The Truth and the lie of “Not good enough”

I don’t know if this is common for all women but every couple of months I will have a freak out moment. It typically involves me taking a survey of every area of my life and coming to the conclusion that I’m failing miserably at it all.

I’m a horrible mom, I’m a horrible wife, and I’m a horrible Christian. (Yes, I’m very dramatic.)

I’m not doing enough of this or that.

I don’t spend as much time in the Word, at the feet of Jesus, as I should.

I’m not engaging my kids enough in discipleship and spiritual disciplines.

I’m not doing enough projects, crafts, book reports, salt dough maps.

Usually on this day my house is a mess so obviously that means I NEVER keep a clean house.

Am I spending enough quality time with my kids? What about one on one time? Are Jason and I having enough intentional moments together?

I start going through a list of everything we don’t consistently do. This list I keep but apparently only for the purposes of pulling out during this time to depress myself with. It also includes how,….

We rarely have the opportunity to sit down altogether for family meals.

We don’t do family devotionals.

My girls have never made a miniature solar system with styrofoam balls.

They don’t play on a team sport.

We don’t have a home church. They don’t go to AWANAS or GAs or RAs or children’s choir.

I could go on but you get the picture.

I was on the phone with my mom lamenting all these things and of course she brought me back from the ledge. The ledge that screams “Not enough” and “You’re failing”.

The ledge is a lie cleverly concealed with a bit of truth. It’s a tool wielded by Satan to bring us to despair. And often times, the voices of the culture are chiming in from that ledge. Satan knows that feelings of failure and the lie of “not enough” have the potential to overwhelm us, consume us and truly make us ineffective in one way or another. The way to combat this attack is by separating the truth from the lies. I believe our best defense against this is through remembering who we are in Christ and reminding ourselves what’s ultimately important in the scope of eternity.

My responsibility is to be obedient to Christ with what he has given me, not what he has given my neighbor. To steward well what he’s entrusted to us, not to compare and despair and believe the lies of “not good enough”.

It’s liberating to remind myself that….

We actually don’t have to take trips to some theme park every year to express love to our kids. That quality time and bonding is just as easily found when making a vending machine with their daddy. Or going for a jog with their mommy. Or reading stories before bed.

They don’t always have to have extra curricular activities lined up for them. They learn there is no “I” in “team” when they push little ones on swings, make forts together on the property, help mommy in the kitchen and read to younger siblings.

Jason and I can survive with out date nights and romantic getaways. Porch dates prove just as rewarding and special.

It’s okay if they never make a styrofoam solar system or salt dough map of the United States. Although I may try to stretch myself on this one because I know they’d love it.

It’s hard competing with what we’re told is the standard of good enough. I wish I would quit but I know it creeps in my mind subtly without me always knowing.

Typically after I back away from the ledge and gain a more rational perspective I know, although I sin and fall short of Gods glory, taking a defeated position would not honor Him. The ledge screams failure but Gods Word tells me I’m a conqueror. I don’t have to succumb to the worlds standards of what’s best or enough but there is room for healthy, godly evaluations and resolves. So….

I will make every effort to get in the Word with my family.

I will have intentional moments with my husband and kids.

I will hone in on my children’s God given gifts and talents so they can use them for His glory.

We will find the right church.

I will (by golly!) attempt a styrofoam solar system and/or salt dough map at least of the state of Georgia.

But I don’t have to solve all this TONIGHT or this week or month.

One thing at a time, starting in Gods Word. And He will be enough for us.


Micaila is 11 years old

To Micaila for memory:

Here we are again, another birthday. Today you turned 11. You are becoming an extraordinary young woman. You have surrendered your life to Jesus and I am so proud of how diligent you are to be in His Word and have your quiet time every morning. This is the most important discipline you can ever develop because it is from this discipline that your perspective, attitudes, and actions are shaped for Gods good and glory. I pray that no matter what happens in your life you would remain rooted in His Word and always come back to your Savior and Lord.

Micaila you are kind, caring, smart, ambitious, beautiful, and talented. You are so willing to help and you consistently put others before yourself. I can’t even express how grateful I am that you set such a good example to your younger siblings. I appreciate how you lead them, play with them, help them and encourage them. Today you were trying to help Caleb ride his bike. You are such a good cheerleader and like your daddy, you’re good at teaching others. I already see God using this gift he gave you every day but I pray you will continually surrender your gifts to him and his purposes. You love our foster babies like they are our own. You help mommy out BIG time by playing with them, holding them, or watching them so I can catch a potty break! What would I do with out you and your sister??? 🙂

For awhile now you and Ryann (and now Caleb) have LOVED legos. You have a whole LEGO world in your bedroom. It use to drive me nuts that these legos would never be put away but now, I’ve embraced it and I am thrilled that you all enjoy playing for hours in your LEGO world. For your birthday you were given the LEGO Hospital, so tell your LEGO friends “your welcome”. Now they don’t have to go to the Animal Hospital. 😉

You still adore your stuffed animals, playing outside, riding your bike (and now skate board) and of course riding Duet.

But I can tell you are getting older. You like to accessorize, especially with bracelets, and you smell good from new perfume. Also, it’s totally weird that I asked to borrow your lip gloss…. soon it’ll be shoes. 🙂 Speaking of feet! You have taken up running with me. You, me, and Ryann ran our first 5k over Thanksgiving and it was so fun! Now we are training for a 10k and you will probably leave me in your dust because again, you’re like your daddy, a natural athlete and an over achiever. 😉

All these qualities have the potential to be used for Gods glory or your own gain.

The world will tell you to seek self and promote self.

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs‬ ‭14:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Bible tells us to die to self.

“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I pray you will yield everything to Jesus, loving and trusting Him so much and with Paul one day say,

“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” Philippians‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There is so much more I could share about you. You are a delight. Your daddy and I love you so much and are so proud you are our daughter.

Happy 11th Birthday.

Glitter is not my friend….

Today is going to be a lighter post. Hopefully something that will make you all laugh.

As most of you know I am a homeschool mom. Probably not what you have in mind though when you hear that title. And I could get into all the reasons why I’m not what you have in mind but tonight I just want to give you one.

I absolutely hate crafts.

Or at least I loathe the process so much that in my opinion the craft simply isn’t worth it to me. I promise I don’t want to be this way! I don’t know what it is about making stuff with my kids that gives me hives. I think it’s unrealistic expectations on my part, but whatever it is I literally feel like I should be shot with an elephant tranquilizer when glue and glitter enter the room. It’s just not my thing and most of the time I believe that it’s in everyone’s best interest if we avoid arts and crafts altogether. Most of the time. Every now and then I will feel the weight of not providing my children this artistic outlet and I’ll cave and kid myself into thinking “It’ll be better this time. You’ve grown so much, you can handle it!” Since I do believe in stretching myself for the sake of loving others, especially my children, today I did. I know, I’m pathetic. It’s crafts for goodness sake! I looked up some for Valentines Day and there are so many cute ones! Simple ones! “We can totally manage that!” I bought a few supplies and even put together a “sample” for the kids to refer to. My sample is awesome by the way.

How cute is that? Nailed it!

Anyway, they finished that project in like 47 seconds. Come on, cant we drag this out 20 minutes and call it a day? So I pull out project number 2. Making a heart wreath with tissue paper. I specifically picked this one because I knew it would take some time. Some may call this cruel, I call it wising up. But it did back fire because when Ryann’s looking quite forlorn a quarter of the way in (“Mommy, will I finish this before I graduate?”) and Caleb has tissue paper and glue stuck to his fingers, the pencil and the table, my insides are like “Are you kidding me?!?” Picture Anger on Inside Out. Meanwhile baby E is crying at my legs for the first time EVER, and I’m thinking “Of course the honeymoon phase would end on the one craft day of the year!” We finally started making some progress with our puffy wreaths and everyone was pleased in the end.

But two crafts is simply not enough for my children. I mean, they’ve gone several months with out a craft, it was time to binge on glue and glitter and paper everywhere. At this point I’m just like “Do whatever you want, I’m out.”

So after 10 Valentine Cards, 2 wreaths, 1 puffy picture frame, and baby E licking glitter off his hands from the floor, I can say I survived and managed to keep all my negative feelings inside. Mostly. 😬 It did help for me to join the fun and make this really cheesy card for Jason.

Was it worth it? I think so. One things for sure, it was worth it to them and so that makes it worth it. 😃 I do hope when they’re 31 they will reminisce about the times mommy did crafts, even though she didn’t love them and stunk at them, because she “loved us so much”. Ultimately, I think if and when I do this again I should probably wait till the evening when baby is asleep and it’s appropriate to have a glass of wine. I’m just being honest.

The God Of All Comfort

On August 7th with great surprise and joy we found out that we were having another baby. Number 4! I was shocked and thrilled and a little bit scared all at once. The weeks that followed were filled with wonderful happiness as we gradually began sharing the news with loved ones. Over the Labor Day weekend I made a trip to Florida to tell Jason’s family and my siblings. It was wonderful having all that support and excitement.

At 10 weeks I went in for a routine appointment. I was looking forward to hearing the heart beat on the doppler this time. I had been having spotting, which was abnormal compared to my other 3 pregnancies. I also suspected I had a uti the week prior but there was no bacteria in my urine. It was strange all the symptoms and discomfort and yet no apparent reason. On my drive to the OB, as I sang “Thy will be done”, I had this strong sense that God was preparing me for sad news.

There is no heart beat.

I felt like the air was being sucked from the room. I immediately started crying. I have never lost a baby and have had 3 healthy pregnancies. But in the wake of that moment Gods presence was so near to me and Romans 8:28 just became even more personal.

Jeremiah 8:18 “You are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.”

I can’t even describe the deep sadness I have felt. Psalm 119:28 “My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to your word.” I have brief moments where I’m not crying but mostly I just keep crying. When I think about not seeing this babies face or holding him/her, letting that little hand wrap around my finger. Knowing that our kids will not be getting a little brother or sister. We have so much love built up for this baby and just like that, no heart beat. I’ve never known this kind of ache and grief. And yet I know my gracious Father will not waste it. I sense his strong comfort and peace, even in my ache and tears, I know with certainty “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭This promise doesn’t diminish my grief but it strengthens my hope in the midst of my grief. I can cry and rest in that promise all at the same time.

On top of finding out this very sad news we were faced with the decision of having a d&c done or waiting for my body to do what it should do. You have all these emotions and then you have to decide what’s next. It’s scary and confusing, mounted on top of trying to grieve this tremendous loss. I never knew all these details involved with having a miscarriage. I was really concerned over possibly having a d&c. I began asking for prayer that God would allow my body to do what it was designed to do in this situation. The next 2 days it all began to happen naturally. More tears, more sadness, but also gratefulness for God sparing me the decision of the d&c.

During this time we have had countless family and friends praying on our behalf and loving us in so many ways. It has been incredible knowing how many people have prayed for peace, comfort, and wisdom for us. And we have received all those things in abundance. I would say I have more of a bent towards depression and God in his great mercy has covered me with comfort and confidence during this difficult time. I didn’t know you could be so sad and at the same time be at such peace in Gods sovereign plan. I didn’t know I could have such deep grief and yet fully assured of Gods goodness in something so heartbreaking. It’s something that doesn’t even make sense to me and yet, it’s where he has me. I feel like a child crying buckets of tears while being wrapped securely in my Fathers arms while he whispers, “It’s going to be okay.”

My mom was able to fly in almost immediately. As a family we had a little burial and ceremony to honor this little life. As much as I instinctively want to shield my children from hurt, this time has deepened all of our understanding of compassion, thoughtfulness, the preciousness of life and of course love. We are closer now and I wouldn’t change how we’ve included them in our rejoicing and now in our grief.

I can’t express the comfort I have felt from the body of Christ. The cards, flowers, prayers, messages,…. there has been an outpouring of love as you have grieved with us. I haven’t had the chance to tell everyone, but others have shared for us and I have been told of ALL the prayers for us. Thank you for mourning with us and praying on our behalf. We are so blessed and grateful. I’ll end with this scripture from Habakkuk. I love the imagery of this passage and the message it’s conveying and its what I am praying over my heart. That even when I have precious things taken away, I can trust and rejoice in my Savior. Please pray with me.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk‬ ‭3:17-18‬

The Mother In Law

NeeNee and Caleb in March. We do need to take more pictures with you Linda. 😕😉

I just spent the last week with my mother in law, Linda. Sadly, some wives cringe at that thought. I mean I get it. We’re deeply flawed human beings and the dynamics of this relationship can be complicated. But ours has never been. All praise and glory to God and many, many thanks to Linda. 🙂

When I was just shy of 16 years old and meeting Linda for the first time she warmly welcomed me into her home and life. At the time I was the only one who “knew” Jason was my future husband. 😉 To everyone else though I was just a girlfriend. As we got more and more serious Linda treated me more and more like a daughter. I have always felt loved and supported by her. I’ve never felt like we were competing for her sons affections. She was the one who helped him pick out gifts for me on special occasions and set up the best engagement surprise ever. I always, always have felt like she wanted me as her daughter in law. And when she talks about mine and Jason’s marriage, and how much love she observes that is exchanged between us… much he loves me….Or when she tells me what good parents we are…. what a good mommy I am….. and she means it….. She is proud and this means so much to me. I realize this is a rare and wonderful thing that we have.

After many long wonderful talks this week I realize that she has a special way of speaking truth and sharing wisdom and yet being affirming of not only mine and Jason’s relationship but decisions we make as a couple and for our family. She encourages us, prays for us, and trusts that we are seeking God and are “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.” She knows we aren’t perfect and that we may even have to make a few mistakes along the way but I have never felt judged or looked down on by her. And trust me, there’s plenty of opportunities there!!😂

I can’t even express how grateful I am that God has allowed her to be my mother in law and that she is the way she is with me. She is so incredibly kind, gracious, giving, genuine, patient, and loving. I am grateful for her example, her relationship with the Lord, her faithfulness in her marriage and her love for her family, even those annoying dogs! 😜 Linda is the glue in the Graham family and I know her super strength comes from our merciful Father in Heaven. I love her so much and I am thankful she has shown me what it can look like to be the mother in law.❤️

Zippys Birthday

I’ve written before about my children and their love for stuffed animals. I would say it’s a problem……storing them is a problem for me…. but more than any other toy they have their stuffed animals have always been the favorites. Once again I’m reminded that the delight these fuzzy friends bring is completely worth the inconvenience of a floor that can’t be walked on. 😬😉

Today was Zippys birthday. Zippy is a little TY Beanie Boo I bought for Caleb when Jason and I were in Gulf Shores. Just like the Beanie Babies each Boo has a given name and birthdate. This is not the first stuffed animal party my kids have thrown. They are pretty much professionals with a party planning committee and everything.
This afternoon Micaila whipped together cupcakes out of pancake mix and some kind of Oreo filling frosting while Ryann decorated and rounded up all the guests.
I was downstairs when Caleb and Zippy made their way up to the party. All of a sudden I hear “SURPRISE!!!” and the three of them in unison singing happy birthday to Zippy.

There is something about hearing my children play, use their imaginations, and enjoy stuffed animals and each other that just compels me to give thanks to God for His grace and goodness. His mercy in my life is mysterious. And this I do not want any of us to forget. 🙂

I also dont want to forget that “the animals are having a sleepover” which is why they cant be cleaned up yet. 🤔😂

Well played.

11 Years!

Today is our 11th wedding anniversary. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, there all pretty blog worthy because I want to remember, “Where was I at and what was I thinking during that time?” And yet you can only write so much. What do I highlight? Focus on? How do I balance the good with the downright ugly times? We’re celebrating 11 years of marriage and while I value transparency I don’t want to come off cynical.

We certainly do not have this marriage thing figured out. I mean I almost did not want Jason to seat me at his brothers wedding because we were at serious odds a few hours prior. I know, I’m so extreme. Listen, I love hard and fight hard. I’m intensely devoted and can be easily wounded. And yet this picture.

Oh how deceiving photos can be. Granted we had signed a peace treaty till we could get down to the nitty gritty of our conflict…. “smile!” #perfectcouple #happyfamily I don’t even have social media but my mom does and I’d bet a hundred million dollars that pic was on her page. 😜

I digress. What to share after 11 years of marriage???


And more thinking……

I can not change my husband. And he can not change me. And we can not change “for each other”. Only God can change us. (And praise Him for how much He has already!) Only His Holy Spirit can move on our hearts to pursue holiness and be the godly spouses He desires us to be. This happens through prayer and reading His Word. And we have to pursue this on our own. I love how Roy Hession writes in the Calvary Road, “We shall have to see that the thing in us that reacts so sharply to another’s selfishness and pride is simply our own selfishness and pride, which we are unwilling to sacrifice. We shall have to except another’s ways and doings as God’s will for us and meekly bend the neck to all God’s providences……” And in regards to confession and pursuing Gods mercy in relationships, “‘We cannot say, I was wrong, but you were wrong too. You must come as well!’ No, you must go alone, saying, “I’m wrong.” God will work in the other more through your brokenness than through anything else you can do or say.” God will work through my being humble and broken before Him, more than my being demanding and insisting my way. Well yeah. But it’s so much harder to live out! I’m so thankful for the people in my life spurring me on to do what’s right, what’s Biblical. Not necessarily what makes me feel good at the time.

Okay you know that’s funny.

But seriously, Jason was made for me. I know that our all knowing Father was thinking of me when he was knitting Jason together. “He’s going to be steady and strong, yet easy going. That will balance out her wide range of intense passionate emotions.” BUT he doesn’t complete me. And God made it that way because if Jason completed me I wouldn’t pursue God. My God is jealous for me, he wants deep relationship with me, and won’t allow me to feel completed by anyone else. (Deuteronomy 4:23-24) Sometimes I forget this though and I look to Jason. “Fix me!! Make me happy. Make me whole.” He can’t. At least not in those deep deep places. Only Christ can. We both know it. (Just so we’re clear Jason does make me very happy on many other levels.) But it is our Father, our Savior, the Spirit, that meets our deepest needs. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬ How quickly I forget these precious promises.

I love being married to Jason. He is so hardworking, constantly trying to think about the future and do what’s in the best interest of our family. He is 99% of the time gracious and tender with me and my fluctuating emotions. He is supportive and encouraging of my role as a stay-at-home-homeschool-foster-mom. When I’m sad or down, even though he can’t fix me, he sure as heck tries. He makes me laugh, he makes me try new things, he sees gifts and strengths in me before I do and pushes me towards them even when I’m dragging my feet. Oh how patient he is. And such a good dad. It’s amazing how writing this stuff down opens my eyes to the man he is and how I forget these special qualities when I’m so caught up in my self.

So there’s some advice for ya. Pursue Christ, his Word, and pray, pray, pray. Be broken and humble. Look to Christ to complete you. And make lists, often, of all the things you love about your man. That’s all she wrote! 😉