Failing at Your Expectations.

Ever since the day I found I was pregnant with our first son I always assumed that I would make an awesome mom. I even remember one of the first dates I ever went on with Nick where I told him my one dream in life was to be a mother. I told him it was one of the few things I knew I would be good at. Most things in life do not come easy to me, but when it came to taking care of kids I have always been a natural. So it was safe for me to assume that when the time came for me to have my own kids it would be something that would come easy for me. I quickly realized once my kids were born that 1. having your own kids is very different from watching someone else's and 2. there is so much responsibility that comes with raising little humans.

"Expectations ruin relationships" is a quote I heard in the past and seemed to stick with me. In life whenever I have been disappointed with my husband, friends, family, or kids it was because my expectations were not met. Recently, I have noticed I have a short temper and my patience is running on empty. In my mind, I try to blame-shift but really I am failing at my own expectations. I expect to always know how to correctly discipline my kids. I expect to know how to rightly balance my social, personal, and church life. I expect to be liked and loved by everyone. I expect to be listened to. I expect too much and then my expectations are not met. I expect to be this unrealistic super mom who can measure up to all the other moms I see but in the midst of it all I fail to see what I am doing well and right in the here-and-now. 

Instead of having a heart that cries out to God and waives a surrender flag, I am finding myself asking God why don't I have the answers? Why are my kids not listening to me? Why aren't my hours spent reading parenting books working? Why are my recipes not coming out right? And the lists go on.

Jen Pollock Michel wrote in her book Teach Us to Want, "Struggle is the prerequisite to surrender." The struggle part has been happening for quite a few months now and finally I am at surrender. Failing at your own expectations only leads you down a road where you focus on what is not working instead of a road to surrender, asking for help, and becoming more thankful. 

I will never be the mom I always dreamed of being if I set myself up failure from the start. I can't expect everyday to go as planned or prepare for every scenario. My kids are not going to obey me everyday and I can't take that personally. Their sinfulness is not mine, just like my sinfulness is not theirs. My desire for control will keep me from being the mother and wife I want to be if I don't surrender my inabilities and insecurities to the Lord. My worth and identity can't be found in what I can or cannot do, but rather in who I am already in Christ. Thankfully, I serve a God who will never fail and who has clearly laid out what I can expect from him in his Word and through his promises to me and my children.

Jen Pollock Michel goes on to say in her book: 

But the gospel moves us beyond getting stuck in the guilt and shame of our unholy desires. We can courageously own the truth about ourselves because of the sacrificial death of God’s son, Jesus; his innocence has been substituted for our guilt.

Instead of walking in shame and guilt for what I am not, I want the desire of my heart to be that I am pleasing God. God asks for perfect obedience and trust. Knowing our sinfulness and inability to achieve this standard, God sent his Son to do what we could not. God gives us the perfect obedience he requires of us in Jesus. May we rest in the knowledge that Christ has accomplished God's perfect expectations on our behalf. We can't do anything to gain his love and approval, it is a free gift. That is love!!!

Are you failing at your own expectations? Do you wish you could live up to something that is an unattainable self? Be reminded of the truth and remember that God knows our deepest desires of who we want to be, both the good and the bad. And he gifts us with a more satisfying identity through his son, Jesus.

 

 My nemesis...the playroom

My nemesis...the playroom

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 Poop emoji pumpkin was the special request from max.

Poop emoji pumpkin was the special request from max.

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God's Very Good Idea (Book Review)

Nick loves to read. When we had a fire evacuation a couple of years ago he asked to make sure his two suits (for preaching) and all of his books were safe from potential disaster. I never grew up with a love to read, but after being around my husband the love of reading has rubbed off on me. Inevitably we want not only to foster a love for reading in our boys but also a love for God and his words.  

The children's book, God's Very Good Idea, by Trillia Newbell surprised me on how clearly it represented culture, sin, and the gospel. Trillia did an excellent job of describing the different types of people God has created, all in his own image, and then shows the effects that sin has on the world. She clearly shows how God chose to redeem us from sin and points readers, young and old, to Christ. 

My favorite quote from the book is:

God made it. People Ruined it. He rescued it. He will finish it.

I truly believe that this book would help adults better understand the gospel, and how from creation to redemption, God has created diversity and is redeeming diversity.

I originally wanted to read this to my boys because of how the book displays the many different kinds of people God creates. Tall, short, skinny, big, old, young, brown skin, light skin, etc. Exposure is the best way we can make sure our kids treat and love their neighbors as themselves, and by exposing my kids to all the beautiful different types of people God has created I can hopefully, by God's grace, instill in them a love for all people.

I highly recommend this book to not only kids but to the church in general. I always recommend that new believers read a Children's Bible, like I was told to do, because it clearly explains the Christian faith. This book explains God's design, plan, and the gospel story very simply.

This book was graciously given to me for free. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

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Leo- 4 Months Old

Leo is a completely different baby than he was a few weeks ago. He is going through so many developmental changes at one time and it incredible how fast he is growing. For once in my life I find myself saying "slow down" and don't want the baby stage to end. Believe it or not he is already scooting/crawling. He mainly uses his knees and throws himself forward to get whatever toy he has his eyes on. Calvin and Max were early crawlers and walkers but Leo is setting a whole new record. Leo is up for about 1.5 hours before needing a nap and goes down super easy. We sing him the Gloria Patri, turn on the sound machine, leave the room and he is out within 5 minutes. His reflux is getting better but is still present. The other two boys outgrew it around the 6/7 month mark so we shall see if he follows suit. 

We have his 4 month check up in a few weeks and are anxious to see just how much he has grown. Leo is the perfect mix of Nick and I and we always comment on how thankful we are that he is part of our family. 

 

Leo's 4 Month Old Stats

Weight: 16.5 lbs (taken on home scale)

Diapers: Size 3

Clothes: 6-9 months

Eats: Leo is nursing every 2-3 hours during the day and still refuses the bottle

Sleep: 4 naps a day and sleeping through the night (most nights) He has been going down at 8:30 PM each night and we are hoping to put him down by 7:30 PM like his brothers in the next few weeks here. 

Likes: Scooting, toys, his brothers, bath time, music, and being worn in his Solly or Ergo

Dislikes: being overtired, bottles, being on his back for too long, bright lights, his car seat, reflux, and loud sudden noises

 

Gina's 4 Month Postpartum Stats

Weight: 4lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight

Sleep:  I have been getting 6-8 hours of sleep a night

Clothes: I fit into all of my old tops but still cannot button my old pants ;)

Likes: I like when Leo goes down and sleeps through the night, La Croix lime, pedicures, walks alone at sunset, and sitting outside at night time with Nick

Dislikes: daily anxiety, ants, Leo's blowouts, decision-making, grocery shopping and heat

I am still on anxiety and postpartum depression medicine but am seeing my OB and a postpartum doctor in regards to switching brands since the one I am currently on is giving me awful vivid nightmares. We are going to see if we can start tampering me off of meds and are also going to talk about my raised anxiety. I know having 3 kids is a lot of work and many moms have anxiety from balancing it all but I trust that my providers will help me make a good plan of action. I am often asked how I am doing but it is hard to answer that question.  I don't  like the fact that I need to be on this medication but at the same time am thankful that it allows me to not go throuh dark days like I did with Calvin. God is showing me each day areas of life that I need to surrender to Him and has blessed me with so many encouraging friends who help me walk through the joys and trials of marriage and motherhood.

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