Here are my top 10 favorite mom-approved Spring trends of 2019! I bet you already have a couple of them in your closet.Read More
I stood there in the coffee shop completely mortified. My daughter was throwing a fit over leaving and literally refused to move her little feet beyond the table where we had just 5 minutes prior been drinking our “coffees” and drawing on napkins cheerfully. I tried warnings, counting and even the “Ok, bye then. “ fake-out move. (You know the one.) But, no to avail. My strong willed girl stood her ground. Trying to hide my embarrassment and keep my cool, I whispered in her ear the advice she needed to get moving and led her with a firm hand out the door. All the while she cried pitifully for passerbyers. *insert eye roll and simultaneous face to palm* Parenting has got to be the most humbling job ever, am I right?
You see, I had certain expectations for how this day would go. It’s a day I had been anticipating with many mixed emotions for awhile now—kindergarten enrollment day. I got P and I ready for the day, hopped in the car and headed down to what will be her school home for the next 7 years! We picked up her packet and heard all about the way things run in kinder world. After that, I treated my big girl to a hot chocolate date with mom at the cutest coffee shop in town. How nice of me to think of her and how inconsiderate that she didn’t go along with my plans with a joyful attitude, right?
Expectations. If comparison is the thief of joy, then expectations are the accomplice in the getaway car. They disappoint every. single. time. I talk about this in my new devotional book Remain. Any time we put our hope in someone other than Jesus, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. We are depending on a person or a circumstance to meet our needs or fill us up in a certain area, and that just isn’t how God designed it. He knew people would fail us and He knew that we would fail others. He designed us to be filled by Him alone.
This past weekend at a women’s retreat, I had the pleasure of learning from Debbie Alsdorf. She’s a wonderful speaker and writer with a plethora of great books and bible study resources for women. She spoke to us about the proverbial cup we all carry. God provides us with this cup and He is our “pour over”. He pours over us every good and perfect thing we need to live the “lot” He has given us. When we live in that place of focus and dependence, we don’t need from the people around us. We don’t walk around asking what the world can give us or do for us. Rather, we pour out instinctively from the abundance that was poured over us.
The fit my daughter threw this morning was embarrassing, inappropriate and definitely needed to be redirected. However, that wasn’t what truly hurt me. It was the failed expectation that made my heart sink. It was a picture perfect moment this teacher mama had created in her mind that fell flat when disrupted. Kids are kids. They will never be perfect. To allow that failed expectation to ruin my day (and hers) isn’t fair to either of us.
So how do we stop ourselves from doing this…from sabotaging ourselves with expectations? Is it not ok to live hopeful that good things will happen?
I believe that God wants us in a place of hope—just not a self-created hope. I believe He wants us to wake up each morning with open hands and hearts, saying “Here I am, Lord. What do you have for me today?” I also believe He wants us to speak to Him our desires and dreams. He cares about them and wants to answer them according to His good and perfect will. We just have to be willing to submit. Today should have started with me telling God about my hopes and plans for today and inviting Him into them.
When we invite Him in, He does a work in our hearts and minds that we don’t see coming. He prepares us for what we will face and He pours over us every good thing we will need to live the day well. So, dear friend, I encourage you to consider your expectations. Who are you unintentionally setting up for failure? What expectations might you need to let go of? Read and pray this prayer with me from Remain:
“Lord, you are my constant. I praise you for you are always good! You are my provider , my strength, and my perfect peace. Reveal to me the expectations I’ve been holding on to. Help me to release those things and consequently let some of the people in my life off the hook. Remind me that you are the only one that can provide for me and fill me fully. Help me to be more dependent on you in this area of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. “
“I just don’t want to be nice!” she yelled back at me. I had been awaiting a response and hoping for a change of heart—definitely didn’t expect that one. I thought for a second before responding, racking my brain for some sort of magic mom wisdom to kick in. “That’s ok,” I said. “You don’t have to feel like being nice, but you can’t be mean.” My feisty little four year old was fed up with her two year old little brother being in her room and “messing up” all her toys—so much so that she decided hitting said brother would be a good idea.
Disclaimer, I don’t use every fighting moment as a teachable moment…well because we’d be there all day everyday, am I right mamas? However, this time I felt I needed to dig deeper. I told her I wanted her to look at her brother’s face. I asked her to imagine what she might feel like if he had done this to her. She glanced her little eyes over and quickly darted them back again. I could feel the tension in her as she fought to stay mad while simultaneously feeling an inkling of empathy for the sad eyes of her brother. I let it sink in for a minute and then told her that even though she still felt like being mad, she needed to apologize to her brother because that’s how we make things right. It took some time, but she came around and before I knew it they were hugging and playing happily together (for like five minutes…because #reallife).
EMPATHY— “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.” I truly believe we all want to raise little people to exemplify this quality. We want our kid to be the one to run over when someone gets hurt. We want it to be our child who stands up for the one being bullied. We want our little people to be kind, compassionate and considerate of others. But, we have to be honest with ourselves. Are we taking the time to teach it and model it?
In my six years of teaching experience, I can tell you first hand it is not something we innately have as human beings. We are prone to pride and selfishness, because sin entered the world long ago and it wreaks havoc in our lives daily. However, as much as we are prone to selfishness, we are also greatly moldable (especially as children). When we find a better way, we usually take it. It feels good to make someone else feel better. It feels right to understand someone, and to bring justice and peace to a situation. Those feelings are highly encouraging and empowering.
So, when we got news this week that our neighbor’s wife had passed away, I told my daughter about it. I gave her the news and we just kind of sat there for a moment letting it sink in. Then she said, “Mommy, that’s so sad. Now he’s all alone.” I nodded in agreement. “Mommy, we should do something to make him feel better. He doesn’t even have anyone to play with now.” “You’re right, sis. So what should we do?” I asked. We decided chocolate chip cookies are always a good idea, and also a card for encouragement. I watched as she worked hard on a card filled with cheery flowers, hearts and her best letters. Because I let it be her idea, she experienced great buy-in and reward. The more we allow our kids the opportunities to show love to others in tangible ways, the more they will begin to think of it on their own.
We’re not perfect. We’re busy. We mess up. We apologize. We just try our best. I hope you walk away from this post not feeling defeated that you’re not doing enough, but rather inspired and empowered. Inspired to implement empathy in your home or maybe just talk out loud about what you’re already doing (which is most likely the case). Empowered because you are the biggest force of change in your family and by placing value on raising the “nice kid”, you play a role in setting forth a positive chain reaction for all future generations. Cheers, mama! You’ve got this!
P.S. Anytime I want to teach my kids about something important, I always want to know what the Bible says about it. Here are a couple of verses on empathy that I love. I use them with my daughter to explain the “why” behind compassion and kindness.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.“ -John 15:12
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:32
Her. The one who has it all together. The one who can meal prep and cook like a boss. The one who can keep the house clean while simultaneously making the kids feel happy and seen. The one who takes life seriously enough to do big things, but also not too serious because she’s super fun and spontaneous too. The one who studies scripture and has words of wisdom on her lips at a moment’s notice. The one who doesn’t lose it when her kids do. The one who keeps up with her friends regularly and can go spend time with the girls without feeling guilty. The one who takes care of her body, exercises and drinks enough water. The one who knows how to keep things fun & fresh with her husband. Her.
Let me tell you ladies, SHE does not actually exist. So, we can all do a huge sigh of relief. I mean, honestly, it was exhausting just typing that. But, she’s who I was attempting to be. I didn’t even realize it. I remember at one point in our marriage a few years ago where were under quite a bit of stress. Our son Brixton had just come into the world 8 weeks prior, 3 months before that we had taken in a teenage foster son, and I was headed back to my full time teaching job with all the anxious post baby feels. I remember telling my husband, “I feel like I’m juggling while riding a unicycle and I’m constantly dropping at least one ball.” It was crazy times, you guys.
In hindsight, I realize I was still trying to do #allthethings even though I was carrying so much more than usual. I didn’t see an end to it and I didn’t know how much longer I could sustain the overwhelm. I had never expected perfection from anyone else, so why was I expecting it of myself? Why couldn’t I just give myself a break? Well, eventually I did…I had to. One day I opened my hands wide and I offered it all to God. With tear stained cheeks, I told Him everything…all the ways I had tried so hard and felt like I was failing, how tired I was, and how no matter how much I tried I couldn’t handle the burden of it all on my own. In that vulnerable space with my heart laid bare before the Lord, I felt peace. I felt Him whispering to my heart that I was doing just fine, and also that I was never intended to carry these things on my own. I decided right then and there that it was time to let some things go—some mindset things, some physical things, and most definitely some lies.
I started giving myself permission to leave a messy sink when it was too much for this tired mama to handle that day. I gave myself permission to sit and nurse my son in peace without also trying to plan, and think, and do things for everyone else. I started asking my husband for help. I said no to extra things that I knew wouldn’t be healthy to take on. I said no to the lies that popped up in my mind throughout the day. More importantly though, I started saying some better yeses.
I said yes to Jesus first and foremost. I said yes to intentional time with Him in whatever crevice of my day I could fit it in (and let me tell you—the craving for that time with Him grew and grew). I said yes to healthy and honest conversations with friends. I said yes to being more present and still. I can’t tell you that I don’t still struggle from time to time with some of these things. I think everyone does to some extent. I can tell you, though, that the choice to surrender whatever it is we’re carrying is a beautiful sacrifice to our Maker and incredible weight removed from our shoulders. So, let it go, sister! What in the world are you waiting for?
Hi friends! I’m so glad you found yourself here on the pages of this website, and especially here on the “Made Enough” blog page. I’m Tara—wife to a pastor, mama to two little cuties, teacher, and now author. I’m a coffee and dark chocolate enthusiast and a big advocate for slow mornings. I try my best to always keep it real, because who has time for anything else? I can’t wait to get to know YOU.
This blogging thing is a brand new adventure for me. I have always loved to write, and have considered off and on for what seems like a million years starting a blog (I know, like every other person in the world). With the launch of my book Remain I’ve had so many fun new opportunities present themselves and I can’t help but feel this calling on my soul into new spaces and places.
I claimed the word “flourish” as my word for 2019, not knowing what exactly it would mean for me. I knew for sure that this year would bring growth and transformation. It’s easy to see those exciting words and forget that with growth and transformation come risk, uncertainty and a stretching of yourself in sometimes painful ways. It’s uncomfortable and scary, but I’m going for it. One of the biggest leaps I’ve taken so far is to go from working as a full-time teacher to being home with my kiddos and pursuing all that this author business can bring. I have some big dreams and plans, but above all I am trusting in His. Over and over again He has been faithful. Over and over again He has provided. Over and over again He is working in the background even when I can’t see Him in the foreground. Over and over again He transforms the most broken parts of me and uses them for His glory.
Maybe you can relate to my story. Maybe you have a God-honoring dream in your heart and you’ve been debating whether or not to go for it. The least you can do is to commit it to prayer! What if that thing is your best yes? What if it takes stepping out and being vulnerable to fully realize who God made you to be? I one hundred percent believe that when we are walking in His will, we meet our fullest potential to be our greatest selves.
Maybe for you it doesn’t mean a career change or doing anything crazy different, but more of a redefining of your current self. Maybe you struggle to be content, have a difficult time making solid friends, wish you were more patient with your kids, or lack confidence in a certain area of your life. Whatever it is that you are dreaming of and striving for, let me remind you of something: you were MADE ENOUGH. Nothing we strive and dream for will make us more or less. No reputation or job or hobby can ever bring us true satisfaction. Every. single. thing. in our lives WILL let us down at some point. God, however, will not. He made us enough from the beginning when He created us in His image. Maybe it seems counterintuitive that we should dream and also be enough at the same time, but it’s absolutely not.
Your King created you with the very desires and skills and talents that currently reside in you. He wants us to dream and grow and be transformed through the renewing of our minds so that we can be effective in loving and reaching His people. If we park too much in the “self-made rockstar” mindset that we see all over social media which can seem so appealing and motivational, we end up a prideful fake version of what He really intends for us. Rather, let’s walk in the complete God-given confidence that we were prequalified and hand stamped “enough” from our very beginning.
YOU were “made ENOUGH”.
P.s. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Spill your dreams, thoughts, stories or encouragements in the comments below.