Last night was a sleepless night.  Maybe one hour was all I could force myself to stay asleep.  I decided to get up instead of thinking with my eyes closed for the fourth hour in a row.

One of my littles had joined me in bed an hour earlier.  I walked to my closet in the dark looking for my slippers.  I closed the door behind me before turning on the light because even though my body was up, I wasn’t ready to task my parental authority.  When I closed the closet door behind me, God whispered, “Good morning.”  This is the place where I pray, my actual closet.  When I close the door with the intent on spending time with my close friend, the atmosphere is Alive.  This particular morning, I wasn’t yet headed in there to pray, so it was lovely to receive a gentle greeting that reminded me to start out my day by checking in.

During that time with God, my thoughts swirled into a question – “Who am I? What is my title? How do I currently define myself? Since I’ve recently begun the unexpected journey of Homeschooling and with extremely limited free time, my business ventures were put on hold. I struggled with defining this season and felt like it would make me feel more settled by giving it a title.  I mentally thumbed through a list of my own suggestions, none of them fitting just right.  I didn’t want to carry ill-fitting titles – ones with descriptions that partially resonated.  As I was going through the list, I asked out loud, “Why do we need titles anyway? The answer I received is the nugget that I want to pass on [paraphrased of course].

When we strive to be titled, defined, trophied, pedestaled, positioned, mantled, pulpited, idolized, and admired to prove that we’re valuable, we miss the truth that this isn’t how God defines worth. Striving for titles is more about pride than about measuring our contribution.  Titles in themselves aren’t problematic, rather pursuing them to prove your worth is the error.

Rather, pursue excellence shown by hard work, when no one is noticing which builds character. Building strong character is a weapon to defeat the counterfeit of seeking fake worth which is rooted in pride.

Is your lack of interesting-sounding status provoking you? Are you vying to define yourself because you have a wrong believe that just being you isn’t exciting enough? God’s best servants are often plain people who made themselves available to just say ‘YES’. You don’t have to BE something, just BE available.

Lesson learned:  Earnestly pursue God and there I’ll find the correct answer to “Who I am?” I am more than a title, I’m a work of art. (Ephesians 2:10 We are God’s workmanship)

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  • January 8, 2016 - 12:09 am

    Mike B - Wise words my Love. You are truly a blessing!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2016 - 5:32 pm

    Jenni - So great and so true!ReplyCancel

  • April 5, 2017 - 8:15 am

    Cassie - Yes! This is God’s show and we are who he says we are. Lord, let this be enough for us! Thank you for the wise words Lynn, and listening to God!ReplyCancel

[Excerpt from the Book How We Love.]

The Simple Question You Need to Answer

The answer to this question can accurately pinpoint the relative difficulties you may currently be experiencing in your relationship.

The question is simple:  Can you recall being comforted as a child after a time of emotional distress?

Sometimes people who haven’t experienced real, soul-level comfort have trouble understanding what exactly “being comforted during emotional distress” really means.

Your answer to that question could potentially reveal more about your relationships than any other insight you might uncover.  Realize here we aren’t talking about a minor ouchy or when you got a cold.  We are looking for a time when you were significantly upset and a parent offered consolation and relief.  Whatever happened to you, at a specific time during your childhood, you experienced either comfort for your pain or the stark absence of it, and that representative memory influences your current relationships in untold ways.

Related to the comfort question is this:  How was conflict handled in your family?

Did disagreements leave you feeling alone and disconnected to your parents or family or did you come from a family that acknowledged problems and successfully resolved them?  If your family was the latter, you learned an important lesson:  when conflict ruptures a relationship, repairing it brings relief.  If, when you were young, you experienced the relief that comes with resolving disagreements, you will seek the same experience in your marriage as an adult.  If not, when things go wrong, you may have difficulty expressing yourself, finding solutions, and feeling relief.

If distressful feelings were soothed or problems were resolved when you were a child, you experienced comfort and relief.  If you didn’t receive comfort, you may struggle to understand the 3 important components of providing comfort to others.

Do you recall receiving any of these three critical ingredients of comfort?

TOUCH

Some parents touch and hold babies and toddlers but then stop offering nurturing physical contact as their children get older.  Yet touch is and remains a vital component of true comfort.  If  you didn’t receive much touch as a child, you might struggle with providing it.

LISTENING

Second, parents who are good listeners ask questions so they can understand what is going on in their child’s heart and mind.  Some parents only ask questions when their kids are in trouble. “How come you got a C on your homework?” “Who ate the ic cream?” “What did you do to your sister?” Hopefully there were also inquiries about what was happening in your heart and validation of your feelings.  Did you have permission to feel your feelings and deal with them?

RELIEF

Finally, did you find relief?

If someone noticed we were having a hard time and offered us a safe place to share our troubles, we felt seen and valuable.  If we felt frustration and someone listened and responded, we felt relief.

Comfort is not possible unless emotional connection was made.  Talking about your emotions helped  your parents know you and also helped you know yourself.  This self-awareness that comes from learning to reflect gives us the ability to understand our reactions, behaviors, needs, and inner conflicts when we’re adults.  This ability is one of the most important skills to bring to a marriage.

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE A MEMORY OF COMFORT?

If you can’t recall a specific memory of being comforted, you’re in good company.  A large percent of adults report not having a single memory of receiving comfort from a primary caregiver when they were a child.  If we rarely experienced relief from our families who taught us to relate to people, then we are missing some important relational and communication skills.  Our early experiences taught us how important- or unimportant- our feelings and the feelings of others are in any given relationship.  If your parents had difficulty noticing and soothing your distress, you probably grew up in a family with little emotional connection.  Without realizing it, your mom or dad most likely discouraged the expression of certain emotions or responded poorly to your feelings.  (If that’s the case, your parents probably didn’t enjoy meaningful emotional connections with their families growing up).  When emotional connection is lacking, you learn to restrict emotions and minimize what’s bothering you, and you will not expect relationships to offer comfort.  After all, it’s hard to expect something you never experienced.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to have an emotional connection when no emotions are apparent?  The ability to console and bring relief to your spouse or significant other when he or she is upset and agitated is foundational to a close, emotional bond.  But if this wasn’t modeled for you, you don’t even recognize its absence.

It’s important to mention that most of our parents did the best they could and were simply working with the tools they had.  Our parents did not receive all the tools they needed growing up either and could not employ let alone teach a skill they didn’t have.

Your goal is not to find fault but to gain a realistic picture of what went right and wrong in your early life so you can begin the healing journey toward growth and maturity.

WHAT YOUR ANSWER REVEALS

Answers to the comfort question reveal why some people are good at communicating while others have such difficulty.  Why some people hide their feelings and become anxious and uncomfortable during emotional exchanges while others seek relief through relationships.  Why some people seek comfort from a loved one while others isolate and disengage.

If your parents touched you, listened to you, helped you express what was going on in your soul, then it will be normal for you to express feelings, seek connection, and expect relief when life gets bumpy.  When people experience comfort during their childhood, they know a deeper level of bonding and intimacy.  If you did not receive comfort, you didn’t learn how to feel and deal, you didn’t learn words for the feelings in your soul (“SOUL WORDS”), and a genuine emotional connection was most likely missing from your life.

 

STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT POST IN THIS SERIES:  Relationship Tools, How We Love Part 3

Register HERE for the Relationship Conference coming in January 2016.

Relationship Conference

 

 

  • April 5, 2017 - 8:23 am

    Cassie - Seriously…I need to read this book!ReplyCancel

Have you ever heard the saying, “You never truly know your loved ones until you know their childhood?”  Our experiences growing up, good and bad, left a lasting imprint in our souls that determined our beliefs and expectations about how to give love and receive love.

All of us have an imprint of intimacy, the sum of our learning how to love.  Our imprint determines our love style – how we interact with others when it comes to love.  Our ability to love is shaped by our first experiences with our parents and caregivers during our early years.  These early experiences leave a lasting imprint on our soul that is still observable in our adult relationships.

Many people end up thinking their relationship is difficult because they married the wrong person.  This isn’t usually the case as they report having the same reoccurring problems in their second and third marriages.   Discovering your core pattern; The predictable way you and your loved ones react to each other that leaves each of you frustrated and dissatisfied is crucial to getting over those same old destructive arguments.

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Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be dissecting a book called, “How We Love”, by Milan & Kay Yerkovich that has FOREVER changed my relationships. This book offers valuable, life-changing information.  It can change how you love by giving you a clear diagnosis of and remedy for your relational problems.  Through this book I learned the root of why I distance during conflict while my husband my pursues.  It also revealed why his “niceness” was sometimes annoying and why connection was difficult for me.

When something is broken you cannot repair it unless you understand how it works.  What bothers us most about our spouse is undoubtedly related to painful experiences from our childhood and a lack of training in addressing the true challenges of marriage and relationships.  Some of these painful experiences we may not even be conscience of.

Our marriage problems did not begin in marriage and neither did yours!  You and your spouse or loved one are doing the dance steps you learned in childhood.  For each of us, a pattern of relating was set in motion long before meeting, causing you to relate to each other in certain ways.  During the next several weeks we will discuss some of the different love styles and how to recognize yours.

Often, your husband’s or wife’s unhealthy love style may be much more obvious to you than your own.  If you are struggling in your relationship, focusing on the behaviors of your loved one can make it difficult to see yourself objectively.  Once you determine which love style characterizes you, it can be used as the starting point from which you can move on to begin the process of growth.

DISCOVER YOUR LOVE STYLE, TAKE THE QUIZ HERE

STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT POST IN THIS SERIES:  Relationship Tools, How We Love Part 2

I am THRILLED to my core to announce we are having a How We Love Conference RIGHT HERE in our city!!!!!!

Register HERE for a Relationship Conference coming January 08-09th, 2016.

Relationship Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • December 6, 2015 - 5:14 pm

    Mike Briggs - Super excited for this conference!ReplyCancel

STORY

With an experienced egg scrambler on the scene, I reluctanly said yes to the surprise.  I could fake that the over salted eggs were delicious and that the creamer with coffee wasn’t too sweet – But, how much in the mood was I for a kitchen cleaning first thing in the morning.

I’d been down this road before.  My first pair of cookers also liked to do sweet things for me, that’s how I originally discovered the mess at the other end of the fork.

Even with this prior knowledge, sometimes you’ve got to ‘pretend smile’ and say “Of Course” even when you want to yell “NOOOO!” because that’s how I fed their hearts that day – overlooking how much work it was going to take to let them bless me.

Well . . . let’s just say, the breakfast surprise never really got off the ground, literally.

The simultaneous mega cracking got my attention.  Looks like the splendid mess took much less time to unveil then usual.

When Lil’ J pulled the egg container off the shelf, he somehow dropped the whole bin.

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{R.I.P.}

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So much for hot scrambled eggs!

My self-starters know my mantra, “solve your problem“.  When they saw me coming, they were already telling me not to worry because they were solving their prolem.  It took much restraint not to get in there and tackle that mess myself.  We all know that when little kids are done cleaning, it’s not usually thorough.

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A while later, I was given assurance from the duo that they had cleaned everything up.

It was now my turn to pretend like I wasn’t inspecting their work.  They actually did a pretty good job except for trace evidents of egg-white footprints and shells. I just had to laugh – Yes, there had been a huge mess on the floor, but so what; their motives were beautiful!

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God has been speaking to me recently about motives.

Messes are an important step of character building and life training.  Messes represent progress, and trying and failing and trying again – messes are just a part of life.  If we do everything for our kids {partners, spouses, friends, co-workers} because we want to avoid the mess, we stunt their growth by denying them an opportunity to practice.

Usually, it is our own anxiety that compels us which inturn, can lead to crippling results.  An overreaction to messes or imperfection may cause a person to eventually stop trying altogether.

My challenge is this – Before coming to a conclusion, seek first to understand the motive. When the motives are beautiful, give grace for the mess {or discreetly finish cleaning it up yourself}.

10 07 13_0068! cashm webAfter the exhaustive cleanup was complete, I received the bad news that the surprise had been cancelled due to a shortage in supplies . . .

too bad

I acted bummed out and told them I understood.

And the best part of it all, I didn’t make a single comment about the egg explosion.

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  • March 12, 2015 - 6:00 am

    Mike Briggs - I love that you “Love our Kids on PURPOSE! I’m thankful that our kids have a Mom like you!ReplyCancel

  • March 12, 2015 - 7:03 am

    Barbara Bullis - This is my first time reading your blog. Wow! I was so impressed I had to sign up. It’s the first blog I have ever signed up for. I’m impressed with your story, attitude, love and lesson. This is the kind of thing I would have written about if social media was available when my kids were young, not just to capture everyday cherished moments but finding the hidden lessons. Good job mom.ReplyCancel

    • March 18, 2015 - 2:38 pm

      LovelyDuet - Thank you Barbara for taking the time to check out the blog! I appreciate your support!ReplyCancel

  • March 12, 2015 - 8:41 pm

    Jenni - As usual, I LOVE your posts! I love your heart and desire to love well. You help us all want to be better moms. :) xxxooo

    P.S. I happen to think you are a clever and wonderfully talented writer.ReplyCancel

    • March 18, 2015 - 2:43 pm

      LovelyDuet - Ahhhh Jenni – You are such a valuable friend! Thanks for the words of encouragement!ReplyCancel

The revelation that homeschool was on my horizon for the next school year (2nd grade) had recently sunk in (recently meaning 10ish days).  But just several days later, I was performing a sudden”classroom rescue”. It was evident that we needed to start NOW and so we made the decision on a Wednesday and never looked back.  I was scrambling to figure out what to do when I came across the term “Deschooling” – it saved my peace of mind.

Deschooling simply means giving your just-removed-from-traditional-schooling child time to decompress before starting formal learning in your homeschool. The idea is that all children are born with a sense of creativity and a desire to learn and that these innate desires have probably been squelched by the institutionalized school setting.

We are the just-removed-from-traditional-schooling family.  For many reasons (too many to go into here), we exited school just last week.  The biggest reasons being, my son began to believe that he was a bad kid and he also needed one on one accountability.  I saw this thinking forming earlier and tried many times to squash that belief that was attaching itself to him like a dark shadow.  He didn’t believe me.  When he hijacked a conversation between my husband and myself saying, “I wish I could change me because I am bad”, that was it.  I didn’t send him back to school for one more day.  (For clarification, his 1st grade teacher was AMAZING and patient and we appreciate all that she invested in our son).

The amount of peace I felt in this decision (to not go back to a traditional classroom) surprised me – being rushed and unorganized is not my style.  And every morning since, when I drop off my other child at school, I feel relief that I have this little one tucked under my wing.  Though this was the year my children were all in school full time and I was expecting copious amounts of quiet, still, blissful alone time, when your baby is drowning you don’t hesitate to jump in fully clothed and unprepared.

As I was rushing to interview homeschool households and scouring the web for information, I came across the term “deschooling”.  It brought a calm to my heart and giddiness to my spirit because it gave me permission to breathe and gather my wits.  This adventure is one I never expected to be taking but am excited to travel – who would have thought!

Deschooling means it’s okay to set aside the books for a time. That doesn’t mean your student isn’t learning. You can do things like:

  • Take field trips
  • Visit the library for biographies, historical fiction, non-fiction books on topics of interest
  • Go to museums
  • Watch documentaries
  • Do a nature study
  • Do cool science experiments
  • Bake together
  • Plink around on a musical instrument you’ve been wanting to learn (youtube is a wealth of knowledge)
  • Go on simple and inexpensive dates where your child handles the money and budgets with cash and a check register
  • Explore art projects with different mediums
  • Play, play, play

Deschooling is a time for your student to decompress from the highly structured, teacher-directed learning style of a traditional classroom setting and rediscover his natural curiosity. It’s also time for you to explore his learning style, your teaching style, and the homeschooling method(s) that is best going to fit your unique family.

So, if you’ve found yourself with the realization that your child needs rescued from the classroom, rest assured that deschooling will give you the time to figure it all out.

And even more important, our children’s God given purpose is not tied up with what curriculum we choose, if we forget to teach them a skill, what college they attend (or choose not to go at all), their career or their net worth.  We cannot alter their identity because it doesn’t come from us.  Our mini warriors will be mighty someday, therefore, I can be at peace knowing that if I screw something up, I won’t change a thing that really matters . . . thank goodness because I don’t know what the haaaail I’m doin’!

Lil’ J deschooled today by asking me loads of unanswerable questions about zombies and regeneration.  He then preceded to create a Lego war between zombies and humans.  One of the first things (after World Warr II and President George Washington) he’d like to research is the anatomy of a zombie – I think we should start with fact versus fiction.

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  • January 27, 2015 - 9:19 am

    Mirlandra @ Mirlandra's Kitchen - Wow! What a great idea. And it makes so much SENSE to me! It is so wonderful that you were willing to champion your son.ReplyCancel

    • January 29, 2015 - 10:21 am

      LovelyDuet - Thanks Mirlandra! We are figuring it out as we go and it’s been a calm transition.ReplyCancel

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