sharing from my heart to yours
In case you haven't noticed, I've been posting on here a bit more frequently these days. I'm hoping to stick to it, and keep on top of things better than I have in the past. Heard that one before? Hopefully I can do a better job this time, but to help, I am considering doing some guest posts. This will not only help me, but maybe keep the interest up on your end also! I don't want to make you listen to just me jabber all the time :)
So here is the first Guest Post on Whispers of Joy!
I'd like to introduce a good friend of mine, Carissa, who is devoted to her Lord, and has an amazing heart for encouragement. She is a wife, and mother of two little boys, and is wading through the ups and downs that these jobs entail. Carissa has a gift at sharing her thoughts to uplift others who are fighting the same battles, and enjoying the same blessings as she is. She doesn't have a blog of her own (YET! Let's cheer her on so she starts one up!), but plans to share her thoughts with us here occasionally.
Here is Carissa...
As I’ve prayed about what God wanted me to write about, my heart kept getting led back to this topic. I didn’t want to open up about it. It’s embarrassing. My pride said, “No way!” But God kept bringing me back to it, so here I go, baring my soul, knowing that it’s only God I should strive to please.
Looking back, I think it all started when the kid behind me in class was offering me some of his candy. As I took some he told me that I was skinny & needed it. That hurt. To me, he just said I wasn’t attractive & in order to be, I needed to gain weight. (Looking back now, he was just being a typical teen kid & teasing me. He didn’t mean anything by it.) I grabbed the candy, threw it in the garbage can as I walked out the door & to my next class, fighting back the tears & hurt. After that time, I was self conscious about my weight. Most people probably looked at me & thought I had it made. I was thin & could eat whatever I wanted without it affecting my weight. I, on the other hand, saw all the girls with curves & longed to look like them. To me thin, not-so-curvy girls like myself, weren’t that attractive. A girl I worked with had said one of her guy friends told her that guys like girls that have more to them so that, along with similar comments over the years, fed my secret worries later as a married woman.
Over the years, I always had someone commenting about my weight.
“You’re so skinny, why do you need to eat healthy?”
“You’re so tiny!!”
“You disappear into the couch, you’re so skinny.”
The list could continue on. I realize now that all these people did not know what their comments meant & did not mean them to hurt me the way they did. But Satan used them mightily in my life. I hated being “skinny.” I wore certain clothes & avoided the ones that I thought made me look even thinner. I worried that my husband found other women more attractive, you know those ones with more curves? I secretly feared that he wasn’t being honest with me when he told me I was beautiful. I compared myself all the time. While I was doing all that, I would wonder why in the world I struggled with it! Outward appearance isn’t everything & I knew that. I would feel so silly & wish I could get over it! I would beat myself up for worrying & dwelling on something so superficial & unimportant! To this day, I don’t quite know why I struggled with it. All I know is I wanted to be beautiful & attractive. But I mostly came to grips with how I was made for a few years. I learned to not take people’s comments to heart & just be grateful for the fact that I didn’t have to worry about gaining weight.
Then I had kids. That did a number on my “feeders.” I didn’t get many stretch marks but my “feeders” are not pretty (in my ever so self critical opinion). I wanted to hide myself from my husband. I’d cover them up during our alone times. I feared he thought they were so ugly & longed for the way they were, before our boys came along. (Our boys are SOOO worth it! I wouldn’t trade them for the most perfect “feeders” in the world. ) :D No matter what my dear husband said, Satan was always in there telling me that he was just saying that to please me. That he would never tell me what he really thought because he didn’t want to hurt me.
In the study, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, there was a chapter on being content with the way God made you.
“Have you ever thanked your Creator for His loving supervision of your creation? Have you praised Him for creating your personality? Can you say with David, “I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made?.....You will never really enjoy other people, you will never have stable emotions, you will never lead a life of godly contentment, you will never conquer jealously and love others as you should until you thank God for making you the way He did.”
When I read that I started crying. I didn’t want to thank God for the way He made me because I thought He could have done much better! All I could think of was all the hurt & pain from comments over the years about my size. I thought of all the longing to be outgoing, funny & bubbly that I had done. I had argued with him in this area much of my adult life (short as that has been since I'm still not quite a grown up;) ). I told God that it would be a while before I could thank Him.
But God delivered me & gave me victory!!!!
I praise Him for never giving up on me & always working in this heart of mine. I can truly say I am content with the way He made me! It brings tears to my eyes saying that! :) I wish I could convey how intense this was for me at times & how FREEING it’s been to truly embrace what I’ve always known to be true. God thinks I’m BEAUTIFUL!! :) I love the saying that comparison is the death of contentment because I have found it to be so true! I am learning that instead of comparing myself with other women, to instead think, “She is beautiful. But so am I!” God hand crafted each of us & when He looks at us, He thinks, “She is beautiful & perfect. Look at what a fine job I did!”
I am learning to embrace the stretch marks & imperfect, well used breasts as beauty marks. My boys are well worth it! My Savior has scars on him from bearing the cross for me so that I can have life, in the similar way that I have scars, in a sense, from bearing & giving life to my boys. When I look at my imperfect self now, I think of how my Jesus has scars on him from me. It was me that sent him to the cross to die.
Now, I know not all thin girls have or have had struggles like mine. We are all different. Just because I struggled in this area doesn’t make me any less than you. Just because you may not have struggled in this area does not make you any better than me. We are all traveling this road together & each has our unique struggles. You may not struggle with outward appearance but are you content with yourself in other ways? Are you content with the personality with which God has gifted you? Are you content with the talents & gifts He has given you? I used to joke with friends that I got jipped in that department because I can’t cook great, play an instrument, sing, sew, create- you name it, I probably cant’ do it! I did not think about it very often but would joke about it occasionally. It hurt God when I would compare & wish I looked like that, had a personality like so & so & was gifted like her! Now, I’m ok with not knowing if I have many gifts. I KNOW that God has gifted me somehow. I’ve moved passed wondering what my gifts are to just praying that God will use my gifts, whatever they are, to glorify Him & encourage others in their walks with Him.
“God is painting a picture on the canvas of our lives. Our bodies are merely the frame. God intends to paint a beautiful picture-a picture to others of our character and unique expression of Christ’s life-and place it in this frame. But He can’t create this work of art without our cooperation. It needs to be a lifelong joint project between God and us. If you choose to criticize the frame or resist God’s brushstrokes, you will not find contentment. It will elude you. If you focus on God’s vision that integrates the picture with the frame, and the development of His message through you, you can say, “I am content to be me.”” -Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. (Highly recommend that study!)
In the words of songwriter Johnny Diaz, “There could never be a more beautiful you!” :)
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Carissa!
Come back again soon to enjoy more posts from this encouraging woman! (and more projects and updates from me too!) :)
Thanks for stopping,
God bless your day!
Quite a long time ago, in our previous home in the Pacific NW, I had done this wall hanging for our family.
A photo of each of us as well as a letter for each of our names.
It was such a simple project, I thought I'd still share it to inspire you, even though I no longer have it up! New house, new baby! I may have to make a 'V' for our little dolly so I can display it again, though.
I also have to tell about the decor on the shelf.
The cross is part of the table decor from our wedding, and the hand sculpture is one of those plaster molds of mine and my groom's hands on our wedding day! Those things are so neat! When my little brother was born, my Mom did one of his little baby hand being held by my Dad's.
Such a neat keepsake!
(which must still be packed in some box in our garage currently! Ha!)
I didn't take any pics while making these, since I don't really plan ahead for blog posts (if you can't tell!). But I started by just drawing out letters on cardboard, then cut them out. I used a natural looking yarn (jute string would give a similar look) and just wrapped...and wrapped...and wrapped!
Then I hung them next to our pictures with black ribbon and a thumb tack.
The tack is in between the ribbon, so you can't see it.
Here is a shot of the whole display, in the hall going to our bedroom.
I recently got pictures taken by my cousin Dara, (which I am so excited about! Will share more on that later) so I'm working on getting some prints of the kids for these bare walls in this house!
And now that I typed this whole post with one hand, I'm going to go put this baby in her bed! I think this is a skill many moms have, right?! Have you ever learned how to 'hen peck' on the computer one handed because of the wee ones in your arms, or while you nurse them? :)
May your week be blessed and your thoughts inspired!
Meet Vayah Faith...
born June 13th, 2012
8lbs 4 oz / 20 inches
We're so excited to have a little girl join our family!
I don't think I realized how much I was hoping for a girl until I had her in my arms. :D Skyler was quite positive we were having a girl since the day I told him a baby was coming, so I thought maybe he knew somehow. When we called and told him he had a sister he calmly said,
"I thought so." :)
For anyone interested, here's a very brief overview of the birth story:
(if you're not, scroll down to the pictures...I don't want to bore you!)
My due date was June 9th. That day came and went and I enjoyed mild contractions off and on for about a week during that time. Tuesday, the 12th, came and I knew something was starting. Contractions slowly built (very slowly!) all day. My family (from OR) arrived that day, so we were set to head to the hospital at any given time. The boys stayed in their motorhome with them that night, as we fully expected to be gone by morning. Fro and I walked and tried to keep things going until contractions were about 5 minutes apart. I didn't feel like they were very hard though, so we went for a walk hoping to feel ready to head to the hospital when we got home. They stopped. ARGH! I had mild ones every half hour for the rest of the night/morning...afternoon...argh! Finally around 5pm the next night (while Fro was at the farm doing chores) things started to pick up again, and fairly quickly! They were by far harder than the night before and got closer together as the evening passed. We headed to the hospital a bit after 9pm, checked in (such a process!), I got in the tub when I could as we planned for a water birth. I loved the water and felt like I could relax much better. Vayah Faith made her entrance at 11:30 sharp, just in time to still be born on her grandma and great grandma's shared birthday!
Praise God for another healthy blessing!!
After some complications with cramping, clotting, low levels in iron and hemoglobin, dizziness, and so on, we arrived at home on the 15th with a darling little girl to join our family. It was a bumpy start on my end of things, but Vayah was perfect! Skyler was completely in love, protective, and adoring to his little sister. Rystin wasn't sure what to do but stare at her and pet her head, but he is getting more used to her and loving her more all the time. There have definitely been lots of changes and adjustments for them, but handling three littles at home hasn't been bad at all.
Vayah has probably been the most 'needy' baby I have had so far. She likes to be held if she is awake, especially during certain times of the day, and is much LOUDER than the boys were!! :) But I can't complain at all because at 5 weeks she has been waking up only once a night for awhile now! I feel very blessed to still be getting a decent amount of rest.
She is growing so fast and starting to smile much more and even coo a bit.
Newborns are so fun! I could just hold her and cuddle with her all day (not that my boys would ever allow such a thing!) :)
Here's a few pictures of all of us with the new little girl...
These last two pictures are outfits that I made before Vayah was born. The blue one I made when pregnant with Rystin (finally getting used!), and the other I made this last spring. All these girl flowers and ruffles are just so fun! Hopefully more to come!
Thanks for coming to check out our new little bundle!
NOTE: This is an 'outdated update'! I created this post about 2 months ago. While I was doing it, the site froze and I *thought* I lost everything and gave up. I decided today that I should maybe update on some of the bigger changes (baby details to come!!), and found that improvements must have been made on the site and the post I had been created popped right back up! So, though the info is old, the move and photos are still relevant, and now and can update more current things in the next post instead of backtracking to March! Maybe now I'll be more motivated to keep up on this blog?! Sweet!! :)
We made it!
Actually it's going on 2 months already since we got here...crazy!
The moving process went well, overall. I will say that moving is NEVER easy, but this move had been slightly complicated, for several reasons. I'll share the story with you, if you're interested.
Here's a few pictures of the actual 'move'.
Some great friends of ours who helped us drive across the country!
Thanks so much Jay and Christina!
The drive to MN went quite smoothly. We stopped in TriCities to visit Fro's brother and his family one last time, and stopped again the next 'night'/morning (from about 3am to 10am). The kids (and ladies!) were having a hard time sleeping and we needed some rest!
Arrived in MN and began looking for a place to live. No, we still didn't know where we were going to end up at this point!! Trust me, it gave me plenty of rough nights and stressful days off and on throughout the whole process!
We drove around all the country roads looking for something that would be rentable and livable. No luck. So we contacted a realtor who had a home for rent in a small town (not the area we really were hoping to be...and we weren't really wanting to live 'in' town either) and checked the place out. It was about our only option, quite a bit smaller than our last place, but a decent house. A couple downfalls, there was someone living in it who wouldn't be out for a few weeks...it was next to railroad tracks (!), and the location (basically in town/farther away from work). We signed the lease (we're here for at least 6 months) and moved from Fro's parents' house, into a VERY generous couple's home that was empty for the time we needed a place to stay. Thanks so much, Wilho and Diana!!
It worked out great to stay there, although the days got quite long. When a place isn't your own home, and the majority of your things are packed away, you find that there really isn't a lot to do to fill the days! While we lived there, Skyler (my baby boy?!!) turned 3!
He had SUCH a blast this year! He looked forward to it for so long, sang 'Happy Birthday to me' all day before his party, and talked about nothing else for many days! It's so fun when they appreciate all the little things. I did my best to make a few decorations and a simple cake with the supplies I had at the time.
My big boys on Easter Sunday. Both weren't feeling the greatest and were fighting colds that came nearly right when we got to MN. And I'm SILL wiping noses! Guess it must take awhile to adjust to a different area...?!
So a few weeks after moving into that place, we packed up our stuff (again...the little bit that we had unpacked), and started moving into our own place. Here's a quick pic of the outside of it.
We are basically all settled in now. It feels SO good to have our 'own' place!! I haven't done any decorating or unpacking much that isn't a necessity, but all the main things like the kitchen, bedrooms, and furniture are in. I'm getting anxious to start some projects...be it decorating, sewing baby things (5 more weeks!), or doing things outside...so hopefully I make more progress soon. Another big challenge during this move has been being nearly 8 months pregnant! Can't be hauling much for boxes, so when you realize half your things are in the garage and you can't do much about it, you're a little stuck! Fro started his new job soon after we got here, and hasn't been home a lot during the daylight hours, so progress has been slow. I feel like it might take the rest of the 5 weeks until baby comes before I'll feel like I can say, yes, I got ALL moved in! It's nice not to feel rushed to have to do everything at once, though.
Here's a few more pictures of life around here...
Hello and Welcome!