bare white

bare white


I don't do...

"Comparison is the THIEF of joy!" 
-Theodore Rosevelt

I dare say I have let a Thief into my house, my mind, and my heart a time or 2... or a thousand.  Looking to my left and right to see what other moms, families, and neighbors are doing can often distract me from what I know I should be doing. Yes, there are times seeing what works for others can really encourage and rejuvenate.  But sometimes it just steals my joy and contentment. What this looks like for me :

- Comparison - do my kids know that? Do that? Have the ability to do that? Can I keep my house that way? Am I ahead (let's be REAL I caught up?) with my laundry? Am I reading the BEST books? Eating the BEST food? Involving myself in the BEST things?
(I think you could actually make a pretty strong argument that the "best" things in life might just be what we idolize the most and distract us the most from keeping eternity in view...hmmm)

I could go on and on - fill in the blank for your own proverbial "thing". 

Addison and I were talking recently about what makes her unique and comparison to others did not make the list. But then again, neither did things like her long hair, her ballet abilities, her creativity, her love of reading...none of those were on the list I gave her. There was one thing on her list that makes her unique. It is HER - exactly how God made her to be. He didn't make anyone else like her - no one! Her ability to be unique is found in her identity in Christ and living that out because, there is no one else in this world that can be Addison Renae White. So if she gets caught in the trap of trying to be like someone else as a result of comparison, she is no longer fulfilling her unique calling to be HER. Sure, blue hair is a fun accessory, but not what would make her unique.

The same is true for my family, for ME. Letting that thief of comparison in gave me chains that I am now desperately shaking free!

Galatians 5:13, 16, 25-26 - "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another...But I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh...If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." 

I could type out all of Galatians 5 - it is so powerful in setting us free from Comparison, and Rivalry. God's word in Hebrews is called the "Law of Liberty" and I LOVE that! I only want to align myself with His word. I desire to live a life honoring to Him, pleasing to Him and His word gives Freedom. Freedom is NOT 'live however I want to live'. God has given us freedom to know Him (And how do we KNOW him? By His Word -the Bible), Freedom to live for Him, Freedom to worship Him, Freedom to love Him, Freedom to hear Him.

SO here is what I did. I made an "I Don't Do..." list. 
This list is not meant to compare or be legalistic. Infact, it's the exact opposite. Before I made this list, I was feeling a certain amount of guilt for things we recently chose not to do or to do depending on your perspective. After I made this list, it gave me a sense of contentment in our decisions that I longed for. There is no power in the actual list, but the practice of writing it out is what set me free from the aforementioned, self inflicted guilt.

1) I don't do real dishes in this season of my life...almost never
2) I don't sort socks
3) I don't fold my kids laundry
4) We don't do Santa (and no judgement on those that do...I just can't afford my kids lists to Santa)
5) I don't do large groups at Restaurants (rarely an just stresses me out)
6) We don't vacation with other families right now - Our family vacation is #1 and we don't have the ability to do multiple vacations in this season, and that's okay.
7) We don't camp - maybe someday but that day is not now and it won't be in a tent.
8) We don't have a set lunch in the summertime.

Trying to appear "cool"...after his eyes were dilated
"Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding." (II Cor. 10:12) 

This list may grow and change. I want it to as I grow and change. I refer to this list often (having a 'DO' list is helpful too!) For now though, the 'DONT' list has helped me regain focus and shake those chains off. What is on your 'don't' list?  Share it with me, I would love to hear. Or what is on your 'do' list? And how has it set you free from comparison? 


My journey with Shadd Houston the past 525,949.2 minutes

It's always interesting thinking back over the last year, 365 days, 52 weeks, 525,949.2 minutes. Sometimes it is with great sentiment we reminisce. Sometimes with regret. Sometimes with fear or anxiety. Sometimes unexplainable joy. Looking back involves emotions that are enjoyable to relive or possibly bring a sense of dread. For me, the last year has included all of the above and to be honest, something I thought I would never write about…let alone after years of barely blogging about anything. A few months ago I started thinking about putting the past 365 days into words.  I continued to dismiss it, not knowing how or what to even say because the words and memories left me feeling anxious...deeply anxious. Now, a few days (update: Saturday, the 15th) away from that 1 year mark, I feel a deep need to write it out. Maybe, just maybe, one other mom may feel encouraged. 

363 days ago, I was sitting on my bed crocheting the days away because I was on bedrest. I had been on bedrest for a few weeks because our little man was wanting to come too early. Being number 7, I wasn't too terribly worried because, well…this wasn't my first rodeo and all of our other kids came early. Him coming early was about to be the only thing that seemed "normal" to me after his delivery.

He did arrive early but still somewhat in the safe range. He was small, but I have small babies. He had jaundice and blood sugar issues for a bit but nothing too alarming and we have had that before with other babies.  Overall, he was a healthy, precious boy and all of our hearts melted at the sight and smell of him. Oh that newborn smell!! It is intoxicating, isn't it? The baby moon lasted the typical 2 weeks and it really was lovely. I deeply cherish those first two weeks.
Somewhere around week three, I noticed his temperament was changing and he was becoming more fussy. Our last 3 babies were not fussy and quite easy, and in my pride I thought we had "figured out" this 'having-babies-thing'. Our oldest two were very fussy babies, but then each one became progressively easier, so you can probably see why I thought I had figured out how to have and raise content babies. God, in His utter mercy, was beginning to show me  how much I desperately need Him... every day. Not just with easy and content babies, but with every baby. Every moment. Every second. Oh how I need Him!

As his fussiness increased so did my anxiety. After each of my other births, I had dealt briefly with baby blues and the feelings of anxiousness but never unbearable and it didn't last long at all. I assumed that would be the case with Shadd. Not so. Infact, not so in the least. Days and weeks went by and he became more and more unsettled in the evenings. My back would so badly hurt from holding him for so long in the middle of the night.  And the healing process for me in just delivering him was unlike any I had experienced thus far. Different medications were prescribed and finally one worked for a fierce bladder infection I could not get rid of. Once that was done and over, after weeks of effort, my anxiety started rising even more. Slowly, that anxiety started turning to depression and I became very frightened and scared trying to work through feelings and thoughts I had never had before. I kept them to myself until Shadd was about 4 months old. (I have since learned a common thread with Post Partum Depression is denial and not talking about it - so true for me) At that time, I read an article that had popped into my Facebook feed about a mom who had just committed suicide after dealing with Post Partum depression quietly for almost a year and I couldn't believe what I was reading. That night, in typical fashion of trying all of the holding positions and none working to get my buddy asleep I broke down after being in denial. I told my husband, through heaving tears, what I had been feeling and thinking for months. He graciously took Shadd, told me I was going to go to my OB in the morning and allowed me time by myself to just cry out to the Lord all of the tears and fears I had been holding in for far too long. I  reached a breaking point I didn't even know I had.

Like in the movies, what I would love to tell you is I was prescribed medicine and Shadd got better and everything has been lovely since. In actuality, I was prescribed medicine. I took it and experienced awful side effects. I do feel like that had been my peak and slowly, SLOWLY my hormones were starting to come back to normal range.  It was a roller coaster ride to get back to normal (whatever normal is) and still peaking at times in what felt like panic attacks. The difference this time -  just being able to confide in my husband and a couple friends as my doctor highly recommended. It actually made ALL the difference being able to verbalize what was going on in my head. That and a song I found "on accident" (no it wasn't an accident…sometime I will tell that story - it was completely the Holy Spirit).  Music has always had a powerful effect in my life and this song was on repeat. Sometimes ALL day.

Since then, Shadd has continued to grow and change and SLEEP and the anxiety is few and far inbetween. He turns one on Saturday (7/15 today!)  and is pretty consistent in sleeping through the night now…kind of. He is still one of our most challenging babies, but you know the crazy thing, I have learned more through a baby about my Heavenly Father's love and compassion than I knew was possible. I have grown spiritually and been convicted of pride & opinions in my life that I have put-on myself & others unknowingly when, in actuality, Jesus says He sets us free from those chains.  Only God can use a sweet, adorable baby to teach his adult children. I don't know what Shadd will be like in the future…as of now he is intense and adorable! He is aggressive and yet sweet. He seems opinionated just by how he responds to people, but yet content in my arms. What I DO know,  I am so thankful he is here and in our family and God saw fit to bless us with his LIFE! I am, now, so thankful for the journey (thus far) to get to where we are today…celebrating HIS 1 year birthday. Hind sight is 20-20 right? Hind sight shows me it is all worth it. Every tear. Every fear. Every doubt. Every smile. Every laugh. Thank you Jesus for this gift that came from You!