Surviving the Dreaded Bleh’s of Life

Surviving the dreaded Bleh's of life can be hard. Find encouragement, hope, and strength here through God's Word and Lauren Daigle's song "First" via www.JeanWilund.com

I’ve held onto too much in my life, unable to let go, just surviving.

I’ve never been happier than when I learned to let go of my rights, shame, unforgiveness, and that obnoxious shirt that hasn’t been in style since 1987.

But letting go of my children? Bleh!

That one feels like it just might kill me.

I wrote the original post below in August 2015, when our baby was headed to college, before our oldest daughter moved to Hawaii, and before our son and his wife moved from North Carolina to Lexington, only a few miles away.

Almost two years later, I need the encouraging truth in this message just as much as ever. Do you?

Surviving the Dreaded Bleh’s of Life


Two years ago, I felt this day coming.

See my post: I Know, But . . . How Do I Survive My Children Leaving?

In that post I shared how to avoid becoming another Norman Bate’s mother. I’m proud to report — as are my children — that I’ve successfully not morphed into her!

But the empty nest is descending faster than South Carolina humidity. 

I’m not clinging to my children like a crazed mother, but my heart breaks over missing them. 

How do we do more than survive? How do we live with joy despite the Bleh’s of life?

Lauren Daigle hits the mark in her song “First.” 

Before I cry over my children, I will rejoice over my God.

Before I dwell on my pain, I will dwell on His presence.

Before I do anything, I will seek God FIRST.

“But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.”

~ Matthew 6:33

I’m not saying we should treat God as if He were our genie in a bottle or manipulate Him into giving us what we want.

I gave you my heart, God, now give me three free houses all next to Larry’s and mine for our three children. And make Lexington, SC just like Hawaii so they’ll want to say here.

Seeking God isn’t about getting what we want, except that it is.

When we seek God first — truly seek Him with our whole heart first and foremost — we actually do end up getting everything we desire because everything in our being actually desires Him above all things.

God is our highest desire.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
~ Psalm 73:25-26

Think about it. Even individuals who reach the pinnacle of success in their field only enjoy a measure of contentment for a period of time. They don’t stay content.

People who’ve lost hope and appear to desire nothing actually do feel deep desire — a deep desire to stop feeling desire.

Desire is never satisfied until it reaches its truest and deepest longing — God

I don’t want to stop desiring my children, but I do want that desire to stop hurting so much.

I want to be able to give them over to God and send them off into the world with a genuine heart full of joy, not a quivering upper lip.

When God is my first heartbeat, my first breath and my first thought — my all — then His glory and presence cover it all — including my sorrows. And His joy is mine.

“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
~ Psalm 16:11, NASB

Living in the midst of our highest desire — God’s presence — turns our tears into laughter. 

Some pain, like the death of a loved one, can’t be completely mended on this side of heaven, but fullness of joy relieves a lot of pain.

It has the power to wash away our bleh’s.

I’m thrilled for my children and their exciting futures, but as long as they’re far away, I’m still going to miss my babies.

So if you’re reading this, kids, call me!

Yep, Lauren Daigle’s song “First” is my go-to song as I pack up my baby and send her into the world.

I will seek God first as our last child leaves. 

What about you?

What is tugging at your heart today? What Bleh’s are you survivng?

Seek God first and let Him fill your heart with His glorious presence and fullness of joy.


Surviving the Dreaded Bleh's of Life #First by #LaurenDaigle #Hope #Christ Click To Tweet




Birthright & Michael Jr Comedy Deliver

Birthright & Michael Jr deliver love & laughter because every child has the right to live, every mom has the right to deliver her child, and we all love to laugh. via www.JeanWilund.com

Birthright & Michael Jr Comedy deliver.

Birthright delivers help to those pregnant & worried. Michael Jr. delivers non-stop laughs.

I’m delivering both here.


Birthright of Columbia

Ever meet someone and know from the moment they reached out their hand, you were about to be changed?

Hank Chardos of Birthright of Columbia is one of those people.

Hank’s love for others, driven by his passion for Christ, spills out into his smile and eyes and spreads out into everything he says and does. He’s a man on a mission to make a difference.

The mission? Hank and Birthright deliver help to women who are pregnant and worried. 

Reach Out, Columbia magazine invited me to share Hank’s and Birthright of Columbia’s story. What an honor! And here it is. 

To read the article, click on the link or photo below:

(If you’re reading this by email, the photo may not be shown. They only allow me one photo per email. Sadness.)


Hello, This is Birthright of Columbia

Every child has the right to live, and every mom has the right to give birth. That's why Birthright of Columbia does what it does. Read their powerful story here. via www.JeanWilund.com

Please pray for God to send more volunteers to help Birthright International answer every cry for help.

And if God prompts you to volunteer, there are many ways to help. They’re listed in the article.

Thank you!

Every child has a right to live & every mom has the right to give birth. #Birthright… Click To Tweet


Michael Jr. Comedy — New Baby

Because it’s Monday, and I usually write a Monday Music post, I felt I owed it to my loyal readers to deliver. 

But today I felt like switching it up and start our Monday with a laugh. (I’ve been ugly sick for over a week now. I need a good laugh.) 

In this clip, Michael Jr. delivers laughs on the joys of bringing a new baby into the world. Enjoy!

Michael Jr delivers laughs. Enjoy his stories of delivering a new baby. #TooFunny #MichaelJr Click To Tweet




Pickles with a Purpose (An “Are You Kidding Me?” Story)

Pickles with a Purpose (An "Are You Kidding Me?" Story) Ten-year-old Luke houses the homeless one pickle at a time, proving you can make a difference no matter your age. via www.JeanWilund.com

Pickles with a Purpose. Are You Kidding Me?

I met the most amazing kid, and Focus on the Family let me share his “Are you kidding me?” story.

It started for me when I noticed several jars of pickles sitting on my sister Melissa’s kitchen counter. The label said, “Pickles with a Purpose.” Bahaha! How can you not love that name, right?

Then Melissa began to share the story of ten-year-old Luke Holm and his purposeful pickles.

She told me he’d befriended Tim, a man who happened to be homeless, and that wasn’t ok with Luke.

The part where his new friend lived in his car with his wife wasn’t ok with Luke.

Luke felt God wanted him to buy Tim a house. By selling pickles. And it’s working.

Which is when I uttered the phrase, “Are you kidding me?” 

Featured in Clubhouse Magazine

Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine features ordinary kids doing extraordinary things. Can we all agree that Luke more than qualifies?

I introduced Luke and his Pickles with a Purpose to the magazine, and they bit. They wanted to tell his story to the world. I got to write it for Clubhouse and share it with you here!

I hope Luke’s story will inspire you to make a difference right where you are — no matter your age.

Start today by sharing Luke’s story with everyone you know.

Somewhere out there is another Luke. The improbable story of Pickles with a Purpose may be the inspiration he or she needs to believe and get started.

But first, enjoy this crazy and inspiring story. Read Luke’s own words and hear his amazing heart:

Pickles with a Purpose (An "Are You Kidding Me?" Story) Ten-year-old Luke houses the homeless one pickle at a time, proving you can make a difference no matter your age. Featured in Focus on the Family's Clubhouse magazine via www.JeanWilund.com

Pickles with a Purpose (An "Are You Kidding Me?" Story) Ten-year-old Luke houses the homeless one pickle at a time, proving you can make a difference no matter your age. Featured in Focus on the Family's Clubhouse magazine via www.JeanWilund.com


How Has Luke’s Story Inspired You?

Incredible, isn’t it? Isn’t he? I could call Luke The Boy Who Said Yes to God.

If Luke’s story has inspired you to do something you never dreamed you could, I hope you’ll let us know. Tell us about it in the comments. We want to pray for you.

For me, Luke has encouraged me not to give up on my dream to publish my Red Thread children’s storybook Bible. It feels like it will never happen, but Luke kept working, and I will, too.

And he’s encouraged me that while “all I do is sit at home and write,” maybe my writing will be the avenue God uses to stir someone else to follow in Luke’s footsteps.

Maybe someone will read Luke’s story and step out in faith to follow up on that crazy idea that’s been on the back of their mind for a long time.

We all need help from time to time. And we all can make a difference.

Who will be the next Luke? You? Me?

Share your story!

And buy some pickles! They’re delicious. I know. I’ve already bought some. ?

Buy Pickles with a Purpose

Purchase some pickles and help Tim, as well as others, reach their dreams of putting homelessness behind them.

Or buy some as a gift.

In fact, buy a whole case.

Display them in your store. Open a store, and then display them.

Get creative. You’ll think of something.

Click on this link to get your own pickles:
Pickles with a Purpose. 

They’re sold through Glory Haus, Luke’s mom’s store.


Not only do pickles make a great gift, but so does Clubhouse magazine.

A Clubhouse magazine subscription would make an extraordinary Christmas gift for your 8-12-year-old. 

Clubhouse’s website is full of fun features, crafts, games, and extras. 

Find fun crafts, recipes, and stories for your 3-7-year-old on Clubhouse Jr.


Read the crazy & inspiring story of Pickles with a Purpose #AreYouKiddingMe @FocusFamily Click To Tweet




When Pain Is Like a Flower, Truth Makes Hope Bloom

When Pain is Like a Flower, Truth Makes Hope Bloom by Mekeishakay via www.JeanWilund.comEver met someone you’d like to have follow you around and talk for you?

All you’d have to say was, “Yeah. What she said!”

Blogger–and my new friend–Mekeisha has a way of explaining truth that leaves me staring at her dumbly.

When people stare at me like that, they’re trying to figure out what I’m babbling about.

People stare at Mekeisha because they’re mesmerized.

I want to grow up to be just like her.

I asked Mekeisha if I could rip a post off her blog and share it with you. She said, Sure – go for it!

I chose When Pain is Like a Flower because when she read it to my roommate Bethany and I at a recent speakers conference (Christian Communicators Conference–shameless plug), Bethany and I just stared, stunned.

I wish you could’ve been there. It would’ve been crowded in our hotel room, but you would’ve loved listening to her.

After you read Mekeisha’s post, go onto her blog (the link is at the bottom of this post) and leave her a comment, requesting she start streaming live readings.

Thanks! and Enjoy . . . 

When pain is like a flower

(by Mekeisha as appeared on her blog, Mekeishakay)

This afternoon, J (my 8 yo) slipped into my room for a visit. I was settled on my bed checking e-mails and reading articles, when she began twisting wool into a ring, and the words began to flow. I knew it was going to be more than a casual conversation when she opened with

Mom, do you know what really makes me sad? 

As she began to share, I was surprised to realize that my fun loving, rambunctious little girl had such deep thoughts brewing below the surface.

I’m happy on the outside, but I’m not happy on the inside. I feel mean on the inside. And angry. And hurt a lot… as she braided and re-braided the string in her hands, she looked away with the saddest face and said It can never change…

Oh, Babe, that makes my heart sad. God doesn’t want you to feel that way!

As I sat across from her, an illustration began to form in my mind:

Imagine your baby sister with a backpack full of rocks, so full she couldn’t even walk- she could only crawl, because it was too heavy to walk with. Then someone added even more rocks until she finally rolled over from the weight. She would be lying on a lumpy backpack full of heavy rocks!! Now wouldn’t that be terrible!? What would you do?

With tears in her eyes, she ardently proclaimed, I would walk over, scoop her up in my arms, kiss her and tell her that she was going to be okay, and then I would put her rocks in MY backpack, and I would walk over to the person who did it, and I would tell them

You may not touch her any more. You can only Touch Me.

I started crying as I put my arms on her shoulders and asked, “Now J, if you would do that for your sister, don’t you think God would do that for you? That’s exactly what Jesus did when He went to the cross! He saw how heavy our backpacks were, and He took our rocks of sin, shame, and pain and He told the Devil: You can only touch me.”

You can only touch me – so they beat Him with a whip.

You can only touch me –  and they spit in His face.

You can only touch me – and they placed a crown of thorns on His head.

You can only touch me – and they plucked his beard from his face.

You can only touch me and He was nailed to a cross.

You can only touch me and He went to Hell for us.

“Do you believe Jesus did that for you?”

She looked away and whispered… No.

How will I get through to her?

“Now… remember when you said that you could never change the way you feel inside? I have a question: What if R, your sister (who is only four) had a backpack full of rocks and you walked over to help her and she said ‘NO! I like my rocks! I want to keep my rocks! You can’t have my rocks!’

“What if she couldn’t even walk because the rocks were so heavy? What would you do then?”

She thought a moment, smiled wide and replied, “I would tell her, I know something that you like better than rocks, and I would take her rocks and give her a humongous Lollipop!”

“J, God wants to trade with you too! God wants you to give him the heavy stuff in your backpack so He can fill it up with something better… like love, joy, peace, patience- all these things are fruit of His Spirit working in you!

“Well, don’t you want to get rid of those rocks in your backpack?”

Mom, do you know how many rocks are in my backpack?

No, how many?

One. Just one big, really heavy rock.

What makes it so heavy?

Meanness, grumpiness, anger … the opposite of gentleness, hurt, and… tons of pain.

Why so much pain?

Because sometimes I feel lonely, or sad, and then I feel pain. My pain is like a flower that grows up from the rocks, and it doesn’t die even when it gets too much water, or too much sun… 


Do you think God can take your pain, that He can make it go away?

Yes, but sometimes it’s like someone sneaks in and plants another one.

Well, if that happens, we know what it looks like, right? It’s like a weed growing in your garden, and we know how to get rid of it! God can take care of that one too!

Let’s imagine there’s a table in front of us and you are unloading your backpack onto the table. You know, whenever we see something in our heart that shouldn’t be there, and we say it out loud, that’s called confessing, or admitting something is wrong. When we do that, God loves to forgive us! And it’s okay if you feel angry sometimes… I do too. The Bible says Be Angry–and sin not. It’s what we do with our big feelings that can get us into trouble!

It’s also okay to ask for help, because sometimes we can’t make ourselves do what we should. That’s why God gave us His Spirit. He said He would send us His Spirit so that we would have the power to do what is right. You’re not supposed to try harder to stop doing bad things, we’re supposed to ask God and let Him help more.

As she began to name the things that were in her heart–the anger, the hurt, the mean feelings towards others–her countenance completely shifted from being sad and heavy to being joyful and light.

When we finally emerged from the bedroom to share a snack with the rest of the family, she smiled and proclaimed, “I emptied my backpack!”


You know, I think explaining what we believe in simple words – for little ears – helps us to understand things better. I love the way she grappled with words to share what was on her heart.

I think I understand, though. Sometimes pain does seem to thrive, even when I try to kill it with forgiveness, or when I hope it will scorch under the heat of neglect, pretending I’m fine when I’m really Not… but I think God wants us to be honest enough to admit I hurt… and I need to be healed.

I forgave… but I still feel raw.

I want to do what is right, but I’m sad at the times I’ve failed…

Maybe confession is like opening a door to God. If so, we swung it wide open today.


Meet My Friend Mekeisha

Hailing from the frozen North of Alaska,
I am a wife, mother of four, poet, musician, artist and Grandmother wanna-be.

I read voraciously and love to teach others
about how amazing God is.

He’s a genius, you know.

Love God. Love people.

That’s as simple and complicated as it gets,
my friends.

I write a blog, Mekeishakay, that is my attempt to
share the beauty of our broken places, and the things I am learning in this journey.

Stop by and visit me: Visit Mekeishakay and find beauty, truth, and hope.

When Pain is like a Flower, #Truth makes #Hope Bloom #ChristCarriedYourPain @MekeishaS Click To Tweet

 

 




Laughter Through the Hard Times of Parenting (While My Child is Away ~ Part 4)

Laughter Through the Hard Times of Parenting. Learn how best to pray while your child is away in While My Child is Away (a book by Edie Melson) Interview by Jean Wilund

Parenting Will Make You Cry

Parenting will make you cry — tears of sorrow and tears of laughter.

Edie Melson, author of While My Child is Away: Prayers for When We Are Apart, and her husband try to look at life through the lens of laughter.

This mindset made a big impact on one of their boys late, late one night.

As teenage boys will do, one of their sons got into trouble in the middle of the night. When he realized he’d been seen, he ran away in the snow. Much to his surprise, they caught him.

The boy ran away in the snow and couldn’t figure out how they tracked him down?

When Edie and Kirk picked their son up around 3:00 AM, they could’ve been irate. But the humor of his shock over having been caught so easily was just too funny. They burst out laughing.

Their son later told them that was the day they became “the best parents ever.”

“I’m not suggesting we become our kids’ best friends,” Edie said, “but enjoying life together is important. Our kids need to see us relax.”

Laughter Produced by Joy

During a time when depression had snuffed out my joy, I still laughed from time to time. It felt great. But it never lasted.

Eventually, God taught me the comfort and power of His sovereignty even in the midst of deep sorrow. And that gave birth to more than laughter. It gave birth to joy.

With joy squishing out my anxiety, laughter came much easier–even in the hardest times.

Joy is Titanium Tough

Joy is titanium tough and enables us to laugh even when we’re picking up our son at 3:00 AM in the morning.

Worry weighs down our spirits. It can’t fix our problems or improve anything, but it’s great at making us miserable. Worry draws our attention away from God’s voice and opens the way to depression.

Joy lightens our spirits and helps keep our minds clear to hear from God. It strengthens us to face the challenges ahead with laughter rather than anxiety.

Joy is a Choice

Joy and worry are a choice we make. Which will we choose?

Edie encourages us to pray for God to teach our children how to choose joy.


Choose Joy

by Edie Melson

Your success and happiness lies in you.
Resolved to keep happy,
and your joy and you
shall form an invincible host
against difficulties.

~ Helen Keller

Dear Lord, as my child grows he’s going to go through times of hopelessness. When those struggles come, don’t let him get so bogged down in circumstances it affects his attitude. Show him how to hold onto his joy in spite of difficulties.

Draw him even closer to You when these times come. Make him hungry for you and for reading the Bible. I know how spending time reading Your Word makes such a difference in my life. Give him the same experience. So often we look for complicated answers when the truth is as simple as opening a book.

Use these times to teach him that joy isn’t dependent on circumstances. Our joy comes from You, and there are no circumstances too big for You. Help him learn this lesson early.

Surround him with others who can share this truth. Give them insight about what he needs to hear from them, and how they can help him adjust his attitude. Remind him that nothing is too big or too small for You. Amen.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
~ Romans 15:13 NASB


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson is the mother of three grown boys and the author of several books, including While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With Loved Ones in the Military. A sought-after writing instructor, Edie serves as the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Connect with her on her blog The Write Conversation at www.EdieMelson.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Edie and her husband live in Simpsonville, South Carolina.


Laughter Through the Hard Times of Parenting - We need it! #Stop2Pray #Pray4MyChild @EdieMelson Click To Tweet




The Myth of Perfect Parenting ~ While My Child is Away ~ Part 3

The myth of perfect parenting. Learn how best to pray while your child is away in While My Child is Away (a book by Edie Melson) Interview by Jean Wilund

Have you fallen for the myth of perfect parenting? 

I did. But not for long.

After I woke up to the truth, I sank into a pit of despair, thinking I’m the reason my kids will go broke on therapy!

Mercifully, God rescued me from that pit.

The maddening myth of perfect parenting continues to haunt me occasionally, but I’m glad to no longer be a card-carrying member of that fantasy land.

Edie Melson woke up to the myth fairly early in her journey, as well.

In her latest book While My Child is Away: My Prayers for When We Are ApartEdie shares one of her less than finer Momma Moments. Bahaha!?

The Myth of Perfect Parenting

Excerpt from While My Child is Away by Edie Melson

Coming into this parenting journey, my goal was to be perfect. Or at least I wanted to be as perfect as possible. I didn’t want anything I did—or didn’t do—to affect my kids negatively. It didn’t take long to figure out this wasn’t going to happen.

I remember one time in particular when I had the best of intentions. Our oldest child was born picky. He had certain likes and dislikes and nothing we tried to do could change them. One of the things he did not like was getting dirty, especially getting his hands dirty. This quirk even affected what foods he ate and how he ate. As a toddler, he refused to pick up any food that would get his hands dirty. This even extended to an aversion of handling things that had crumbs—like crackers and cookies.

This particular day I decided the time had come to introduce him to the fun that could be had by getting his hands dirty. I thought baking cookies would be the perfect way to sneak him into using his hands. I chose a recipe for sugar cookies that required working with the dough and getting messy.

He was fine with helping add the ingredients to the bowl to mix, but when it came time to sprinkle the counter with flour so we could roll out the dough, he balked. No way was he putting flour on his hands. In an effort to get him to loosen up, I flicked flour on myself to show him getting dirty was fun. He laughed, so I thought I’d take it one step further and flicked flour on him. Instead of more laughter, my act was met with howls of anguish as he fled the room. He barricaded himself into the bathroom until I promised no more baking. Definitely not one of my best momma moments.

Eventually he did lose his aversion to getting dirty, but it wasn’t anything I could take credit for. He grew out of it naturally.

Perfect parents don’t guarantee perfect kids. Whether the mistakes we make happen when they’re with us, or when they’re away from us, God can and will affect the outcome. I could have done every single thing right as a mother, and because of free will, any of my sons could have chosen the wrong path. How do I know this is true? Because God is perfect, and look how we turned out. He did everything right, but we still chose to go our own way.

I want to do what is good, but I don’t.
I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

~ Romans 7:19 NLT


Read that last paragraph again.

Now write it out and frame it.

Now read it every day until the Lord calls us home.

There’s nothing so comforting as the truth.

And the truth is that God is in control.

Whew!


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson is the mother of three grown boys and the author of several books, including While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With Loved Ones in the Military. A sought-after writing instructor, Edie serves as the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Connect with her on her blog The Write Conversation at www.EdieMelson.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Edie and her husband live in Simpsonville, South Carolina.


Perfect parents don’t guarantee perfect kids. God's perfect, & look how we turned out #Stop2Pray… Click To Tweet