Combatting Burnout

Burnout.  It happens when you least expect it.  You are going strong, checking off your to do lists, not missing any appointments or meetings.  You feel like you are on a treadmill and then one day… Everything seemingly crumbles.  The children start acting like someone else’s child, you start forgetting appointments and meetings, you are behind on all the housework, personal work, and personal care.  You look frazzled and feel even more frazzled.  Life can really get hard sometimes.  When it does, it is so easy to get burned out.

As I write this Im 2 days off schedule on my post, 1 day off schedule from posting our family vlog because my computer decided it had no more memory, and I have a post due on my beauty channel today.  It is filmed but needs editing which once again, my computer is saying no.  The children are going crazy, I haven’t had a chance to just veg out with a snack and netflix in forever and my laundry has taken over my couch.  My homeschool storage is screaming for some attention and I skipped the gym yesterday.  I woke up this morning so overwhelmed that I just laid in the bed for an hour.  You know you have reached burnout when your body and mind completely shut down.  No more input, no more output.  You have been placed on time-out.  I had started a different blog post but this morning inspired me to dig into God’s word on burnout.  Im hoping that as I feed my spirit it will help someone else out there.

Often times we try to control everything in our lives, the schedule, the children, the spouse, our diet, our house, our job, our thoughts, and the list goes on.  There is an amount of responsibility that we have in working toward the common goal of God but ultimately He is in control and we don’t have to be.  For some reason we feel good when we have this sense of control, even if it is a false sense.  It is actually a much better feeling to know that all we have to do is to do our best and God will take it from there if we ask him.

 

Thank you God for giving us a resting place.  When I get so wound up and busy trying to fix things myself I end up out of control.  After we rest in God, we are able to see much more clearly.  Its amazing how you can rest in the middle of chaos and actually feel peace.  I can rest while the laundry is still piling up, while my 4 year old is writing on the wall with the marker that I told his brother or sister to make sure was always put up, while my bill budget and family calendar sit and wait even thought the month is halfway done.  It’s almost like God pauses the time for us and gives us the grace to take a breath then start again.

Even when we feel like the depths of hell are coming up after us, we can see God working if we look really closely.  You will find little clues from God that the harvest is still right in front of you.  Don’t lose sight of your path.  Keep your eyes to God and you will see the way out EVERYTIME.

 

 

A Father to the Fatherless

We just celebrated the man of our house on Sunday.  Fathers all over the country were being honored for the important place they have in the lives of their children and families.  My husband has done an amazing job!  He works 2-3 jobs just so that his household can run smoothly and so I can be home focusing on raising and discipling the next generation.  He comes home from work exhausted and still finds time to tickle and wrestle with all of the children, talk to them about their day and reinforce any discipline that had occurred that day.  We are very blessed that he has a flexible schedule so that he can be at important events like track meets and orchestra concerts but he pays for it by working extra long at times.  He loves his family like Christ loves the church.  I am extremely happy that God blessed us with him.  I often times think that God paid me back triple fold for what I lost as a child.

I just turned 37 years old and I had given up on finding my father.  I had given it a fair try years ago but it seemed like it was pointless.  This was the first fathers day that I really didn’t get sad over not having a father.  I learned to put all of my hope in the future and the fact that my children were blessed to not have the same insecurities that I had from not having a father.  When the last search 2 years ago ended empty handed I decided that maybe God was keeping my father away for my safety.  Through my search I found siblings that were also abandoned by him.  I met a half brother and a half sister and I was told that there was one more brother.  I have yet to meet him or even see any pictures of him.  In my last search I discovered that my father moved to Texas, married a woman and had children by her.  He started a family and left his other kids behind.

The stories that I have been told about my father are not of a man that I need in my life but deep inside me there is the thought that he has grown and matured and isn’t that same person.  Around the age of 19 I asked my uncle about my father and he told me “He wasn’t THAT bad of a person, maybe you should meet him.”  My grandmother told me that he took good care of me as a baby.  This was the opposite of what I knew.  I broke my femur(thigh bone) as a baby.  It is the hardest bone in the body to break.  I was around 1 year old (no one has been able to tell me for sure but I don’t think I was walking yet)  When a hospital sees a break like that on a baby they automatically question the parents for abuse.  My mother originally told them that I fell out of the bed but the hospital staff knew that would be pretty hard to do.  They finally took my mother in a room and she told them what had really happened.  She said that her and my father were fighting.  She was holding me and he hit her.  She dropped me resulting in my leg being broken.  The hospital staff told her that she had to leave him or they would take me away from her.  Im not fully sure what she did next but she said that for her, that was the end.

I have 1 memory of my father.  It was when my brother was born.  I remember my father being in the room.  I could feel his presence but in my memory he is just a shadow.  It was obvious that I was a proud big sister because all I remember is looking into the crib with such pride, knowing that was my baby brother.  I was 3 or 4 and the mother of my brother still has pictures with me and my father from that time.  Then he vanished into thin air.   I never saw him again.  Since my memories of him are nothing I really don’t know what type of relationship we had.  I feel that he really didn’t know how to be a father.

All I know about my father is that he was a pimp (that was very popular in the 80’s), he was a drug addict, he tried to rape my aunt, and he was violent toward women.  I heard nothing but negative things and when I first tried to look for him my mother told me that I should just be satisfied with what I do have.   I think that was her way of trying to protect me.  I still feel like it may be a bad idea to meet him.  I had moved on…..until.

I received a call from my half sister that she was still looking for our father.  She had gotten closer than ever.  She actually had a conversation with his current wife.  She said that his wife was unaware that he had any other children except 1 (Im not surprised!)   She said she would talk to him and call her back.  She didn’t call her back but my sister called back.  She said he denied it.  Now that I know he is within reach, the only thing that I want from him is a conversation.  There is always 2 sides to every story.  I would like to hear him admit that I am his child and tell me the reason he left in his own words.  It’s crazy that as soon as I thought I could care less this comes along and stirs up feelings and questions.  So, as I have all of these feelings stir up in me again, I run to the best place there is for comfort.  I run to The Bible.

Here are some of the scriptures that speak directly to those who don’t have a earthly father.  God is the father to the fatherless.

It can seem hard to feel like God can replace a parent.  We often want to get back what we feel was stolen from us.  It is very easy to feel cheated, and lets be honest…you were cheated if you had a parent abandon you.  However if you take the time to think back, God will reveal how even when you “felt” alone, He was there!

In the end, God has the final say.  It doesn’t please Him at all when a parent has jumped ship.  God knows the heart of that person but the scripture above reminds us that He will not reward the behavior of the rebellious.

These scriptures really help to comfort me in the midst of my feelings of abandonment.  Whether I ever meet my biological father or not.  I have true comfort in know that God has and will continue to bless me beyond what the devil stole.  He has returned my blessings and will do the same for all who rely on Him.

Failure is a step up not down

I was chatting with one of my best friends about success and failure.  I can say that these last few years, especially this last year has been a life lesson on overcoming failure.  I had learned to avoid failure at all costs.  If I didn’t think I had a really good chance of succeeding I wouldn’t even try.  I thought of it as not being competitive, but that was a cop out.  That wasn’t really true.  The truth is that I was super, paralyzingly afraid of failing…and failing in front of everyone.

I can still remember my 5th grade graduation.  Everyone was getting fancy awards for honor roll, spelling bee winner, geography wiz and all of these special awards.  It crushed me that I was a good kid, but ended up with only average grades.  My mother tried to comfort me.  She looked me in the eyes and said, “Baby, some people are just meant to be average.”  I know that she was trying to comfort me but it absolutely crushed me.  I grew up hating the word average but not knowing how to become above average.  In the privacy of my room, I daydreamed about being a famous singer one day and that everyone would finally know that I’m way more than average.  Somewhere in between then and now I lost the dream, I believed the lie that I was just average.  Those feelings of insecurity grew and grew over the years.

It all began to change after I joined a mlm.  I started selling Advocare to make money.  I had just found out that I was pregnant with our 3rd child and needed to bring in some extra income.  The life lessons that I learned were far more valuable than any profit that I made.  I began going to the conferences where they would have successful people get up and teach.  I listened intently and took notes.  The biggest lesson I learned was that failure is not to be feared, it is actually something you look forward to.  Failure is necessary in order to learn what works and what doesn’t work.

I wish that I could say that I learned the lesson fast and jumped right in and started failing right away.  But I didn’t.   The seed was planted but it didn’t grow for a couple of years.  Even while Im writing this, at this very moment, I still struggle with doubt.  The devil and my insecurity feed me with all the reasons that Im not good enough and that maybe I AM just average.  Maybe even after all of the hard work I put in I will figure out that it was a waste because I just wasn’t “meant” for more.  I can’t say that failure gets easier.  It doesn’t.  It will always be tough.  Im learning how to recover faster so I can get through the next lesson.  If I take just a little bit of time to recover, come up with a better game plan then get back to work, I will go as far as my heart desires.  Failure is a step UP not a step DOWN.  It will make you step back, but if you really want success, you will continue to search for the next solution.

I have read many quotes about successful people who failed big and failed often before they finally got it right.  People like Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, Robert Kiyosaki and Bill Gates all suffered huge failures before they achieved success.  In fact, if you talk to any “overnight success story” you will find that it was not overnight.  It came with lots of blood, sweat, tears, and lots of failures.  My goal in this post is to encourage myself as I encourage you.  DONT GIVE UP!  Fail, Recover, Move On!

Lessons on Self Love and Finding My Identity in Christ: From a former stripper and self sabatoger

This is my story.  Please check out the video on the lessons that I learned and finding my Identity in Christ

As I stood on the stage with nothing but a swimsuit on and money in my garter belt.  I closed my eyes and danced like no one was watching.  I could smell the smoke, and alcohol.  The stage was made of wood and very hard to walk on in heels that I wasn’t used to wearing.  The disco lights were bright but the club was dark.  The music was loud.  The first song finished and I was told by the manager to go directly to the next stage.  This bar had 3 stages and 3 women all danced at the same time.  The men focused on whichever lady they preferred.  I became completely numb up there and I just zoned out.  While I was on the 3rd stage the manager of the club came up to me, handed me a dollar and whispered in my ear.  “You have done this before haven’t you,” he said.  I immediately felt creeped out but the look in his eye made me realize that I had a chance to do well at this.  All the good sense in me told me to run far away.  I told that good sense to shut up as I was counting the money that I made on stage.  This was my first time stripping.  I had entered an amateur night that I seen in a local newspaper.  I sat in the crowd after I was finished dancing and watched all of the other ladies dance. I got increasingly nervous after I danced.  Surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous at all before I danced.  I was numb.  My childhood had taught me to turn off those nerves and just survive the moment.  I ended up winning 3rd place that night and I left with cash in my pocket, an offer of employment at that club and the paperwork to get an adult entertainer license.  I was 19, desperate, and I had no idea what I was in for.  In some states you have to get licensed.  The state where I started down this path of destruction was one of them.  I had been without a job for months and my grandmother was pressuring me to get a job.  I had moved back into her house after living in a battered women shelter for months.  Coming out of a very toxic and abusive friendship and I was desperate.  I had given legit modeling a try for about a year and had gotten nowhere.  While I was waitressing one of the kitchen staff suggested that I try stripping.  She ensured me that the men couldn’t touch you unless you wanted them to.  I laughed at her and didn’t think of it again until I found myself with my back against the wall.  I had been applying for jobs for months and was having no luck.  I originally thought I would just do that one night to make some money and then go back to job hunting but the money made by stripping was too easy.  I was hooked and decided to give it a try.

I got my adult entertainer license the next week and got on the schedule at this club.  I still remember my first day.  I was amazed at how nice most of the ladies there were.  They took me under their wings and showed me the ropes.  I didn’t have any of the appropriate clothing but one of the girls let me borrow from her and told me to go to the nearest adult sex toy store as soon as I made money.  I followed her around the first night watching how she worked the crowd, how she approached the men, how she danced for them.  She taught me the ropes and was never competitive about someone stealing her clients.  I would love to say that I started making hundreds of dollars per night right off but that is not true.  That should’ve made me quit but I saw some of the other ladies making lots of money and I just figured it was because I was new.

As I mentioned before, I was living with my grandmother after being out on my own for over a year.  I had a very strict curfew of 2am.  The first time I worked a night shift I came home at 3am and my grandmother was waiting for me and was very angry.  I couldn’t tell her why I was out that late so I just told her that I was at the club with friends partying.  The next day, I switched to the day shift.  I was able to successfully hide the fact that I was stripping from my grandmother.  She thought that I had gotten a legitimate job and just worked during the day.  Eventually I changed to the night shift at a club much closer that closed at 1am so I was home before curfew and I began working an office job during the day to hide the fact that I was dancing at night.  I would dance 3-4 nights per week and work my office job Monday through Friday.  I struggled to stay awake most days but I survived.  I continued to dance for the next 3 years as I moved away for college.  In college I started off only dancing on the school breaks.  While everyone else was relaxing on spring break I was taking all of the shifts that I could and would return to school with thousands of dollars to help me get by to the next break.  After awhile I couldn’t maintain my apartment, bills, and groceries only working every couple of months so I began driving to a different city and working on the weekends.  I drove about 2 hours one way every weekend night just so that I could avoid seeing someone from my school.  That didn’t work.  One day one of my teachers came in there and a fellow student came in as well.  I can remember running and hiding in the dressing room.  Both of them were very nice about the situation but it became very awkward going to class with that teacher for the rest of the semester.  It became very awkward seeing that student on campus and he would ask me if I was working that weekend.

I kept my dancing a secret from most people so I lived a double life.  I was still a virgin.  Yes, you heard me right.  I was still a virgin.  I was molested as a kid but I don’t count any of that.  Once I was around 14 I became a fighter and made up my mind that no one was taking that from me.  I decided that when I do decide to have sex it was going to be on my terms.  So I was very confusing to the boys on campus.  I would go to parties, smoke, drink a lot, and dance like a stripper, then I would say “Ok good night”  The look on their faces as they realized that I was just a tease and not down for anything more was priceless.  This lifestyle got progressively worse as me and my husband (then boyfriend) got deeper into sin.  I found myself in a lot of very dangerous situations and I still thank God to this day for keeping me safe.  He ended up getting in legal trouble and was required to move back home for probation.  I moved with him and God began to really work on my heart.  By the time I was 22 I was so sick with the lifestyle that I found myself in.  I was smoking marijuana and cigarettes very heavily and drinking every night.  That was the lifestyle of a stripper.  It was almost a requirement to drink every night.  I never really liked drinking so I would smoke before I went in and then I had a deal with the bartender.  When the customer bought me a drink I would have her secretly make it non alcoholic and I pretended that I was drinking.  The first couple of years it really was mostly fun but my spirit craved Jesus.  My spirit knew that I didn’t belong in that lifestyle.  I wanted so badly to go back to church but my highest money making times was the Sunday shift from 12pm to 9pm.  Which meant I had to be there by 11am.  That was when I realized that I had to quit dancing in order to get my spirit back in line with Jesus.  I made up my mind and I quit dancing.  I had worked it out to where I was an “out of town girl” which meant that I didn’t have a set schedule at the club and I could come and go as I pleased so I just stopped going.  I got a $10/hr job and I went back to church.  It was so hard not making hundreds a night anymore but I was back at home in church.

Im so glad I didn’t go back.  As I look back I see how damaging that lifestyle was.  Please check out my video at the top of the page where I talk about the lessons that I learned

 

Storytime: My Christianity Journey

I received Christ as my Savior when I was 8 or 9 years old.  I was not raised in church and I have very few memories of going to church with my mother.  She believed in God but did not attend a church.

We were living in Austin Texas and I had friended the kids of a nearby Pastor.  From that friendship I started going to their vacation bible school.  I didn’t fully understand christianity but I knew that they seemed like their lives were very happy.  My life was very chaotic throughout my childhood and I craved what they had.  They seemed like they had it all together.  I made up my mind then, that I would serve Christ for the rest of my life.  I didn’t know at the time what all that would mean, but I knew deep in my heart that God had talked to me and led me to Him.  That church put some of the foundation in me where I learned scripture memorization, the rapture and what it means to be a christian.

In the next couple of years we moved to the East Coast and then by the time I was 10 we were back in Austin Texas.  At age 11 we moved back to Kansas City.  Moving around opened my realization to other cultures and religions.  My exposure to the 5% Nation of Islam further convinced me that Christianity was the way.  I went to a Catholic Church and even a Mormon church in the next few years.

When I was 16 my friend invited me to her church for their New Years Eve Service.  Their drama team did a human video of “Mary Did You Know.” I cried harder than I had cried in years.  That year leading up to that service I had experienced a lot of pain.  I had moved in with my grandmother, and my mother had been shot and almost died, I felt like God was speaking to me right through that song and drama presentation and I rededicated my life to Christ.  I became heavily involved in that church and for the next 2 years I was in training for ministry.  I went on a mission trip to St Louis and I gave my testimony, I started singing on a worship team and it was there that God spoke clearly to me that I was called to Evangelism through Music.

After high school I found myself very lost.  I ventured way away from ministry.  I began living a lifestyle that was far from what God wanted for my life.  By the time I turned 22 I had returned to church and ministry.

When I went to the church that my grandma attended I finally felt the freedom of Christ that I ha felt as a child.  I stayed at that church for around 5 years and then I moved on to a church that branched off from that one.  This church that I attend now has really taught me about the love of Christ.  I have reached an age where I am much more stable and I can only be excited about where my journey will take me from here.

 

I am Not Alone Kari Jobe Cover by Jauwan

This song has reached me in some of my darkest hours.  The words “When Im standing in the fire, I will not be overcome” explains how it feels to be surrounded by your problems but still having a peace in your spirit knowing that God is with us always and will not let us be destroyed.  It paints a picture of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace not getting burned but dancing freely.  Daniel 3:16.  I hope that this song ministers to you and reminds you that God loves us more than we can imagine and wants the best for us.