Truth or Dare? How About Both.

Truth or Dare? How about both. I dare you to tell the truth.

For those of you (everyone, because I’ve never shared it online) who don’t know why this community of women and ministry aimed towards mothers is such a deep gutted passion of mine, you are about to find out.

You know that place of great sin, the place you filed in the very back of your memories so no one could find it including yourself? The place that we all pretend we have never been to and try daily to hide from our family and friends. The reason we dress really pretty and hold ourselves together in public. The reason we attend church weekly and join every bible study we can. The reason we do good deeds and await the approval of others. That place. That’s the place of great regret, shame and guilt from which this ministry is deep rooted.

I want to share with you how human I am. How imperfect and insecure I am. But I also want to share with you how much God doesn’t see us as those things. How he looks at us with the most loving eyes and gently moves the hair from our faces so that he can see us. The real us. And FORGIVE us! And GROW us. This particular part of my story focuses on my feelings towards motherhood and why it didn’t start out positive.

It begins when I was 17. But how could it start at 17? I am almost 28 and our oldest daughter is almost 7 so that means I had her when I was 21. The answer to that kills me. Our oldest daughter wasn’t my first pregnancy. I could tell you I had a miscarriage but that wouldn’t be true. It was my choice. The ultimate debate. Is it right or wrong to allow children at the age of 17 to decide if they will bring a child into the world or end it’s life before it begins? Right or wrong, I had an abortion. And that’s where this part of my story begins.

Did I feel regret? Did I go into a deep depression? No. I pretended like it didn’t happen. I went on with my senior year of high school just like any other girl my age. Attending school dances, joining the cross country team, going bowling with my friends and stressing because I thought term papers and boy troubles were just too much. You probably want to stop reading because you think I have no morals and something must be wrong with me to feel nothing after such a major event in my life. On the other hand, maybe you understand because you’ve gone through something traumatic enough that it made you numb to the entire world. If that’s you, thank you for understanding.

The next year I joined my boyfriend at college where he began to get violent with me and emotionally torment me. I was no longer able to make decisions for myself, drive to campus by myself, make phone calls on my cell phone by myself or even go to the bathroom by myself. I wasn’t allowed to. Somehow, though, God showed me the little bit of hope I had left and I gained strength enough to leave. So here I was, living on my own, 4 hours from my mom and 12 hours from my dad in an apartment with 3 other partying college girls and no idea how to make decisions for myself after having the right taken away for so long. Within the first week of moving in with these girls, one of them told me, “Oh girl, you haven’t partied right until you’ve peed the bed!” WHAT! This girl is crazy.

Problem is, I turned into her. Drinking myself into dangerous situations, passing out all over town, spending money like it grew on trees, not working, not going to class and eating everything in sight. Well you know where that got me? Broke, fat and sick. I had taken out a school loan large enough to cover all 4 years of school at this University and spent the entire thing in 8 months. I gained over 20 pounds and many more problems than that. I think it’s pretty obvious I did not stay at that school the next year. I moved closer to my mom and attended a small community college working towards my psychology degree. How fitting! Maybe I could get extra credit if they used me as an example in the mental health class.

I started dating someone new. I got pregnant within a few months of us dating…….by choice. Guys you thought the mess was over. It is only beginning. After announcing the pregnancy to his family, they were furious! They told me I was having an abortion. I refused. They told me I would put the baby up for adoption. I refused. After all else failed, they took our house, vehicle, horse…..everything away. I was working full time, sometimes overtime at Starbucks but began to get too dizzy to work. I was also attending classes when I could. He was hosting huge parties in our house while I studied, cheating on me, working about 16 hours a week at a gas station and using any little money we had to buy beer and chew.

We decided to give it one more chance after she was born and move away to go to a college where he could attend on a rodeo scholarship and start over. We were there not even two months when I had had enough. We were living in a trailer that shouldn’t have even been available to rent. Cupboards falling off the hinges, no air conditioning, and the list goes on.  I called my dad to come get our daughter and I and we made the very long trip to live in Colorado near my dad.

2 years later I started dating a new guy. This guy was different! He loved me, he loved my parents and he loved my daughter. He treated me so well I couldn’t help but doubt that it was real. I, again, got pregnant after only a few months of dating. We weren’t married. If God hadn’t given up on me with my first daughter, surely he had now. I knew I had let down my family and anyone else important to me. How much more screwed up could I get?? Well the story gets better after we had our daughter. We got married a year and a half later and FINALLY I did things right and we made the choice to have one more kid INSIDE marriage how God intended it.

Nothing ever goes that smoothly. I had a doctor who didn’t believe me when I told her something was wrong only to find out I had a hole in my uterus large enough to deliver our son out of. Followed by spinal headaches, blood patches and lots of pain and recovery. Followed by postpartum depression, my husband getting laid off, and a cross country move to North Carolina. Those who know me, know that that brings us to today! We are now living in North Carolina and God couldn’t have had a better plan! I feel more alive than I have in my entire life, my husband is reunited with his father and happily working for him in their family business and we are living the country life we have both dreamed of. God and I have talked everyday and had some major healing sessions. Ha. It would take many to bring me out of that mess!!

Ladies, I have never experienced something that feels SO RIGHT in my spirit. The ideas for this blog and all of the future plans that go along with it just came to me so effortlessly. God planted them into me after going through some major healing through forgiveness. To those who hurt me and to myself for hurting others. My past was not the result of a bunch of people hurting me, it was the result of my reacting out of my hurt and making bad decisions. And in their defense, they were only hurting me because they had hurts of their own. It is a viscous cycle. Hurt people hurt people.

You know what God says to that? I CHOOSE YOU. I HAVE A PLAN FOR YOU. I forgive you, now let’s use your MESS and turn it into a MESSAGE!!!!

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Daily Prompt: Vigor

I’m especially feeling it today. The Monday after Thanksgiving break. Although, I enjoyed time with my family and eating entirely too much – I fell out of routine. For us busy moms, routine is crucial! How else can we get 12,563 things done in 12 hours with only 2 hands?

Not only do I feel out of routine, I feel overwhelmed and guilty! I feel guilty for not getting things done, for not being prepared for this week, and for not spending my extra time wisely. I feel overwhelmed with the fact that I now have to squeeze two weeks worth of work into one. The kids are tired from traveling and I’m just mentally tired in general.

Now that we have all soaked in our pity and found other mothers who understand, what do we do about it? How do we dig ourselves out of this quiscksand feeling of procrastination and overwhelming to do lists?

Four things we MUST do to get our heads above water:

  • We must climb out from underneath our need to have someone or everyone sit with us in our own pity. We are moms and this world is full of moms. Knowing that, we can be confident in knowing that SOMEONE understands what we are going through! If you still need to satisfy that need, then hop on the Mama Knows Mess blog and read away! 🙂 This is a place FULL of imperfection and messiness!
  • We must attack this a little at a time. Everything can not and will not be done in a day. If your house has to stay a disaster for a day (or week) so that you can focus on completing your budget, stocking your fridge, running errands, catching up on projects or making those phone calls, then so be it! If you have to do one load less of laundry in order to sit in silence with your coffee while the kids nap. DO IT. We are only one woman, despite what society wants us to believe.
  • We must track and celebrate our success! And by success I mean remembering to thaw the meat in time for dinner. Write down 3 things you want to accomplish today and be specific. Clean the house is not specific. Run errands is not specific. Clean the kids bathroom or mail a bill is specific. Put them in an order that works for you. If it works better to plan to make a call during naptime while its quiet and then mail a letter while you are already in town picking up kids then do that. If your schedule isn’t too limiting and you can put the ones that take the least amount of time first down to the more time consuming ones, then do that. No matter how you organize your list, refer back to it multiple times throughout the day. Here’s where I find that changing my thought process really counts. If I don’t get those 3 things done, I write down everything I DID get done and cross it off as if it were part of my original plan! I need to know that I was productive. If at the end of the day your list is full of crossed off things that read: got out of bed, drank coffee, watched a sappy movie and cried my eyes out, that’s OK! You WERE productive, because clearly you needed a mental break. Now you got the tears out, you relaxed a bit and you can tackle tomorrow with more mental clarity! The only thing I urge you not to do is have several days of this. This takes you to a dangerous place of added negative emotions including guilt. Even more guilt than you already felt.
  • Vigor. Tackle life with vigor! The more chunks you bite off, the more you will realize you are making progress and it’s starting to FEEL GOOD! Because you wake up earlier and take a walk, you start to see pounds falling off. Because you ask your husband for an hour away to be by yourself, you are starting to see mental weight falling off! Not only can you make yourself create lists and accomplish things, but you are now finding you ENJOY it!

 

via Daily Prompt: Vigor

I Hope My Kids Get Hurt

For those of you reading because you thought, “WHAT kind of mom could possibly WANT her children to get HURT?” Welcome and thank you for joining in on the conversation. 🙂

I promise I don’t abuse my kids or support dictator type parenting styles. I am not some sick mom who doesn’t worry about my kids and what they will come across in this harsh world. In fact, I think I am a good mom for wanting my kids to get hurt. Let me explain.

Through my own struggles, I have come to a season in my own life where I am learning to use those struggles as strengths. And how fitting that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, because I am actually very thankful for my trials. Let me rephrase that. I am very thankful for a loving God who has pulled me up out of those trials and blessed me tremendously with people that are willing to be broken with me.

The abusive relationships (both physically and mentally), the unfaithful partners, the back stabbing friends, the loneliness, the divorce, the tragic events, the hurt, the alcohol, the money spending addiction, the postpartum depression, the anxiety attacks, the constant moving, the blended families, the loss, the untrustworthy doctors…..all of it. I’m thankful for all of it.

Ok, now maybe you may trust that I don’t abuse my kids but are thinking I must be a special kind of crazy to be THANKFUL for all of this hurt!

Guys, how on EARTH would I be able to describe to unbelievers how amazing my God is without relating to them in their deepest hurt, looking into their teary eyes and telling them that I serve a loving and forgiving God? A God who shows grace and forgives us even when we don’t feel like we deserve it. A God who is always with us even when we think we are completely alone in this world. A God who loves us no matter how badly we have screwed up. A God who brings good out of EVERYTHING.

Do I WANT to watch my kids cry or panic or feel lost? Absolutely not!! But I desperately want them to feel the deepest kind of love I have ever felt in my entire life and that love comes from God. The One who sees us through EVERY hurt. I am only human as a mother, and I can’t be everywhere. I can, however, bring my children to the lap of a God who CAN. The greatest gift I could ever give to them is the gift of salvation and the feeling of knowing that someone who loves them is with them EVERY second of EVERY day.

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I used to consider myself a person of controlled emotion. I never showed emotion in front of anyone and was seen as the girl who could handle anything and have a stable reaction. I RARELY got angry or acted out. Although, that may have seemed ideal growing up, I know better now. Humans were not created to be strong. They were created with emotions; each one serving a purpose. We are not capable of holding it all in. We will explode.

Feeling emotions is very healthy! I just love seeing people express emotions. Hugging, crying, smiling, laughing. I am still working on showing these but I sure am learning the value in sharing these with those I love. Even when I’m hurt, I pray that my children never have to wonder how I’m feeling, how I feel towards them, how I feel about strangers or how I feel towards God. ❤

Diamond in the Rough: A Letter to my Best Friend

Dear best friend of mine,

Let me start by having you watch this music video of Miranda Lambert’s new song Vice.

That’s where I was. Sitting right in the middle of my misery and all of the unhealthy ways to deal with it. Single mother of a beautiful baby girl; tender age of 1. 50/50 custody, week on week off. I got to see my baby for a week and then had to sit in my apartment alone while she was away. I was terrified to sit there in my own thoughts and motherly instincts.

What did I do instead? Well, I think it is pretty obvious. Alcohol and hangovers, places I shouldn’t have woken up at……moments in time I have no memory of. This is where I went when I couldn’t bear the thought of not rocking my baby to sleep, not kissing her soft cheeks, not dressing her up in frilly tutus and taking pictures of her at the park.

A week was over and I was back to being mom. A good mom. I loved that little girl and she was my main motivator in life. The reason I made a thousand hard choices that were good for us. The reason I moved us 2 states away so we no longer had to live in a run down trailer with no air conditioning in the heat of the Nebraska summer.

I finally found a job and daycare and was able to get out on our own after living with my dad. Freedom felt good, for about a week. Then it was loneliness. A place no one around me could relate to. I felt heavy judgement from others and tremendous guilt for my actions. The guilt and loneliness turned me into someone I didn’t recognize.

Urbandictionary.com defines a Diamond in the rough as:

Someone (or something) that has hidden exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, but currently lacks the final touches that would make them (or it) truly stand out from the crowd. (Urban Dictionary)

The phrase is metaphorical and relates to the fact that naturally occurring diamonds are quite ordinary at first glance, and that their true beauty as jewels is only realized through the cutting and polishing process.

During this time, I was fortunate enough to find friends from work who may not have been able to relate to my motherly issues, but who were broken too. Who weren’t afraid to talk about being broken and be broken with me. One stuck out to me, though.

You. You spoke life to me, maybe without realizing it. You told me that I was a good mother, that I was a good person and that I had potential. You even earned me an interview at work for a promotion. You certainly believed in me more than I did myself. You chose to see past my habits at the time and see the person who was underneath all of that. You gave me something to live up to. I didn’t want to let you down. You were such a comfort to me. Even though you had many hurts of your own, you chose to put your focus on raising me up and pouring life into me.

We are still friends and now we both have children. I have to say, you are the most wonderful mother a kid could ever ask for and it’s no wonder why. You pour life into people and if you are pouring into your kids like you poured into me, you are changing the world!

Loving and believing in people is what God has called us to do. Let’s be honest, we are all just good people who got hurt and turned into ugly people. There are definitely seasons of this. Either we are the people getting broken or the ones helping the broken. Both of these phases involve healing. We are always healing because this life will never stop fighting against us. We are constantly surrounded by temptations, addictions, hurt, sickness and a long list of others. Who are we to say that our hurt is bigger than someone else’s?

What we don’t know about someone is exactly what we would have to know to understand. 

I will never forget how you changed my life and continue to do so.

Love, Lakin ❤

God’s Grace and Direction in a Time of Great Sadness

There are thousands of “my ex did me wrong” stories out there, but this one is different. This one ends with God’s grace and direction. Please join me in my first attempt at telling this story in text.

I’ll skip over our relationship and why it didn’t work out. I’ll even spare you the details of the aftermath, disagreements and court battles. This story begins in July of 2014, when our daughter was halfway through her 4th year of life. Her precious and fragile 4th year. She was on an overnight visit with her dad and his girlfriend over the summer and everything seemed to be going fine. I am a mother and always have anxieties while my children are out of my care, but things seemed to be going OK.

Until……

I woke up early one morning to NINE missed calls from the local POLICE! Thoughts immediately started racing through my head. I was wondering if my sister and her husband were OK. Was it my mom or dad? Please tell me no one got in a car accident! For some reason, I just trusted that my daughter was OK with her dad because if she wasn’t, her dad would have called me!

I can’t even tell you what the voicemail from the Police said except, “we have made sure your daughter is taken care of and you can call us back to come pick her up.” WHAT?!?!? OMG omg omg. It took several phone calls, a bunch of panic and some adrenaline driven actions to figure out where she was and how to get to her.

Of course, at the Cops attempt to keep me calm, they gave me a pretty watered down version of the story and assured me everything was OK. They told me that her dad had attempted to hang himself (before being cut down by his girlfriend that just happened to show up at the right time) and that he was recovering at the local hospital.They assured me that my daughter was asleep for the whole thing. She was in the care of his girlfriend at their house.

You guys, I can’t even explain the following weeks very well because it all turned into a blur of sleepless nights, nightmares (for both her and I), tons of phone calls, counseling sessions, lots of investigating on my part and a large number of prayers. As time went on, I learned through my poor little girl’s counseling sessions that she had seen the whole thing. I also learned that there was domestic violence involved, lots of alcohol and physical force from the cops that was needed to resolve this case. All the while, I was being told that she was asleep and didn’t see a thing.

For a mother to learn that her precious 4 year old daughter not only witnessed such a horrific event, but potentially could have been left alone out in the middle of the country with no one to care for her and no idea how to get a hold of anyone (had her dad succeeded in his attempt) just totally dropped me to my knees. I think you can imagine the feelings I was having about myself as a mother. Guilt and helplessness being among the top contenders!

Fast forward through short supervised visitations with her dad, his time away recovering in a hospital and plenty of court sessions and phone calls……we came down to the day that would change everything. After a 9 month battle in court, I pulled up to the courthouse parking lot preparing myself to walk in and have a judge tell me what would be happening moving forward. I had no control over the situation. I was at a place of no feeling. No tears, no anger, no arguments, no nothing. I felt like I was floating in space, no connection to anyone or anything. Just there…..floating. I was terrified when the judge gave us his ruling. Her dad had earned back every other weekend visitation including overnights!!!!

Needless to say, the next year or so was a very rough road. It was full of potty accidents, emotional roller coasters, night terrors and a very unknown dark time for me. I continued to pray, because I knew God was the ONLY ONE who could pull us out of this. Can I also tell you that her grandpa (her dad’s dad) passed away just 5 short months after the suicide attempt, throwing her dad into an even deeper spiral and adding to my daughter’s sadness and confusion.

Where is the grace and direction in this story? It appeared out of nowhere, just like God loves to do. It was May, 2 years later……things had been going fairly decent with her visits and we had finally made some progress on her emotional healing. However, this harsh and relentless world wasn’t done with us yet. My husband was laid off at his 10 year career and we were about to lose everything. GOD didn’t stop there either! He gave us a phone call that would change everything! Family in North Carolina wanted us to move near them so they could help us out! They had a job, house, everything. (I need to write a post about that blessing of a move too!) We would be moving from Colorado all the way to North Carolina.

Problem is: how will my daughter see her dad? How will he react? Will he approve of the move? Will we be able to get through court before we have to move? Everything was back to the place of the unknown! Me floating in space again. I made the very hard call to her father and to my surprise he approved of the move. WOW. Of course, we didn’t agree on visitation or any of the details and if we wanted the judge to decide it could be anywhere from 6 months to a year before we reached a decision, meaning my daughter and I would have to stay back while the rest of our family moved on.

God spoke to me and instructed me to show grace as he has shown us and to have a sit down lunch with her dad with a plan to work things out. This was a long shot. We hadn’t agreed on anything other than the fact that we both loved our daughter up until that point. Do you want to know how that lunch ended? We came up with a full agreement, signed papers and he even bought my lunch! Now if that isn’t God, I don’t know what is. In that moment I learned that when we are in our times of most uncertainty, we need only turn to God and react how He would. God is a God of forgiveness, grace, second chances, love, kindness, selfless acts and transparency. He is a God who heals broken hearts and reacts out of love, NO MATTER the situation!!

As of today, her dad has plans to travel across the country in January and attend a father-daughter dance for her girl scouts. When I tell this story to people or they were there in the thick of it, they don’t understand my actions. They don’t understand my trust or forgiveness or how much I “allow” him to see our daughter. Truth of the matter is: she is not my daughter, she is God’s child. I have been given the honor of caring for her on this Earth and I will try with everything I have to care for her like God would.

 

 

Feedback Friday: Extrovert or Introvert?

I really want to hear more from and learn from you guys! So now I want to dedicate Fridays to “Feedback Friday” where I will be bringing a question or topic for you guys to comment on 🙂
Let’s start with : Do you consider yourself to be an extrovert or introvert? What challenges do you come across, being this personality type?
I am an introvert! I find that, although, I do like to go to gatherings and be around people from time to time- it takes a lot of time to recover from such things! This may seem silly, but it takes me a week or so of having lots of quiet time in order to get my energy back after attending an event with lots of people (or any people at all 😜).
Tell me about you now!
(You can find a fun quiz to do here! http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=1311)

When being positive is hard 

We have those days, weeks or even seasons of life where we just aren’t feelin’ it. Boring job. Ain’t feelin’ it. Messy house (again). Ain’t feelin’ it. Adulting in any form. Just AIN’T feelin’ it! Raise your wine (err I mean coffee) and cheers if you can relate! 

Ok, so after we’ve sat on the couch and lazy day-ed our way through our bad mood, we come to the end of it and realize nothing has changed besides maybe our ever growing to do list after ignoring it for a day. We know we can’t change our circumstances by hiding away in a cave, but for now that just feels good! Hmph. *arms crossed, lip out.

If we are being serious though, how DO we get out of a rut like this? How do we get back to a place where we ENJOY keeping a clean house, ENJOY running errands and keeping a schedule, ENJOY being intimate with our husbands, and ENJOY being someone people want to be around?

The answer I’ve found is- finding inspiration. Dig through your own personality and find what energizes you! What did you enjoy doing as a kid when you had free time? Where does your mind wander when you find yourself in a dream state? What brings you peace? Is it gardening? Running? Reading? Painting? Cooking? What do you naturally tend to gravitate towards doing? What makes you smile just thinking about it? 

I know you are thinking the idea of wine and sleep just makes you grin from ear to ear, but let’s try to think of something you could add into your DAY. Once a week at least! 

This blog and my inspirational group on Facebook came that way. I was constantly posting inspirational quotes and long posts that inspired deep thoughts. I came to realize not everyone enjoyed seeing those, so I started a group thinking it would be a few women from my friends list that would occasionally see the quotes and it would change their day. (It’s grown to something much bigger and more beautiful than that to my surprise.) That ENERGIZED me! 

I also enjoy art, reading, going for walks, sitting on the porch, decorating our house, and quiet time in general. Some people love to throw parties and attend events and be around people and that’s what energizes them! If that’s you, do THAT! The point here isn’t finding the perfect thing to do, it’s MAKING the TIME to do it! 

I know you are rolling your eyes at me thinking, “It must be nice to have all this time to do things you enjoy.” That’s not the case. I have plenty on my plate including 3 children under the age of 6 who need my attention from sunrise to 8pm and a lot of times throughout the night. But you know what I decided? I decided that if going for a 2.5 mile walk/jog every morning at 5:30am before my family gets up is what prevents me from having anxiety attacks on the side of the highway, then I am going to MAKE time to do that! I also decided that if it inspires me to bring positive quotes and stories to women online, then I will choose to use nap time to do so and the housework can wait!

 Let’s be really honest here. If I spent that time cleaning the house, the second the kids woke up it would be a disaster again and I would not have gained an ounce of energy or purpose from that. It is 100% productive and necessary for us to find a passion we have and MAKE time to feed it! These things that we have interest in, God has uniquely weaved into our personality because he needs us to DO THAT to fulfill the purpose he has planned ahead of time for us. These hobbies that energize us are usually our unique way of relating to people and sharing our Heavenly Father with them! God is no fool. He created each of us uniquely and he loves to see us revel in that! ❤️