.  I have been told I am superwoman or super mom but the reality is, I am just doing what I can with whatever the day brings!

I have friends in all stages of life.  Friends who aren’t married yet, some that are just married, some have been married for 50 years.  Friends without kids, friends just starting families, then some with 9 kids.  I have friends who work full time and some who stay at home.  I have friends who are retired and enjoying that season of life.  At any given time I can have a conversation with any of them and think “oh wow, I don’t know how you do/did that”.

I was talking with a friend about some things that are coming up in our life and she said “Bless you girl!  You are my superhero, I don’t know how you do it!”  But I know all that she has going on in her life currently and a lot of what she has dealt with in the past and I immediately thought “no way, YOU are the superhero!”  But then I thought- wait, we are all superhero’s in our own way!

To the woman battling with chronic illness day in and day out- YOU are super woman!

To the working mom who juggles all the stresses at work and at home- YOU are super woman!

To the stay at home mom who is knee deep in little ones- YOU are super woman!

To the single mom doing it alone- YOU are super woman!

To the mom of a special needs child- YOU are super woman!

To the all the women out there doing your best with what you have been given- YOU are a super woman!

I juggle a lot and I bet you do too.  What I am juggling may look different than what you are in the middle of.  The things I find difficult in my life may be easy for you or maybe not even something you deal with.  There are things on your plate that aren’t on mine.

We have to be careful not to let comparison trip us up.  When you see another woman who deserves a cape, go ahead and give her one but remember you don’t have to take yours off.  You have earned it sister!  We are all just doing what we can with what we are given each day.   Encourage each other, give high fives and hugs, and then remember that YOU deserve the same because YOU are a super woman too!

Encouragement, My Story, Uncategorized

Lets be honest

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If you follow the popcorn trail leading to my closet, you will find a sweet, bright eyed little girl who found her momma hiding there.  She looks at me so sweetly as if she found me only to reassure me.  She squats down beside me on the floor and offers me a bite of her popcorn.  My heart is happy to see her because her smiles are a source of joy for me on a daily basis.

Life is hard.  It is trying.  It is a journey and along the way we are making mistakes and learning.  Growing emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

One thing that makes the process hard for me is not knowing if I am “ok”.  When I have melt down moments that are ugly, I think “no one else feels like this!  No one else looses their mind like this!”  When I come unglued and have moments where I just think I can’t go on any more, I think “what is wrong with me??  Why am I so crazy?”  I read books and blogs and listen to podcasts and I hear people share their story and they all seem so well rounded and well spoken and even if they tell me a story about how they had a “moment” it doesn’t seem near as nuts as mine.

But guess what I have learned?  I am not alone.  I actually started being REALLY honest with a couple of very close friends- not leaving out details.  Before, I would kind of be honest, you know tell the story but sugar coat it a little or leave out the parts I thought were just to bad to tell because I was fearful if they new the whole truth they might judge me or think I am too unstable to be friends with.  But despite my fear, I started telling.it.all.

The first time I admitted everything I had said to my husband during an unraveled moment, I was nervous.  My friend said “Wait, you really said that?”  My voice was covered in uncertainty as I said “yes, yes, I did.” Then she said “Oh my gosh I love that you said that! I have so been there and had no clue if that was normal”.

Wait, what?  You have done that?  Suddenly I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I couldn’t believe that my friend had been there feeling like I had felt too.  I slowly started to admit more and more of my struggles.  The times I had laid in the dark, on the cold floor of my closet crying.  The moments I grabbed my keys and purse and contemplated just leaving with no plan or sane thought in tow.  The moments I had sheltered from my friends before, were out of fear- of judgement or rejection, and out of embarrassment.

I want to break the cycle of believing lies.  Lies that say we are alone and no one else faces the issues we have.  The only way to do this is to be honest.  Really honest.  Find a friend or two that you can be raw with.  My friends haven’t walked the same road I have. They don’t face the exact trials I do.  In fact, I might just be the craziest one in the bunch, but in being honest with them, they are now being able to be honest with me.  They share their stuff too.  Even if it isn’t the exact same stuff, they feel safe enough to do it.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:1-4

In Philippians 2, Paul is telling the church that they need to learn to serve others but not selfishly.  To humbly see others.  I read this and can’t help but think of how much we can offer one another.  Words that stand out in this passage are encouragement, comfort, love, affection, joy.  Do nothing of selfish ambition but in humility count others more significant than yourself.

Ladies, please hear me!  We need to decide to create a culture where we can be honest and real without fear.  We need to be a community where we can say “I had a moment” “I made a mistake”  “I am not ok right now” and then know the response we get will not be judgement.  When I am at my worst, choose to see my best.  We need to be friends who can see the ugly parts of each others lives and encourage each other through it rather than judge.  Lets be grace giving women who love each other, not judge each other!

Lets stop painting unobtainable pictures of our lives that aren’t real.  Can we decide to be honest?  Maybe it will be YOU who decides that you are ready to be brave enough to be honest and share the not so pretty parts of your life, making others feel comfortable to share theirs.

This is a journey and we are all working to be our best selves but none of us are perfect and life sometimes gets the best of us.  We don’t want to stay stuck in the yuck but rather be able to live outside of the lie that life is perfect.  Admit it when things stink and then be there for one another, encouraging and loving through the mess!  When we believe the lies that no one else is struggling we just stay stuck in the struggle, but when we feel safe enough to share, we can truly start healing!

So, will join me, crying on the floor in the closet?  Maybe your kids will bring popcorn and come watch the show!  Then, we can laugh about it later and remember we are all in this together!

 

Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Can I hit pause on life?

hitpause

On a regular basis I have so many things going on in my mind that sometimes I just want to run away.  Yes, I mean it.  I literally want to run away.  BUT I don’t mean I want to get away from my life and never come back.  What I mean is, I get to the point where it feels like as long as I am smack dab in the middle of the chaos, there is no way I will ever be able to find my way out unless I am not right here.

I just want to hit the pause button on life, figure out all the things that are swarming around in my brain, then jump right back in, hit play and go on.  Unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to do that just yet.  I want to be the healthiest mom, wife and friend and it feels like if I could pause life for a while, I could figure out all the things!

In December I did what a lot of us do.  I reflected on the past year….thought towards the one to come.  I wanted to find a word for 2018 and decided mine would be focus.  I want to pay attention to where my focus is going.  What is getting my time and attention?

As I thought about the things I knew I wanted to place focus on, I realized I needed to make some changes in order to accomplish that.  One of those things was to take a break from social media.  I knew that it was distracting me from things I wanted and needed to focus on.  I wasn’t sure how long my break would last but I decided to start with 2 weeks.  Here I am, 6 weeks later and I have slowly gotten back on social media but not really posting or spending much time on it.

My time away was so very good for me.  I learned a lot about myself and was able to understand what I needed to see more clearly.  I spent more time in prayer and seeking God in my daily life.  I was able to hear from Him more when I wasn’t so distracted.  I took time to read books (ok I don’t ever read books, I listen to them) I had been wanting to read and then a few kind of landed in my lap that I feel God purposefully placed there.  I truly feel like the past 6 weeks have been a journey of discovery and newness.

As I move forward, I am not 100% sure what my relationship with social media looks like.  I know I don’t ever want to be back in the habit of checking it a million times a day- every time I am bored or need interaction.  I know that without seeing what is going on in so many peoples lives, I was able to focus on those closest to me and I have had more space in my mind to reach out to people I felt God had laid on my heart to reach to.  I found myself asking people what was going on in their life because I had no clue and that was a good feeling.  To be able to have real conversations to hear the hearts of those around me, rather than just see a post from them and move on.  Social Media allows us to communicate with the masses, making it seem less important to communicate in real life.

I truly love to share my life, especially pictures.  It makes me happy.  Before social media was big, I loved breaking out the scrap books and photo albums when people came to our house.  I have always enjoyed sharing pictures.  I also have a heart for encouraging others by sharing my story and life, all that God is doing now and has done in the past.  That is one reason social media is so great because I can share with so many people at one time.  I just don’t ever want social media to replace real connection.

If you are like me and find yourself needing a recharge, refuel, refocus, or whatever you want to label it, think about taking a break from whatever distracts you most.  We don’t get to hit pause in real life and if we aren’t careful we can miss so many of the amazing things all around us because we are too distracted with things that aren’t important.  This break has been the most refreshing, eye opening time for me and I am excited to continue to share more of what I have discovered over these last 6 weeks!