Know Your Worth

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm139: 13-14.

Recently my oldest daughter, Taylor, opened up in her blog about being in a very bad toxic relationship. I was so proud of her for her bravery in coming out with her story and taking on this important topic. Abusive relationships are not discussed enough in our country, and when it is a certain stigma seems to come along with it. I invite you to read her blog and get an idea of what she had to endure, and also want to share a little on what it is like for a parent to watch your child live in such an environment.

Since Taylor was a child she has always been very shy and insecure. As a parent I question myself all the time in why she is. Is it something I did wrong as a parent? Could I have done anything different? I have suffered from anxiety and shyness all my life as well, so I question if this is something that can be passed on to your kids as well? No matter what the answer is Taylor has had to navigate through life trying to overcome these issues. My heart would always hurt watching her as she was growing trying her best to make friends, feel included, and just be part of the crowd and feel good about herself. I often had to push pretty hard just to make her go to birthday parties or take part in a physical activity. It was a struggle to say the least. The insecurities within herself often would appear in ways that no one can even imagine. Taylor, starting as early as her 5th grade year in school, developed an eating disorder that we still struggle with to this day. (I will discuss that in more detail in another blog). There were so many struggles for her from the very beginning.

Then the age came when it was time for boyfriends. As each new boyfriend came into our lives, so did a new set of problems. Due to Taylor’s insecurities she was never the best judge of character. This in turn made for some pretty unhealthy choices in the relationship department. The relationship she got out of recently turned out to be worst of them all. It was very mentally and we later learned a very physically abusive relationship. It was one of the most agonizing things as a parent to watch your child suffer and there really is nothing you can do about it. Yes, we were her parents and did try various ways to try to get Taylor out of the relationship she was in. However, like most teenagers the more we pushed one way, she would push the other. So we had to just sit back and watch and spent many days praying that in some way the relationship would end. Thank God our prayers were answered . He ended the relationship.

I watched my child suffer so much. I watched her become someone that I did not even know. Yes, she has always been insecure and shy, but I witnessed what seemed like the life dripping out of her slowly. Therapy was a must, and many prayers were lifted up. It was a very dark time, but after the relationship ended we were finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I immediately had a sense of relief come over and saw the softening occurring in Taylor as well. It was almost instant that the chains were broken from her and life came back into her. It was such a blessing as a mother to see that all hope was not lost.

Since my girls were little, I have always tried to teach them about self worth and loving themself. I would always tell them that they were made by God, so that means they are beautiful. I always tried to make sure they knew it doesn’t matter what others think of them, that are beautiful to me and in the eyes of God. You will see, through our experience with Taylor, that sometimes no matter what you do it will not keep them safe from harm. There are many days I blame myself. I would always tell my girls to know their worth, when a lot of times I was blind to my own. As a woman, living in the environment we do, it is hard not to be critical of yourself. We are all expected to look a certain way, and the expectations are almost to much to bare sometimes. So, like others I was guilty of being hard on myself as well. I am not saying it caused Taylor’s problems, but I do not think it helped it much.

I just want to make sure that everyone knows from our stories the importance of knowing your worth. Do not let this visual world make you feel less than you really are. Take control of your life. Don’t let others tell you what you are and where your riches lie. Know your worth. Know that you are a child of God, and he makes all things beautiful. If you find yourself criticizing yourself, go to him in prayer and read your bible and renew your mind with the power of his words. If you find yourself in a bad relationship, get out. Do not let someone else affect your mental health. Be strong and know your worth. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength . They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31.

I am so happy that Taylor is in a much better place now. She has a strong faith and that has also helped her through everything that she has been through. She is in a new relationship now that is loving and healthy. We are so grateful for that. I am also grateful that she has learned so much from her experiences and she has learned to rely on God to help guide her path. I love watching her become a strong powerful woman, who knows her worth.

I pray each of you are covered in many blessings today!!

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Do Not Fear

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

This past week has been an uncertain, and I must say a very scary time for our country, and our world. The COVID-19 virus has taken over life as we know it. Just in the past week we all have had our lives turned upside down and we are having to learn to adjust to a new normal. A new normal of the now well know topic of “social distancing”, along with homeschooling, working from home, stockpiling supplies and groceries, and the confinement of staying at home due to the closure of restaurants and stores. This new normal is difficult for people who live in a country where we have always had the freedom to do what we please, and live our lives with such comfort and ease that we have had rarely had to think about the basic necessity of survival. I would say 9/11 was the closest we have all gotten to really having our lives forever changed and the uncertainty and fear that has also come along with the virus we are facing today.

In just a blink of an eye, our world is completely different. Last week I went to a grocery store with well-stocked shelves, and passed on getting toilet paper because we had a few rolls already at home. This week the same grocery store had empty shelves and had me kicking myself I didn’t buy that toilet paper because there is now a shortage. Two weeks ago I bought my 18 year old her senior prom dress and watched her smile and laugh with excitement as she tried her dress on looking forward to her very last prom. Now, this week we are being told more than likely they will not be returning to school and that means no prom, no graduation, no more senior memories for her. My heart truly aches for all my children, but it really does for her as this was supposed to be such a special memorable time for her.

So what are we supposed to do when we are facing such scary and uncertain times? How do we ease our children’s fear and anxiety through this? How do we calm our own anxieties and worry? These are all really hard questions, and because everyone is unique and deals with things differently there may be ways one person handles a situation that works better for them. As a Christian, I am doing my best to handle the situation the only way I know how with God by my side.

Here are a few tips that I am encouraging not only myself to follow but my family as well:

  • PRAY. Pray for our world, our country, your community, your family, your friends. Talk to him. Tell him your worries and concerns. Pray that we soon can get back to what we know as normal. Pray for a cure. Pray for those who are already sick to be healed. Pray for a hedge of protection for your loved ones and others. Just give everything to him. Prayer is so powerful, and trust me it works!! I prayed to the Lord and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Psalm 3:14.
  • Don’t allow FEAR to rule your life. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done. It is difficult for me as well. However, we cannot live our lives in fear. We just can’t. We must stay strong, and lay all of our worries at God’s feet. We must make sure our kids see that we are strong and not living in a state of panic or fear. It is important for their mental well-being that we do this. Kids are so vulnerable, and so it is important for us to create an atmosphere of peace for them. Stay strong and don’t let the fear take over, live your life!! Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue. Isaiah 35:4.
  • Focus on the GOOD. I always try to find blessings out of every situation I am put in. Even the messy ones. Yes, the world is a scary and messy place right now. However, let’s try and find some good things to pull out of this. The first thing I can think of is that I get to spend more time with my family. Now that we are all home, we can spend more quality time together. Last night, we had a family game night and just chatted. It has been a long time since we have gotten to do that. So that was a huge blessing. Instead of focusing on the negativity and fear, reset your mind and always search for the good and the hope. An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. Proverbs 12:25.
  • Know God is in CONTROL. You may be scared, your children may be scared and worried, but God is with you. Lean on him for your strength to get through this. Allow him to be your rock. When you feel the anxiety taking over your mind, pray and know that God is in control of this situation and he will never leave your side. Let him guide you to learn how to deal with the new normal we are all facing, let him show you that through him, you are strong. Peace is what I leave with you, it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. John 14:27.

Just know I will be praying for everyone during this time, and I pray that very soon this uncertain time will be over. I know you are all scared, but I also pray that each of you are covered with many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer