When You Backslide

The words flowed out of my mouth faster than I could stop them.

Angry words, harsh words, words that were not building up but tearing down.  After I calmed down from my meltdown, I thought to myself, “How did I end up back here.”

Friends, sometimes we are going to backslide.  We are going to fall back into old habits that we have been working on years to break.

For me, I have struggled with exploding, blaming, and speaking angry words towards my loved ones.  I am not proud of it, but through counseling and hard work, I began to see healing.  Our family even adopted the phrase, “my response is my responsibility.”

Sadly, this past weekend, my response was not one I want to admit.  In the middle of a stressful situation, the old me showed its angry face again.  Words were spoken to my kids that I wish I could take back.

What shocked me even more was my initial apology to them.  Instead of completely owning it, I said to my kids, “I am sorry, but you….”  I know better- I know that an apology cannot include a “but” if I am fully owning my choices.  

I just could not believe I was back here struggling with this again. Deeply concerned, I have put a lot of thought into what caused this backslide. 

I believe my time spent with Jesus and reading my Bible is directly proportional to how well I can control my reactions.

Honestly, these past couple weeks, I have skipped my quiet time many mornings as life has been busy.  I think the cumulative effect of missing time with Jesus meant I was trying to do life in my own strength.

Friends, we were never meant to do life in our own strength. 

I know I don’t have enough patience to respond lovingly when I am overly stressed.  I need God’s strength to respond with kind words, and not react in anger.  Maybe you do too.

Hours after my mishap, I finally repaired the rupture with my kids the correct way.  I fully owned my choices and asked for their forgiveness.

Thankfully, our backslides don’t define us. They reveal areas we still need to work on and fully surrender to God, and then they lead us back into the arms of Jesus. 

Praying we can all depend of God’s strength this week.

Love, Jodi

4 Truths I Wish I Knew as a Young Mom

Tomorrow, my son turns seventeen.  I can still remember how in love I felt the first time my eyes locked with his seventeen years ago. 

I had no idea all the emotions that would flood my heart over the next years: feelings of inadequacy and the need to do it all right.  Feelings of disappointment and exhaustion as well as excitement, joy and deep pride in who he was becoming. 

Motherhood is the most rewarding job and the hardest job all at the same time.

What would I say to my younger self if I could go back in time and share some of my life experience with her now?   Below are four truths that I wished I had learned at the beginning of motherhood.  

1. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is empathy.

Deep connection happens when you feel both heard and understood. Listening and understanding their emotions is a priceless gift that I wish I had learned early on in my motherhood.   I remember when my second son was born and my first born would act out when I was nursing the baby. I wish I could go back in time and say to him, “I know it is hard to have to share your time with mommy now.  I also miss our special one on one time together.” Instead of getting angry with him for misbehaving, I so wish I had given him this gift of understanding. Try putting yourself in their shoes as you listen and understand what they are going through.

2. Let go of perfect.

No one has a perfect life.  As you are grasping for this ideal life you built up in your head, just remember everyone has their own struggles.  There are no perfect moms or perfect kids. Give each other lots of grace.  Let go of needing it perfect and just enjoy each moment with your loved ones. 

3. Give up comparisons.

During motherhood, you will be so tempted to compare:  compare yourself as a mom and compare your kids.  Don’t fall into the comparison trap.  It will leave you either feeling horrible about yourself because you will not measure up, or you will become prideful because you think you are doing it better.  Either way, it is a lose-lose situation.  Instead focus on how God made you unique and how He gifted each of your kids. 

4. Be Intentional!

Be intentional with your time and words. I know the days are long, but the years are short. Time truly goes by so fast. Guard your time with them and show them how important they are to you with your words and actions.  Laugh together, play games, and go on adventures.  Savor your time with them.  Get into their world and let them know that they are a priority in your life.    

Before you know it, your child will turn 17 and you will only have one year left with him at home.  Friends, this is my motherly advice to both you and me.

  • Remember the gift of empathy and be your child’s greatest listener! 
  • Let go of ideal and perfect and in its place give lots of grace.
  • Don’t compare but instead share with your child what makes them special and unique. 
  • Use your time to spell love and be intentional with your kids.

Praying for you and cheering you on in your special role as mom!

Love, Jodi