Wednesday, May 02, 2007

This is what happens when you are downstairs watching American Idol with your husband and your two year old is upstairs supposedly watching Cinderella. Yes, I have red sharpie on my flat screen, on the expensive side, monitor and the two year old has red sharpie on her legs, her stomach and I think a few places on her arms. And you ask, "Why would you have sharpies in a place a two year old could find?" Well, if you are NOT asking, my husband did! So you see it goes likes this. The computer is in the game room inside a armoire type of thing that closes and the tv and dvd player that the kids use are top. We use it as a tv stand too!Ava Beth did not open the doors in the past but now she does and she did not ever climb either but now she does. So she opened up the computer desk, climbed on a chair and found a red sharpie that I had hidden behind computer paper! Well, let's just say that Ezekiel's social security card came in the mail soon after he was born and I placed it on top of the computer desk and she found it and colored the entire thing with the same red sharpie! That's why it is hidden! My husband even said, "It sure is quiet up there." I said, "She's fine. She is obsessed with Cinderella right now so I am sure she is just glued to the tv." WRONG!!! And since we do not have extra money right now to spend on computer stuff, I will just have to type and read through the red sharpie. Plus if I did have extra money I would not spend it on a computer screen, I would buy shoes!

The truth is, this new look on my computer screen is just a simple reminder that this is how life is. It's not perfect, far from it. Last night I kept trying to remove the scribbling from the screen with all different kinds of things. The more I tried to remove it, the more frustrated I became. Finally I just decided to read through it, type through it and not let it get to me. However, I can't pretend it's not there. It's way too noticeable. There is no way to clearly view pictures anymore on this screen. With every word that I type, I see red sharpie. I constantly have the urge to try and wipe it off but it's just not possible!

There is a constant struggle I face every single day. The struggle lies within myself and I am constantly dealing with self condemnation. I second guess myself, question myself, doubt myself and sometimes I just plain dislike myself. The more and more I talk with women, the more I realize that this is something we all face. Some are not willing to admit it, some can. But, it's something we all struggle with. Women can be easily deceived and I think Eve in the Garden reminds us of how easily it can happen sometimes. Remember the serpent's question? “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (Now realize this is my interpretation, this is what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me when I read this passage.) In Genesis chapter 3:6 it says that the woman was convinced. She was convinced that what the serpent was telling her was truth. It wasn't though. Far from it! So in verse 13, God asks Eve why she ate the fruit and she says, "The serpent deceived me. That's why I ate it." We all know what Adam said. He blamed the woman! I will save my interpretation of that for another blog! Anyway, the point is that as a woman I sometimes struggle with being deceived by the things going in in my mind. I struggle to find the TRUTH, instead of what I am hearing from the serpent. That's just an analogy but, for me it really is true.

Spending time with women and learning different personalities, reminds me that we all are so different from one another. Our insecurities are different, our abilities are different, our struggles are different. But one thing is the same no matter who you are, our minds deceive us. With age and growth in the Lord I do believe that it gets better and we learn to be able to discern things and figure out when our minds are going into overdrive. That helps! If we don't get control of what's going on inside our minds, relationships can be ruined, marriages can be difficult and we can become so caught up in what we "think" is going on that we actually create our worst fears.

For example. If you feel like someone doesn't like you, you begin to tell yourself they don't like you, tell others they don't like you and then you begin acting like they don't like you. All of the sudden, the "thought" happens, they really do not like you! People will treat you how you treat yourself and if you act like no one likes you, no one is going to like you. It's pretty simple. I cannot tell you how many times I have struggled with this. Thank you Jesus, I have seen HUGE victory in this area of my life because I recognize the trap and I know what triggers those feelings. But in the past and still every once in a while I will find myself going down that road.

How many times have you been in situations when someone has not responded to you, said hi to you or made conversation with you and later find yourself at home "thinking" all sorts of insane crap? "Well, I don't think she likes me because when I said this, she did not smile. She must think I am bad for saying that." There are so many scenarios I could give. A ton! And if you are spending time with an immature group of women, this will happen a lot between all of them. Yuck, yuck, yuck! I don't like admitting this, but since I share my guts, I have to be honest. Three years ago I was in this type of setting. This was going on so much that I began to HATE group settings. I began to hate spending time with women and it wasn't all their fault by any means. I played a huge role and that's the part I don't like to admit! If only I could have been mature enough, if only those other women could have been mature enough to realize, we are not fighting ONE ANOTHER, this is the enemy. He is relentless and he will do anything and everything to plant seeds of doubt, self condemnation, self hate and all types of insecurities in order to keep you at home, away from Christian women that you need and who also need you!

I can always tell when this type of self condemning spirit is coming my way. See my computer screen? Do you see the red sharpie? That is how I feel! No matter what i do, everything is cloudy and my mind takes me places it should never go. When this happens, I feel like I can't see clearly. My vision is so distorted because I have chosen to listen to the enemy and be deceived. My spiritual eyes are total mush because my mind has been caught up in heavy duty, STINKIN THINKIN!

Your circle of women is the most important circle you have. Yes, your family comes first but I mean your circle of support, encouragement and rest comes from your gal pals! When my girlfriends pour into me, I am on top of the world. Watch out world, I am going to conquer all kinds of things when my friends lift me up! My marriage will be stronger, my parenting will be stronger and I will even like myself better. This is what our friends do! So what would Satan love to do? He would love to come in and plant all kinds of doubt in your mind to keep you from trusting your friends. The enemy is not sneaky to me anymore, I can see him coming a mile away. Sometimes I can see him coming a hundred miles away. Self doubt makes me pull back from friends. Insecurity makes me pull back from friends! Jealousy, envy, you name it, those things keep us from operating in love and we operate in fear instead.

I am thankful for my little Ava Beth coloring my computer screen because it reminds me that I cannot be deceived by what goes on in my mind. When my mind is feeling yucky (and you know what I am talking about ladies), it's time to pray that God can help me see past all the crap in my mind and see the TRUTH.

More than anything, I pray that each of you that read this will begin praying just that. Pray that the Lord can help you find the truth in every situation. Beat the enemy at his game and recognize the signs before your mind goes too far. May we be truth tellers, truth seekers and truth dwellers.

Father, help me dwell in your TRUTH.

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  posted at 6:07 PM

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Paula said...

Try rubbing alcohol to get the marker off. I have had success in the past with that.
Man, I am seeing, you can turn your back very long on a two year old. Well two in June. Colton is into EVERYTHING!!!

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Kim said...

I know it sounds weird, but Lysol has worked for me in the past. I have used it on laminated charts and posters that have sharpie ink and it wipes right off.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Okay, I am so happy I am getting tips on the sharpie stain but I also pray that the REAL meaning shines through!! :)

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Dee said...

I love how you can take an ordinary (or at least ordinary moment in the life of a mom) and turn it into a lesson that speaks so much to me!! We ladies are our own worst critics and we don't even need help from Satan (though we get it anyhow)...

You are amazing girl!

AND - Mr. Clean Magic Eraser?!?!?!? Those things are awesome!! Just a suggestion!

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous kawwwwkeeee said...

I get it and it is powerful. If you use a blow touch like Emeril, it comes off. It will ruin the screen but the sharpie is gone. haha. Ava Beth is so smart and I love her.

At 6:19 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

okay, okay. no more cleaning tips! :) Please!!! :)

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Gina said...

No cleaning tips from me...I would have been so mad I probably would have thrown the whole monitor out!!! That is one of my constant frustration. Frustration with myself, my kids, my husband and my friends. I am learning though that it is so easy NOT to be frustrated. Don't put it all on yourself everyday, realize you are only one person and your kids, husband and friends LOVE you. That's all that really matters. Yes, with your friends and their support you can do it ALL! I LOVE YOU for saying that!!!! BIG HUGS!

At 7:09 PM, Blogger ruth said...

Amanda God has given you a gift! The sharpie analogy was great.

I have been there,done that so many times, analizing,critizing, and just plain negative thinking but thank God I too can spot that ugly Devil a mile away...not yet a thousand!! With a friend like you though I know that's not far off.

I thank God for using you the way he as, we woman need truth tellers and you are one truth teller

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

thanks for that post amanda.. Hey i'm back and it's inexcusable for you to drop off the radar now. I haven't been here in a while, probably not after Ezekiel was born. I'm glad you have money again and that things are going smoothly. i miss you.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Liz said...

This post was great! It's so awesome how God uses our little ones to teach us lessons. I can so relate...getting caught up in wrong thought patterns. It's so sad how the enemy can get his foot in the door and try to destroy friendships and ministry with lies. I had this happen about 2 years ago. A friendship I had unraveled itself in a prety ugly way. It nearly destroyed the ministry for moms that I lead at our church. To make a long story short, turned out this friend and I had both believed things about each other that were not true. After a year and a half praise God we are working at restoration. The enemy did not win.

Thank you for your guts to share the truth, and for encouraging me.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Cor. 10:5
In Christ,
P.S. I had the same thing happen with my 3 year sharpie on the computer screen. Thankfully I was able to get it off! :)

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

GUESS WHAT? Ruth Ann, you were right! Finger Nail Polish remover! Jeremy got it ALL off! PTL!!!!!!!!

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Christy said...

Forget the sharpie advice from me... giving cleaning tips was least on my mind after reading your post..... POWERFUL, POWERFUL word girl... the way God speaks to you is amazing!!! Thanks for sharing your heart with us!!! I've been gone a few days but have sure enjoyed catching up reading.

At 4:07 AM, Blogger Kelly said...

I could have written this entire post! Well, except that you said it better:-) Oh my goodness how I wish you were my neighbor!! I have been struggling for the past year with this exact issue. My confidence in Christian friendships has been so shaken, and I am hesitant to trust anyone. I, too, have pulled back (and God has pulled some of these people out of my life!) and am still trying to figure out where God is taking me with this. You are SO right to rmember that the women are not the enemy and we need to stand up in faith and love one another instead of allowing satan to run rampant through relationships. I think the hardest part for me is seeing the daughters of these women becoming like their mothers and treating their little friends ( my girls!) the same way. Yuck! I am striving to show my daughters that we are to keep our eyes on the King and do what is pleasing to Him, even if it means our feelings are hurt by others on a daily or hourly basis. Our reward is in Him, and it is a far better reward than we could ever dare ask or dream of.
Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. I am so grateful I discovered blogging because God has definitely used your words to lift me up. Sorry so long... I think I may post on this very issue in my life today.( I love the visual of seeing life through the "red marker".)
In Him,

At 6:45 AM, Blogger Gwen said...

Wow..that was a very powerful post and spoke directly to me in so many ways.

I self condemn all the time! Thank you for these words!

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Kate said...

I am with Gwen too - self condem daily (insecurities! yuck!). This was just what I needed to read (esp with hubby traveling... ugh - the places my mind can go- ugly).

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finally got all the way through this - I tried yesterday and got distractd by my little one- i am glad I came back to read it though - once I got over the red sharpie - LOL - it was / is a really good blog. It is funny though b/c I think at times I don't do this anymore and then the more I read - I was thikning I JUST did this the other day! Thanks for the openess! Really awesome!
Nancy ;o))

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Munchkin Land said...

This was very enlightening and I thank you for it! I couldn't agree more about the girlfriend-thing. I love my husband and he is first and foremost my BEST friend. But I am SO thankful for my girlfriends; they offer insight, encouragement, and keep me on the right path.

Life isn't perfect, like your now red-sharpied computer screen, but living in the truth is so much more important!! Thanks Amanda!

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Christina said...

"May we be truth tellers, truth seekers and truth dwellers"

Amen to that!

Thanks for this post Amanda....a negative thought life is something I also struggle with. I'm getting better with God's help but it's so hard to overcome sometimes.

God Bless!


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