Wednesday, April 18, 2007
more guts to spill
One of my very best friends back from Junior High, Janna, used to always say in our passed notes in the hallway, "I love your guts!" It stuck with me. We have all heard people say, "I hate your guts" but I love your guts isn't something you usually hear. So I say it to my Mom, I say it to Janna and I say it to Kelly Ann. And if I tell you that I love your guts, I really mean I love your guts. It sounds silly, but it's powerful. At least I think so! So for my friends that love me just as I am, guts and all, here is a blog you won't mind reading because once again, I share my guts!

My husband worked a twelve hour day today. Twelve hours! This also means I worked a twelve hour day. No breaks! I remember when I just had one child and napped every single day when he did. Actually having a newborn was tough in the beginning, especially since he was my first but after a few months, I got a lot of sleep. Then came baby number two twenty-three months later. It was tough in the beginning but Ava Beth began sleeping through the night at eleven weeks and through the help of the Baby Wise book, I managed to get the kids on a similar schedule. I was blessed indeed because they BOTH took three hour naps at the same exact time every single day until about four months ago when Josiah, my four year old, dropped naps. Twenty-four months after Ava Beth was born, Ezekiel was born. Josiah no longer naps but he is pretty easy, Ava Beth still takes a three hour nap every day and Zeke naps too. But, having three is without a doubt, 100%, the hardest thing EVER! Don't get me wrong. One is hard and two is hard but I have to tell you that THREE is harder. All of you moms out there that have more than three, I truly believe you are AMAZING. Praise the Lord, my three month old sleeps all night but I am still exhausted. Actually, I am beyond exhausted.

I knew it would be hard living three hours away from my Mom and three and a half hours away from my in-laws and Dad. My Dad came over just about every other day and I was able to run out to go tan, run an errand or just take a bath. Sometimes he would just play with the kids outside while I made dinner. It was nice knowing he was down the road if I needed him. The same with Jeremy's parents, they were close and often kept them over night. My Mom would sometimes keep them one or two nights at a time since she was a little further. People told me all the time how blessed I was to have grandparents so close and I knew I was but now I really understand what a blessing it was.

So this is where I am trying to find the balance. I am one of ten billion other moms out there struggling in this area. A good friend of mine once told me, "It's not your decade." She is a mother of four so I think I understand what she means! I am reminded of how much these babies have to come first. Motherhood is hard, yes. But, sometimes I just need to suck it up and do my job. Today I have complained a lot. I have whined a lot and been angry that I can't get a moment alone. Then I am reminded that I have the best life ever. I prayed for this. I am living my dream and they are my FIRST priority. If things are not flowing well in my home or I can't find joy in my day to day routine, nothing else is going to work.

I need a better attitude. There has been a lot of change lately and I feel like I have a lot of eyes on me right now. We have family watching and probably reading to see how we are handling it. We have people that thought we should have stayed where we were instead of moving because of our family being so young, etc. They are waiting for us to screw up, at least that's what I feel. Then I feel that our team probably wonders how we are going to manage, wondering if we are the real deal or wondering if we will be able to handle the challenge of church planting while raising a young family. How will our marriage be? How will we be in our relationships? How much time will we be able to give? Are we going to get burn out? Are we going to keep commitments? Are we going to be miserable away from our families? And so on and so on and so on. It's a lot! It's a lot to be on our plate but no matter what, we aint goin' anywhere! This is where God put us, this is where God wanted us. It's tough. I miss my friends, I miss staying at home every single night without ANYTHING on the calender. I miss a lot of things. But, God is ready for us to get up off the couch and do something!

Two years ago I was operating at a very intense level in my relationships. I am not able to do that anymore. At least, not right now. The Lord has changed me sooooooooo much. He has changed me so much that I am still trying to figure out who I am at this new place. Everyone expects me to be outgoing and a non-stop talker (and I still am sometimes). Two years ago that's how I was ALL THE TIME and I wanted everyone to like me. I wanted everyone to need me. I wanted everyone to know me. Now? Not so much. This past weekend when I sang as a guest at a church, I felt so uncomfortable. I did not feel like I used to feel on stage. I felt different. A part of me wanted to hide and not be seen. I did not think my uncomfortableness was obvious until my friend Erika said, "You looked different. You did not seem like the old Amanda I know who sings up on stage. You looked uncomfortable." She did not mean it in a bad way, but she saw the change. Her statement actually brought confirmation to me in a huge way. Two years ago I needed that stage, I craved it and it gave me so much affirmation. Today, I am not sure if I even want that or need that anymore. Oh sure I will always be a singer but it's different now, it's just completely different.

In the past I have not allowed things to develop naturally, including my relationships. It's always been all or nothing. And when I operate at that level, I get hurt. Today I realized that I can't please everyone. I have been scared that I will disappoint those on my team or do or say the wrongs things. I have felt like I have to prove something. It's NOTHING anyone has put on me, it's what I have put on myself. We moved away from EVERYTHING we loved, I don't think I need to worry about proving anything. I think our actions and our obedience says enough.

So today I made a commitment to myself and to the Lord. I have to take care of me first. If I don't take care of myself first, i can't develop relationships, I can't be a nurturing and loving mother and wife or anything else. I'm going to go slow, take my time and do things at my own pace. I have to. Sometimes I feel like saying yes, sometimes I feel like saying no. I can't be flexible with other people until I am flexible with myself and since I am my worst critic, I have got to learn to give myself a break. I have to "chillax"!!

I've been worried about what I say on my blog, what I say at a meeting, what I say during one on ones, what I say during trainings, what I say to new people, what I say in emails. I've been laying in bed at night beating myself up for so many things. I have not done in this in so long because I have been in this place where I don't have to put myself out there. We didn't go to church, we didn't make new friends, we just maintained what we already had. It was safe. And the Lord showed me today that if I continue to worry about what everyone thinks about ME, I can't be used. I just can't! Instead, I have to be me and be okay with being me. And if someone doesn't like me, doesn't understand me, oh well. Kyle, who is now my pastor, told me something over three years ago that I will NEVER forget. "Quit caring so much about what THEY think. Give yourself permission now to QUIT caring. It does not matter what they think about you."

Today I was so frustrated with myself. I was feeling all kinds of things that I have not felt in a long time. But I know that the Lord wants me to put myself out there again. As I try to get my feet wet, I do feel a little scared. I want to be excited, I really do. Right now I am at HIS feet, trusting that He will help me because I can't do this alone. We've got lots of team stuff coming up that will be fun so that's what I'm going to do! I'm going to have fun having all these new people in my life! What a blessing! What a blessing to have these people on the front row of my life. I sure need 'em!


  posted at 11:03 PM

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Tiffany said...


Gosh, I hate saying, "me too" all the time...but I just marvel at how much our thoughts, struggles and emotions parallel! Had almost the EXACT same singing experience at Christmas time (you know that)!

Sometimes I feel like "Nell" (character and title of the 90's Jodie Foster movie that, I think, 8 people saw). I am running naked through the forest and don't even have a CLUE as to how to be HUMAN, let alone INTEGRATE in society!!!

It's so easy to feel lost when the familiar is taken away...but I KNOW that GOD will SHAPE YOU, your FAMILY, your RELATIONSHIPS and your MINISTRY as you let go and just be...His.

I'm so glad He KNOWS us (the BEST us)...even when we can't find "us."

I love you, dear friend...
Tiff ;)

At 4:44 AM, Blogger V. said...

argh - I can so relate...!

I hardly blog anymore because I don't know what to tell people. God is doing so many things on the inner level that it is hard to describe to people.

A while ago, I typed this on my blog:
What then, am I supposed to do with ME?

"All that I used to be, I can’t be.

All that I am being doesn’t feel like enough.

All that I can be, is miles away from where I am"

I know for me, and I can see in you, we are dying to our personal ambition. Things that used to mean something, don't anymore. And in that, we don't know how to operate. We are NEW creatures, who recognize the trappings and pitfalls of the old, and we never want to go back there.

On this journey with you my friend. One day, one day, we will understand what He was doing.

At 6:11 AM, Blogger Kelly said...

Once again your honesty and transparency inspire me.

It can be so hard to let go of our concerns for what others think, and I firmly believe that is satan's trap. As long as we are worrying about our "shortcomings" we aren't able to focus on God's greatness, and His ability to use us, even with(or because of!)our weaknesses. You have been filled with God's amazing Spirit and have seen Him work so many amazing things in your life recently, and have boldly given Him praise. I know God is rejoicing and is going to continue to give you more and more opportunities.

I will be praying for you, I can relate to the self doubt and desire to please everyone around you. Keep in mind that you are pleasing the One Who truly matters, and the rest will all work out.

At 6:18 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Keep being real! I do indeed love your guts!!! Are you going to struggle along the way, UMmmm - yes! Is it hard leaving your comfort zone? ummm - yes! But guess what - if we all stay where we are comfortable, God can't use us!

I know what it is to miss family and friends (4 state to state moves in our marriage) we've left behind so much! BUT - there is not one of those moves that was not God inspired. Now - my story is not yours - and at the time, I may not have even seen the point, but we trusted Him and I wouldn't undo ANY of it!

I love you - and continually pray!!!!!

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Wendy said...

I love your guts!

After I read this, I went right to my Bible to find the verse I was looking is John 3:30..."He must increase, but I must decrease."

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Gina said...

While reading your blog this morning, it made me want to cry. Why cry? Because I feel the same way ALL THE TIME! I struggle with the same feelings and it gets me so down. When I'm positive and up, BOY AM I GREAT to be around, but man when I'm down...stay away! :o) When I listen to your heart, it lifts me up. God has truly blessed me with a new friend. THANK YOU GOD! Thank you Amanda! I love you already!

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Paula said...

I love that you are so honest and open about your walk in Christ. It is great to see where you have come from and where you are going.
I think staying home with children and not being around people daily will change you as a woman. You no longer strive to please like you did as a single or full time out of the house worker. At least that is what Chris tells me. He says he can tell a huge difference in me since I have been home. In a good way.
Although like you, you begin to wonder where all the friends are.
Well, just want you to know. I love your guts. At least what I know from a relationship over the internet!!

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Gwen said...

I say it again...I love that you are not afraid to be honest!!!! You inspire me!

I'm doing some work myself and trying to get real with what it is God wants from me. For me it is a bit frustrating because I want more NOW and I see that God is taking me one baby step at a time! When I look back over it all though it is indeed a giant leap!

I love what God is doing in your life!

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Christina said...

I love your guts too! :-)

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Kaukee said...

I can say that I was at your place Mandi. I told you that sunday would change things, you and your family. You planted seeds and you have planted them for yourself. I have always admired you in so many ways. I look at your beautiful face and see so much. I see how you are......and what you see is what you get. The only thing that I don't like about you don't think much of you. It is all about Him, but we are made in His image. Making time for yourself and not being caught up in what others think of you, girl it is major. Think about it. If someone loves your kids, doesn't that do something to you???? It is so hard to explain some things in email or in just words but I believe this is a major hurdle for you. God is going to honor this in you and it will help your empowerment, spiritual growth, family, self.....there is so much that you are actually doing for yourself but in the long run in reverence to God. Best blog ever. Your singing sunday was ordained of God and He made it about may not see it now but He made this about you. Major move and how great He is. You have his Favor, Grace and Blessing......let YOU enjoy it. I am so excited after reading this blog. I love your guts and spit.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Thank you Gina for commenting on this post. It means a lot since you are close by and are a part of this journey with us. I need your encouragement.


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Mommy, Mama, Mandi, Amanda, Babe and whatever else you want to call me! How do I have time to blog with three kids under the age of four? I'm up until midnight and usually later!

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