The Words We Use

An Invisible Weapon

As a child I remember hearing the saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

The problem is, words can hurt.

They can leave scars no one can see.

Unlike sticks and stones, the damage done won’t leave visible bruising to the body; Neighbors, friends, family, and teachers won’t see the injuries.

That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there.

It doesn’t mean the wounds aren’t real.

Words are the invisible weapon that can do lifelong damage and never heal.

It is not what goes into the mouth the defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. –Matthew 15:11

I’m Going to Be Real With You

My children have these unseen injuries, and I’m the one who caused them.

How’s that for real?

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I can try to rationalize the circumstances when I used words as weapons against the little people God has entrusted me with; it won’t make a bit of difference.

The fact is, I made HUGE mistakes.

I spoke in anger and frustration instead of love and respect.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. –Proverbs 18:21

My tone caused as much damage (if not more) than the words I used. Maybe I could pat myself on the back and say, “Well, I’ve never called them names.” That means nothing when I know I’ve bruised and battered them with words of indifference.

Instead of praising them for their imaginations and efforts, I’ve asked, “Why would you do that?” Instead of saying, “Thank you for trying to help”; it’s been, “Look what you’ve done.”

These words have hurt them time and time again.

Realizing this now, tears at my heart. I’m bleeding from each of the wounds I caused my children.

The Words We Use--wellofaith.com

I swore I would never treat my children the way my siblings and I were treated when we were growing up. I swore my kids would never have a reason to question whether they are loved.

Yet, here I am.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perversness in it breaks the spirit. –Proverbs 15:4

When my children acted out, I wondered what was causing them to misbehave. I never stopped to consider it could have been my actions and reactions leading to their outbursts. That my words, said in frustration, anger, or disinterest, might have led them to lash out in search of some sort of control.

This family the LORD has blessed me with deserves more than that.

I Can Change

My children will not grow up questioning my love, or remembering only the harshly spoken words.

I will not be the reason their self-esteem suffers, or they turn away from God and family. I will not push them away with my own actions.

Our Heavenly Father knows my sins. He knows my heart, and my weaknesses. He trusted me to raise these children, and I will do my best, and when I stumble I’ll turn to Him.

I will control my words–both the words themselves, and the tone of my voice. I will focus on praise; on building up my children into strong, mature, loving, adults. I will do my best to let them spread their wings, to make mistakes, to be helpful, to explore life, and be the people God created them to be.

Most of All, I Will Pray

I’ll pray for guidance.

For patience.

For understanding.

I’ll pray for a kind tone and a joyful spirit.

I’ll pray for a million questions from my three-year old, so that I may show him through actions and words that he matters.

I’ll pray for my daughter to try new things–even when they involve me sitting back and ignoring the mess, because I want her to see as well as hear how proud I am of her, and how much I believe in her.

Finally, I’ll pray for each and every one of you who have faced these same problems. Those who have hurt their friends, families, and loved-ones with weapons so powerful they can damage people indefinitely.

Heavenly Father, 

I pray today that you help each of us control our tongues. That we may build one another up in this world. That we use our words to soothe and encourage, not to draw blood. Give us pause when we speak, that our children will not be a casualty of our sinful ways. 

Amen.

 

If you feel led, please share this post so it may remind others they’re not alone in their struggles with the words we use.

 

Blessings,

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I Plant My Roots in Jesus

 

I Plant My Roots in Jesus

People Always Look for Roots

Either we want to set down roots, find our roots, or cover our roots with dye.

Roots, like people, come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are small, delicate, and easily damaged; others are larger, stronger, and withstand the passage of time and the inevitable battles that come along with life.

I am human.

A small, delicate root that would break off if I wasn’t attached to another, more substantial one.

Jesus.

His strength, unfailing love, and grace, build me up when I would otherwise break.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the churches. I am the root, and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star.” Rev. 22:16

Putting Down Roots is Tough Without Jesus

I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to create a stable place for my children; a rough task when you’re married to someone in the service.

Every three years we’ve packed up our lives and moved to a new duty station. Some of these places have been better than others, and some of them I’ve been more than willing to see in my rearview mirror.

No matter where, the places have taught me something, and led me one step closer to Jesus.

Today the sun is shining brightly outside, and flowers are beginning to bloom. Gardens are being planted and the seedlings are burying their roots deep into the moist soil.

My children have also put down roots.

They have friends and activities, and they’ve started knowing the routes to places we go often. It brings me joy to hear them state where we’re going based on landmarks.

Within a few months, however, things will be changing again. My husband’s time as an Active Duty Marine is coming to an end, and our family will be facing the shift from military to civilian life.

This will likely mean not just a change in routine, but a change in location as well.

My eldest hopes to remain in the area she has grown familiar with.

The possibility she’ll have to leave her friends is an emotional trigger for her, and has led to a number of angst-filled conversations and outbursts.

My other two children are still too young to understand, and at this point, I count that as a blessing.

I Plant My Roots in Jesus

God Knows His Plans

Currently we don’t know where the LORD will lead us.

Daily we pray for His guidance and that we trust in Him.

My husband and I aren’t making any plans without prayerful consideration, because we understand our wants don’t always align with God’s plans for us. Since we want Him to use us to further His glory, we will follow Him.

While there is a possibility my daughter will get her wish, and we will remain in our current community, we continue to pray for her understanding that His will is so much bigger than our own.

A lesson that has taken me well into my thirties to start to understand.

Even though we haven’t settled in a location where we can put down the traditional ‘roots’ of a house, a garden, and community involvement that lasts longer than three years– I know our roots are in the best possible place– Jesus. He will nourish us, strength us, and help us grow no matter where we end up physically.

Have you put down permanent roots in Jesus?

Blessings,

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via Daily Prompt: Roots

Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I’d Be

 The Best Laid Plans

Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I'd Be

Who I Became is not Who I Thought I'd Be

When I was a Senior in high school I had my entire life planned down to the smallest detail. I never considered anything would derail me from where I knew my future would take me.

What I hadn’t considered was how much people change after eighteen.

The things I thought were important seventeen years ago are no longer even a consideration.

I’ve experienced what real life is like, and let me tell you, teen me had no idea.

There was one other thing I hadn’t counted on when I was busy making plans for my future.

Our Heavenly Father.

I hadn’t counted on His plans.

At eighteen I had very little knowledge of who He really was, I didn’t realize He was the Great Designer of my future, or that He would use my experiences (the good and the bad) to guide me where He knew I needed to be.

The young girl who dreamed of a life full of adventure; one filled with police work and military service, as far away from the Pacific Northwest as she could get, would never have expected to be someone so completely different.

I Became Someone Different than I Thought I'd Be

Turns out God knew who I was even before I did.

His Plans are Greater than Mine

As I spend another rainy day less than thirty miles away from my childhood home, I watch as my nine year old daughter changes before my eyes.

Here’s a secret: when I was making my plans, she wasn’t on the checklist.

For that matter, neither was my husband or my other two children.

Yet, here we are.

I’m an adult, a follower of Christ, and a homeschooling mother. That’s a long way from where I thought I wanted to be.

You’re Never Too Old

Who I Became is not Who I Thought I'd Be

No matter how old you are, or what your plans are, you should take a moment to consider where God is guiding you.

He doesn’t always make the signs neon and flashing. Sometimes they’re small and easily missed. There might even be signs you won’t recognize until years later when you’re looking back on the decisions you made that led you to where you are.

We’re human, and we’re given freedom of choice. That’s why we make plans, and dream of the future. Just don’t be too hard on yourself if one day you realize you’re somewhere completely different than you ever thought possible.

Instead of asking yourself ‘what if’, look to God and say, ‘thank you’. Your journey isn’t over yet, it’s more important to keep your eyes on the path before you than the path behind you.

Trust Him

Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I'd Be

He loves you.

He loves me.

One day the path we’re on will lead us to stand beside Him, and on that day, every step and stumble will make sense, and we’ll know we’ve achieved every worthy plan and goal.

Who I’ve become, and who I will become, are not who I thought I’d be.

That’s okay.

In fact, that is perfect.

I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.

Where has the path you’re on taken you?

Blessings,

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Why You Need to Get Out of Your Own Way

 

Why You Need to Get Out of Your Own Way--Well O' Faith

I never claim to know everything there is to know about walking with the LORD, or about the ins and outs of Christianity.

I’m definitely not a professional speaker on theology or the Gospel. I’m still learning many of the stories and people who are the bread and butter of the WORD, and I spend a lot of time worrying how I’ll ever minister to others when I know so little myself.

In an average week I’ll message my dear sister-n-Christ; who has studied the WORD in so many ways, who has an understanding I can only pray to acquire some day, and whose husband is as knowledgeable as she is– just to clear up my own confusion on a concept, verse, or strongly held and shared (whether in church or social media) belief or opinion.

God Has a Plan

Each of us has a gift, divinely appointed to us before we were born. Knowing this is one thing, but trusting in the LORD to peel away the layers and show us is quite another.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I spend too much of my time worrying about how I’m going to do what the LORD calls me to do. I’m called to write and to share, but I waste precious energy each day worrying about finding the words.

I spend too much of my time worrying about how I’m going to do what the LORD calls me to do. I’m called to write and to share, but I waste precious energy each day worrying about finding the words.

Days will pass without me so much as touching a keyboard, or writing anything more profound than a text message about needing to run errands. During these days, I tie myself up in knots over the mere action of NOT writing.

I need to write, to let the LORD do His work through me, but I fight it, because I can’t get out of my own way.

Get Out of the Way

Friends, I’m sure I’m not alone; in a world filled with so many people, I can’t be the only one who has this issue.

We’re all sinners who can’t move past our need for control. We alienate ourselves, because we’re afraid of rejection, afraid of not being “good enough” or “smart enough”. We forget He created us in His image; He created us for a special purpose and will provide us with all the tools we need to be successful.

We forget He created us in His image; He created us for a special purpose and will provide us with all the tools we need to be successful.

His Word Tells Us

 

It’s time for us to get out of the way and let the LORD take the reins.

With Him beside us, we can move mountains.

Why then are we forever getting in the way and tripping over ourselves?

Blessings,

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How I Became an Accidental Co-Sleeper

New Moms Make Mistakes

Nine years ago when I became a mother I never expected to become the kind of mother I am today.

When my eldest was born everything I’d read said to sleep-train. To place my child in a crib in her own room so she could learn to sleep on her own.

She did great, and we never had a problem.

Not So New Moms Make Mistakes Too

When my son was born nearly four years ago we continued on as we always had,  but this time there was more difficulty.

He displayed a need for more contact and more connection. Where my eldest slept in the bassinet beside my bed in the hospital, my son wouldn’t sleep without being in my arms.

Sadly, instead of realizing his needs and accommodating them, I stubbornly trudged ahead. I had college classes beginning three weeks after his birth and anxiety clawed at me. How would I manage the requirements of school if he insisted on being held all the time?

Looking back now, I realize how the choices I made then affect our family everyday.

How I became an Accidental Co-Sleeper --WellOFaith

You Can Teach an Old Mom New Tricks

Last year, when my youngest was born, things were different.

I had drastically changed in the three years since my son was born. The Lord had softened my heart and shined light into the dark corners.

The military base house we live in only has three bedrooms, and the age range is so wide between my children I quickly realized there was no place except our bedroom to place her.

A bassinet was placed on my side of the bed, within quick reach, since we were trying to breastfeed.

After her birth I had severe anxiety, and holding her in my arms was the only thing that calmed me. Feeling her heart beat, and her breath against my cheek slowed the panic that clawed at me. Often this would lead me to fall asleep, content with holding her, and knowing she was safe in my arms.

Years ago I would have made sure she went to bed in that bassinet and slept in that through the night. I would have loved her, snuggled and fed her, and then put her back to bed.

Like I mentioned, I’m no longer that mother.

Returning her to her bassinet started happening less and less frequently.

One night as I snuggled her beside me, and buried my nose in her downy soft hair, I realized I’d been missing out on something amazing. I had been so concerned about suffocating my babies while I slept, that I had denied us both the love and connection we needed.

I had become a co-sleeping parent, by accident–or by His design. Something I never would have considered before.

My prayer that night was one of wonder and thanksgiving. The Lord had blessed me with another little girl, and in doing so, had opened my heart to something new.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

As she has gotten older she has slept in her crib off and on. Each night after she falls asleep between us, we’ll transfer her to her bed. Most nights she will still end up in bed with us again.

Now that she is bigger and takes up quite a bit more space, because she sleeps like I do, our snuggles in bed aren’t always as comfortable or relaxing.

What those nights lack in comfort, they more than make up for by filling my heart with happiness, peace, and the knowledge that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

God has once again changed me. I may be continually sleep deprived, but I’ve got a different kind of connection with my youngest than I ever imagined possible. She is just as independent as her older siblings, but she is happy snuggled against me as she drifts off to sleep.

I’m not sure how things will be as she gets older, but I know this is the path Our Heavenly Father has placed me on.

I will walk it in faith.

Did you co-sleep with your children? What is a memory you enjoy from that time?

Blessings,

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How I Became an Accidental Co-Sleeper--Wellofaith

Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook

Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or recieved or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of Peace will be with you.”

–Philippians 4:8-9

 

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This post contains affiliate links. See here for full disclosures.
When I discovered Facebook almost a decade ago, I never imagined it would be something that took on a life of its own. I sure didn’t expect that a social media platform would be something that could ever require the need of a hiatus.
Then one day, not long before the election, I realized I was in desperate need of cleansing myself from the constant updates, notifications, and interactions. During the four(ish) months I was away I learned a lot about myself, and the effect Facebook has on me. Here are six of them:

Facebook Can Bring Out the Worst in People

For every positive post on my feed, I found five negative ones. During the months leading up to the election even those people I counted on for encouragement and a Christian perspective suddenly posted less lighthearted and loving messages in favor of angry, judgemental, political posts.
This negativity while not directed at me, was still affecting my own spirit. There was so much darkness that it started to permeate every part of my day.

Facebook Worsens My Anxiety

Since I have already been dealing with heightened anxiety since the birth of my youngest, it doesn’t take much to push my anxious feelings to another level. Reading all the negative and hateful posts had me in a constant state of anxiety. I was having trouble sleeping–worrying about people I didn’t even know, and things I had no control over.
Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook __Well O' Faith

I could give my personal worries over to God, but for some reason, the worries of the Facebook world were never given to Him.

Facebook Made Me Less Social

Given the negativity and anxiety Facebook was bringing to me, I guess it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that it led me to avoid most physical interaction with friends and relatives.

With depression and anxiety comes a desire to be alone–or at least the belief you want to be alone.

After being bombarded by the cares, worries, and desires of those people on Facebook, I couldn’t afford to expend the energy on anyone else. Not even on myself.

I also fell into the false sense that I could be just as social through Messenger as I could in the physical company of a friend.

Though, to be honest, some of my nearest and dearest friends live too far away for me to sit in their presence; in that case Messenger has been a wonderful tool.

Without Facebook I Could Focus

During those months without Facebook, I found a focus I hadn’t had in years. I had removed the Facebook App from my Android devices, and without the ease of single touch, I no longer felt the overwhelming need to check-in several times (or more) a day.

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It was too much effort to actually have to go through the website.

Much to my husband’s surprise I could actually make it through a movie or a show without my attention drifting to my phone. In many cases, my phone wasn’t even with me– a wonderful side-effect for both of us.

I Was Present With My Family

Without Facebook (or my phone) taking my attention away, my family and I had the chance to make more memories. True, they aren’t photographed or chronicled on Facebook, but during those times we were one-hundred percent together.

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I experienced so much joy watching my children grow and change; snuggling with them as we read books, laughing together over the antics of characters in movies, and discussing whatever was important to them. Being able to focus on them without reaching for my phone was by far the greatest blessing I experienced.

I Had So Much “Free” Time

For the first time in too long, I finally had time. I wasn’t rushed, and if I wondered where the day had gone it had nothing to do with getting sucked into social media.

I read books.

Not just a chapter or two here and there, but actual books. Instead of being glued to Facebook, I was able to lose myself in the worlds of great writers and storytellers.

I earned a well-deserved “book hangover” from Killing Patton; and enjoyed an impromptu book club with my eldest as we read and discussed The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

I was creative.

Crocheted blankets, booties, hats, and washcloths were started and finished. And each Tuesday a friend came over and we enjoyed an hour of chatting and crocheting.

I spent time with the LORD.

Six Things I Learned__Time with God-- Well O' Faith

Without Facebook calling my name, losing myself in the Word became easier. I had time to not only read a verse or two, but could actually carve out time to dive deeper into books of the Bible I’d been neglecting.

Finding Balance With Social Media

I’ve slowly began to re-enter the world of Facebook. I still haven’t replaced the app on my phone (and I’m not planning on it).

There is so much joy and living to do outside of social media, that I don’t want to find myself suddenly trapped in old habits again.

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I know there is a balance needed, especially as a blogger, and I’ve learned valuable things about myself these past few months. There is a place in my life for Facebook and other social media platforms, but they no longer have the pull on me they once had.

It’s a brave new world out here, folks.

One where I’m not controlled by social media.

One where it is controlled by me.

Have you needed to detox from social media before? What changed for you? How long did you do it for? I’d love to know.

Blessings,

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SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard.

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

 This post contains affiliate links. Please click here for our full disclosure

Living in the Pacific Northwest is Hard

Almost four years ago my little family and I returned to the Pacific Northwest. This relocation has been a struggle for several reasons, but one of the biggest struggles we’ve had to deal with is my ongoing battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder–SAD. Although the struggle didn’t start out as hard as I expected it to be, it has recently gotten worse.

I spent four years living in the desert, a place where it was sunny almost every day. On those rare occasions when it wasn’t, every part of me knew it. Those days were miserable for me, and made me grateful for each and every sunny day.

I also realized how blessed I was to no longer be living in the PNW.

The LORD had other plans for my little family though, and one day we packed up and headed back to the trees and mountains I’d grown up around. The PNW is beautiful. There is no denying that, but to be beautiful it spends quite a bit of time gray and dreary. For someone who needs the sunshine to be mellow and happy, the trade-off comes at a high price.

Summer Makes Me Come Alive

Today is beautiful. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is just the right amount of breeze rustling the trees. Spring is here, and summer is approaching. I’ll be honest and say summer makes me come alive.

The past few months have been hard for me. Our family thrives on schedules and routines because, when it comes to me living in a state that spends close to six months a year with little sunshine, routines help me to not completely become a hermit. It also keeps the SAD from getting so out of control that I end up becoming a shadow of myself.

Sadly, this year those schedules and routines haven’t helped as much as they have in the past.

Making the Connection

I can’t really lock down when this ongoing battle became noticeable;  when the depression started interfering with my life. All I know is one day I realized I’d started putting off going places. I’d started finding reasons to not leave the house–to excuse myself and my family from social events because they felt like obligations–and that feeling stressed me out.

During the winter months I struggled with this a lot. Since the loss of my father and the suffocating feeling I had from the bleakness of the weather, I found myself leaving my home less and less. I’ve stepped away from several things I enjoyed doing, because I couldn’t convince myself the recovery time it would take me afterward was worth it.

The only things I’ve managed to maintain throughout this time are things directly involved with my children. No matter how hard it is for me, I don’t want to let them down. They enjoy their time at AWANA and Classical Conversations community day.  It wasn’t (and isn’t) their fault that I have a hard time functioning without glorious sunshine.

I’m Worried Too

My husband worries about me, and my friends worry about me. They’re afraid I’m not just going to become a hermit, but a full-fledged shut in.

If I’m honest, I’m worried about that as well.

You see, I love my church, but when this suffocating sensation turns to panic at the thought of leaving my home Sunday morning and facing people, I know there is reason to be concerned.

Today, I’m feeling great, and that knowledge can lull me into a false sense of security. It can cause me to forget the way I feel when it isn’t sunny and beautiful.

Sunlight therapy isn’t enough (though, I highly recommend adding it if you suffer from SAD!), and neither is the medication I gave in and started taking four years ago.

I need God to help me through this, the same way I need Him in every aspect of my life.

Blessings, 

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