Every End Has a New Beginning

download (4)I thought my last post was going to be the end of my writing.  But since that time, God has been stirring up something new.  Although it won’t officially start until January 1, 2016…I would like to invite each of my subscribers to sign up for “Broken Can Be Beautiful.”  All you have to do is click on the link and once you’re on the page, click the “Follow” button.

Meanwhile, you can still join me on my new Facebook page, “Beautifully Broken.”  And if you would like a description of what “Broken Can Be Beautiful” is all about, check out my first post here.

Whether or not you decide to join me on this journey, my hope is that every single one of you comes to see the beauty in brokenness…how God can break a hardened heart and heal a broken one.

Two Words Every Mom (and Dad) Should Say

You’ve blown it.  You mistakenly blamed your child for something he didn’t do.  Maybe you raised your voice a few notches louder than necessary.  Or perhaps you broke a promise.

 

Deep down you know your child deserves an apology.  Yet you wrestle with saying the words…I’m sorry.

 

Maybe it’s pride standing in the way.  It could be that you never received an apology from your own parents.  Or you just don’t believe that someone in a position of authority should have to apologize.  In some cases it might be you don’t believe you’ve done anything wrong.

 

But here’s why “I’m sorry” are the two words every mom (and dad) should say to their children:

 

It shows you care about your child’s feelings.

 

When someone else’s reaction is over the top, when another person wrongs us or accuses us of something…it’s natural to feel hurt (or angry, embarrassed, etc.).  The point is that you FEEL something and our children are no different.  By not apologizing, you are dismissing their feelings.  But when you acknowledge your mistakes, it shows you care.

 

It holds you accountable.

 

Regardless of the fact you’re an adult and the parent, it’s important to recognize our wrongs.  Apologizing holds us accountable for our actions and will cause us to think twice before making the same mistake again.

 

It demonstrates humility.

 

Children should respect their parents…no question.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t mess up and when we do, that we just brush it under the rug.  Sometimes we have to swallow our pride and admit to our wrongs.  Saying “I’m sorry” is one way we can demonstrate humility to our children.

 

It fosters forgiveness.

 

Unless we apologize for our mistakes, there isn’t much room for finding forgiveness.  And it’s not enough to say “I’m sorry.”  Asking our child’s forgiveness helps him/her to grow in this biblical principle…not only in that they will seek forgiveness when they have done wrong but they will more likely forgive others who hurt them.

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

 

Don’t Miss Out on the Joy in Parenting

 In the midst of challenging stages we may be in with our children or even difficulties that seem to have no end, there is joy to be found in parenting.  Like anyone else, I appreciate the days (sometimes weeks or months) when everything is going well and my world feels right.  It’s so much easier to appreciate the role of mom or dad.  But it’s important that even if we’re not in that place, we don’t miss out on the joy that can be ours.

 

Here are some ways you can find joy in parenting (regardless of what’s going on):

 

Surrender.

I’m not talking about surrendering to depression or the thought that things will always be hard.  Surrender yourself to God.  Give up the pursuit to over-manage your children, to attain perfection, or the need to play the role of Holy Spirit over your family.  Surrender your children to God and trust that He has a purpose and plan far beyond your comprehension and/or the circumstances you’re currently facing.

 

Know When to Say Yes and When to Say No.

If you happen to be a people pleaser, saying yes tends to come more naturally.  But it’s not always a good thing—even if what you’re saying yes to is “good.”  Recognize when you’re in a stage of life that saying yes would cause you to be stretched beyond your limits or negatively affect your family.  Which means that you must learn how to say no.  Don’t try to make excuses or blame someone else (it’s easy to put it off on your spouse).  Take ownership of your no.  Having a balanced life is an important key to finding joy.

 

Increase Faith So You Fear Less.

You won’t gain increased faith by fearing less but you will fear less with more faith.  Trusting God with your children and life in general will bring greater joy.  Because instead of the focus being on your circumstances, it’s on God.  The enemy of your soul wants to rob you of joy by instilling worry and fear.  Don’t let him become greater than the One who brings peace in the midst of a storm.

 

Learn to Relax.

Some parents (raising a hand here) are oftentimes wound so tight they don’t know how to relax.  I’m not just talking about getting away to do something for yourself (whether it’s lunch with a friend or going outside to read a book)…although, those are important, practical ways to relax.  I’m referring to the way we sometimes freak out over the smallest stuff.  How we waste energy and time fretting about things that don’t really matter in the long run.  Let kids be kids and remember that messes can always be cleaned up…that they won’t always be that age and one day you’ll miss even the challenging moments of parenting.

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

Breakthrough in the Midst of Brokenness

 Recently I discovered a new song by a group called Lifehouse.  The song is titled “Broken” and it contains a line that when I first heard it, well, it sort of caught my breath.  It so accurately captures what I’ve been living the past few months…

 

“I may have lost my way now, haven’t forgotten my way home.”

 

As a spiritually broken mom, I’ve definitely felt lost.  And that means I haven’t been able to provide any real direction for my children.  How can a lost person show someone else the way?  Well, they can’t…and let me tell you, that’s a scary place to be when you’re a parent.

 

Yet the hope in all this is that I never forgot my way home.  I may have taken some detours and I might still be groping my way through the fog…yet I DO know how to get home.  And guess what?  So do my children.

 

In fact, of all times to see spiritual breakthrough in one of my children, it occurred in the midst of my own brokenness.  In our earthly minds it doesn’t sense.  But you see, if the forming of our children’s lives was solely based on us…well, God would no longer be necessary.  We can only come to see how very much we need Him when there is nothing else left.

 

I’m no longer terrified that my spiritual brokenness is going to damage my children.  No matter how “whole” I am and how well I play the Christian mom role, it can NEVER replace the God who meets every need and fills every empty place.  In fact, the more I get out of the way and stop trying to play Savior, the better off for my children.

 

Here’s the thing…yes, my children have witnessed that I’ve lost my way.  It’s not something I can hide, no matter how much I think I can.  They see through it.  I could stay stuck on this reality.  Yet God has been reminding me that they have also seen something even more important—that I know my way home.  They know the Word of God is still important to me…that tears flow…that prayer is a part of my life…that God’s ways are questioned…that praise and worship music lifts my spirit…that doubts sometimes plague me and that faith restores me.

 

In our humanness this sounds so confusing.  But God helps the senseless to make sense.  Only He can do that.  How do I know?  Because I’ve seen Him move more in my children’s lives during this season of my spiritual brokenness than I’ve seen in a long, long time.

 

And once again I come to the cold, hard truth that my abilities as a parent reach a certain point in which they can do nothing.  That all my efforts and good works as a mom don’t equal (or even come close) to what God can do in my children’s lives.  When I’m unable, He is more than able.  When I’m at the end of my rope, He pulls me up.  When I’ve lost my way, He brings me home.

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

When Mom Is Spiritually Broken

 Although you’re never fully prepared when it happens, it’s certainly not uncommon to deal with spiritual brokenness in our children.  Sons and daughters who struggle with faith, who question truth or even walk away from God.  In some ways we almost expect it to happen when they hit the teen years or when they gain their first taste of independence as an adult.

 

But what if the spiritual brokenness isn’t an issue with your child?  What if it’s with you?

 

It’s not something we hear much about.  It’s not a common topic in Bible studies or even as a conversation piece.  And yet it happens.  Probably more often than we know.

 

One of the things I have been committed to in writing this blog is honesty.  At times it’s required more of me than I’ve wanted to give.  I’ve shared things that others would have kept in secret.  I’ve exposed parts of me that I’d preferred to have kept hidden.

 

I would have loved to know I wasn’t alone in my earlier years of parenting.  And so that’s just one of the reasons I’m willing to bare it all.  Even now, with older kids, I still know that I’m not alone.  I want to be a voice that speaks out hard truths.  And so with that, I take a risk in sharing some of my own spiritual brokenness.

 

It’s scary to be in that place.  Because it doesn’t just affect me.  It affects my children.  Therefore, I struggle not only with my personal issues but fears that it will negatively impact my children.

 

Although my brokenness probably started at a time I didn’t recognize its beginnings…it became much more obvious in the early months of 2015.  A variety of challenges seemed to hit at once.  One of the biggest was the death of my father, which hit me very hard.  On top of that was the birth of my granddaughter—although certainly a joyous occasion, the timing and circumstances surrounding it still created some stress.  In addition there were marital problems, financial difficulties, job insecurities and health issues.  But these were just the top six.  Let’s just say that 2015 hasn’t been one of the easier years for me or my family.

 

The impact hasn’t just been emotional and physical.  It’s affected me spiritually.  Not that I ever walked away from God or stopped believing.  However, my faith was shaken to its core.  Regaining ground has been slow moving but at least there’s been some progress.

 

I’ve written quite a bit about guilt and how it affects parents—moms in particular.  When you’re spiritually broken and children are watching, guilt can consume you.  Somehow I’ve managed to avoid that.  Not that I haven’t struggled with it…but I haven’t allowed it to become bigger than my God.  I’m learning that even in my weakness, His strength is enough not only for me but my children as well.

 

This post is just the start of what I hope becomes a conversation piece for others…or at least helps them to know they aren’t alone.  You see, sometimes life is messy and pretending otherwise is useless.  It’s what you do with it that will be the greatest lesson your children will ever learn.

 

Mom (or dad), when you’re spiritually broken the only One who can put you together again is God.  He is also looking out for your children, especially when your tank is running on empty.  Regardless of what comes your way, no matter how far you fall and despite the scars you wear from the battle…God will see you—AND YOUR CHILDREN—through it all.

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

 

Parenting Is Hard

One of the most difficult and yet rewarding roles in life is being a parent.  You can read every book available on parenting, attend classes taught by “seasoned” parents and listen to the advice of those who have gone before you.  Yet nothing can ever truly prepare you for what’s ahead.

 

That first baby brings you such delight.  You marvel at every little thing he does.  Even cleaning up her first diaper mess is a joy.  Soaking in the new baby smell, you feel confident about parenting.  Then the reality hits.  After several sleepless nights, hardly finding time to shower, walking around with spit-up in your hair and feeling like a zombie…you realize that parenting is hard.

 

Then the 2’s and 3’s hit.  Toddlerhood has its fair share of delightful moments.  Adorable chubby cheeks, dandelions picked for mommy, hugs and kisses and laughter at the funny things he says.  But tantrums and messes quickly remind you that parenting is hard.

 

As they slip into the elementary school years, their personalities shine.  You begin to really appreciate the greater freedom you have as they become more and more independent.  And then you deal with a variety of issues that remind you once again…parenting is hard.

 

Then come the teen years.  They’re making strides in life, preparing for independence, setting and meeting goals.  You can have more adult-like conversations with them.  Yet rebellion, bad decisions and attitude can knock the wind out of your sails.  And again, reality sets in that parenting is hard.

 

The day your child turns 18 is only “magical” in that legally he’s an adult.  But it doesn’t change the fact that as your child moves into adulthood, parenting will still be hard.

 

When something is hard, we tend to view it in a negative light.  Yet anything that comes easily is much less appreciated than when you’ve had to work hard for it.  The time spent on your knees in prayer…the dedication you’ve shown in doing the best you can…the sacrifices made…the grace you’ve dispensed…the things you’ve given up…and the love you’ve shown even when it wasn’t returned or appreciated—these efforts have been worth it.

 

Parenting IS hard.  But that’s not a bad thing.  Never will you grow more as a person than when you’ve filled that role as a mom or dad.  So even in the midst of difficult and challenging times, remember that God will see you through.  When you look back, it will be with great appreciation you realize that despite the battle, you’re still standing…even when it was hard.

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

 

A Letter to My Children

To My Dear Children,

 

Nothing in this world has brought me greater joy than being your mom.  It hasn’t always been easy but I wouldn’t trade any of it for even one second of being motherless.

 

Yet I know I haven’t always done it right.  I’ve probably messed you up in some ways.  Maybe my fluctuating moods caused too much confusion.  Or you felt that at times I was impossible to please.  I know I’ve raised my voice more than necessary.  And I’ve probably said some unkind things.

 

I wonder if I was too strict about some things and not strict enough about other things.  I’m certain that I wasn’t always a good example.  And I probably changed the rules from one child to another.  That wasn’t fair.

 

I’ve tried my best.  I fell far short of perfection.  Hopefully you never felt that I expected perfection from you.  My goal was to have a healthy balance between discipline and grace.  I’m sure one side weighed more heavily at times.

 

You’ll never know the insecurities I felt as a mom.  The times I questioned my decisions.  And the moments I wish I could take back.

 

Despite these (and other unnamed insecurities), may you know without question that my love for you is unbreakable, unsinkable and indestructible.  And regardless of my many shortcomings, I can only hope that somehow you still felt my love even when I was angry.  That you sometimes saw Jesus in me.  That you felt my prayers.  And that I somehow lessened your hurts when I wrapped my arms around you.

 

Love,

Mom

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero