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.


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Surrender, Pray, Rest (While My Child is Away – Part 5)

Isaiah 65-24 Surrender, Pray, Rest While My Child is Away via www.JeanWilund.com

Surrender, Pray, Rest

Surrender, Pray, Rest is my motto for life and parenting.

Surrender opens our ears to God.

Prayer opens our communication with God.

Rest opens God’s blessings on us through faith.

When I asked Edie Melson, author of While My Child is Away: My Prayers For When We Are Apart, what she’d put into a Parents’ Survival Kit along with her book, she didn’t even hesitate. She said a journal and a framed copy of Isaiah 65:24.

Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

– Isaiah 65:24

Isaiah 65:24 encapsulates my motto well.

Surrender

Isaiah 65:24 speaks of our future when God will create the new heavens and the new earth. At that time, His presence will fill the earth. Sin won’t separate us from Him.

Our relationship with God will be so close, He’ll hear and answer our prayers before we even finish speaking.

Won’t that be amazing?

But what about today?

Christ destroyed sin’s power through His death on the cross.

All who believe that He paid for their sin and have placed their faith in Him for salvation are now free from sin.

Whoo Hoo! and WHEW! That’s no small victory or comfort. 

Sin can no longer separate us from God, butand it’s a big but here it can still mess with us. Hence, our desperate need for surrender. A daily, moment-by-moment choice to surrender.

When we surrender to God, our stubborn, selfish will doesn’t get in the way of our being able to hear Him.

Typically our will acts like a brat towards God, shouting, “Na na na na! I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”

When God wants us to know His will, He can be as loud as He needs to be.

Ask the Israelites who stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai after He brought them out of Egypt. God’s voice thundered such that they begged Moses to ask God to speak only to Moses any more. (Exodus 20:18-19) His voice could’ve drowned out Hurricane Katrina and Mt. Vesuvius at the same time.

God can be loud, but He more often speaks with a still, small voice into a peaceful, quiet heart, surrendered to Him.

Prayer

Prayer is like the starting gun for God’s will being poured out on His children.

On your mark, get set, GO!

He wants to bless us. He’s just waiting for us to ask according to His good will with faith that He’ll answer.

“Believe Me when I say . . . ” (John 14.11a)

We don’t need fancy words, a special place to pray, or a seminary degree. We only need a surrendered heart that comes to God in faith.

Rest

Rest isn’t necessarily something we do. It’s more like something we don’t do.

We don’t worry, beg, or bargain.

We don’t try to earn His favor.

Instead, we rest with a grateful, peaceful heart, knowing it’s all up to Him, and He’s a good, loving God.

Surrender, Pray, Rest

Surrender, pray, rest. Then rinse and repeat.

Edie Melson’s book While My Child is Away is a valuable tool to help parents do just that: surrender, pray and rest.

With 224  pages of prayers, devotions, and parenting thoughts, you can rinse and repeat every day for weeks.

I don’t do math, so you’ll have to figure out how long it will take you to go through the whole book yourself. Sorry.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into praying for our children while they are away.

It’s one of the most important things we’ll do in our lives. 

Keep surrendering, praying, and resting!

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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.


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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.


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The Surprise Blessing of Desperation — While My Child is Away – Part 2

The Surprise Blessing of Desperation

Imagine sitting across from two of your kids as they describe waking up, floating in a river hours after having been struck by lightning and blown out of their kayaks.

Edie Melson lived that nightmare.

Read the excerpt here if you missed yesterday’s post.

Motivation to Pray

Edie and her husband have raised three boys.

Three boys.

Boys get blown out of kayaks.

They say, “Hey y’all! Watch this!”

Boys are motivation to pray.

I’ll never forget when my son and his friends started their own Fight Club.

They pummeled each other for fun until we parents complained about the broken bones and outlawed it.

I’ve got other stories, but fortunately, none involve our son getting thunder bolted out of a kayak.

Edie and I talked about her journey to becoming a prayer warrior and writing her latest prayer book, While My Child is Away: My Prayers for When We Are Apart. 

Her story will encourage and inspire you.


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson:

I wanted to share my story to empower other people.

I write books on prayer now, but prayer for me didn’t come easily.

I thought I was really bad at it. I felt inadequate, like my prayers weren’t powerful enough to affect anything.

But I knew I had to pray.

The biggest thing was the desperation.

My kids needed prayer, and I couldn’t do anything but pray.

At that point, I didn’t realize that prayer was the best thing—the strongest thing—I could do.

I looked for books on prayers, but they were formal. And they weren’t my emotions.

One morning I called out to God in my quiet time.

The disciples asked You to teach them how to pray. Do it for me, too.

Everywhere I turned for the next six months, information just showed up. Scriptures would appear on billboards.

God finally got through to me that prayer wasn’t about the formality, the words, or the ways. It wasn’t legalistic. 

A huge weight fell off my shoulders. I can do this!

But I still felt awkward.

I began going through Psalms, inserting my children’s names in Scripture.

I began to write them out because I’m easily distracted.

This process of journaling and praying scripture for my children revolutionized my prayer life.

When I finally clued into the fact that the power in prayer didn’t rest in me or my words, it rested in God, the whole world opened to me.

All these prayers that were in me, waiting to come out in just the right way, started flowing because I finally got that it didn’t have to be perfect.

We want our prayers to matter the most with our kids.

Without realizing where the power in prayer comes from, we can dam up our prayers ourselves.

God wants us to be free and able to come to Him without feeling stressed.


The Surprise Blessing of Desperation

Desperation isn’t fun, but it’s a great teacher. It reaches us when logic and reason can’t.

God used desperation to clue me into the power of prayer, too.

With my kids far away, the only real power I still had to impact them was prayer.

Like Edie, I felt a desperate loss of control.

My desperation led to the surprise blessing of peace.

Peace comes whenever we let go of the need to control and choose to trust in and rely on God instead.

Fully trust in and rely on Him.

God knows all our kids’ needs, and He’s always good and faithful to work exactly as He knows best for their good and His glory.

And He knows how to move us from desperation to peace.

One helpful tool is Edie Melson’s While My Child is Away.


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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.




While My Child is Away (Part 1)

Is your child away? Learn how to best pray. While My Child is Away (a book by Edie Melson) Interview by Jean Wilund

 

Here we go again. Kids scattered around the country.

Is your child away? Learn how to best pray. While My Child is Away (a book by Edie Melson) Interview by Jean WilundLast night Larry and I drove off from Clemson University with an empty U-Haul and without our youngest.

Year two of our empty nest begins. Tweet Tweet.

Every time one of our children flies away, I turn to prayer.

This year I’m turning to prayer and my friend Edie Melson’s new book, While My Child is Away: My Prayers For When We Are Apart.

Edie’s book is a beautiful healing balm and great reminder of the power we hold in our prayer-clasped hands to affect our children’s lives.

Our prayers make a difference whether they sleep in the room at the top of the stairs or lay their heads down 4,677 miles away.

Take a Peek Inside:

 

While My Child Is Away:
My Prayers For When We Are Apart 

by Edie Melson

Three days after I signed the contract for this book, two of my sons went for an afternoon kayak trip on a nearby river. They are fully grown and capable young men—one served in the military and the other has a degree in outdoor leadership. They’re both married, are not novices about the outdoors or about life in general. As experienced outdoorsmen, they don’t ever take unnecessary chances. So the confidence I have in their ability isn’t misplaced. Even with that, I felt a momentary battle of what-if when they told me about their proposed outing. Instead of voicing my fears, I told them to have fun and took my motherly worries to the One who can ensure their safety.

The next day I found out just how close I’d come to losing both sons.

They’d been on the river when a strong thunderstorm moved in with unusual speed https://pharmacieinde.fr/produit/levitra. Immediately they headed to shore, but never made it to safety. They woke up three and a half hours later. Both were in the river, separated from their boats and each other. One son was caught on a snag in the middle of the river, the other was lying half-in and half-out of the water on the shore. After they’d found each other—a harrowing ten minutes later, they’d assured me—they assessed the injuries they’d sustained and realized they’d been struck by lightning.

While both are fine, with no lasting damage, this once again reinforced the fact that we never know when our children are headed into a dangerous situation. Whether our kids are headed to first grade, camp, college, or just a day at play, we need to be praying for them. Not just general, “God, please protect my child” prayers, either. We need to invest in a solid set of knee pads and be ready to do battle for them on a daily basis.

That’s what this book is about.

Any time our children are away from us can be a time of anxiety. We can’t always help the emotions that accompany specific situations, but we can always take those emotions to the One who will provide the protection they need and the peace we crave.

Praying for You

If your child is away, I know how you feel.

If you have something specific you want me to pray, leave a comment or email me. I’m honored to pray for you and your child(ren).

Maybe you’ll want to pray this prayer I prayed last night as Larry and I drove off with our empty Uhaul:

Dear Lord, I thank You for Your faithfulness to my child.

Thank You that You’ll never leave her side.

Lord, I pray she feels Your strong presence even in the most stressful of days.

Draw her so close to You that she can sleep peacefully each night — even the night before exams.

Amen

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8 NASB

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