Five years of financial struggles. Five years of marriage trouble. Five years of mom and wife guilt. No end in sight. Total frustration. Anger at myself for letting it get this bad. Shame for turning away from God. How misleading that phrase "turning away" is. It seems like it's as simple as "just turn back," right? What turning away really is is a tiny step here, a selfish action there, a reaction, a state of not wanting to pray, allowing distractions from our looking to Him, and next thing you know- you don't recognize the scenery, you never wanted to be here, and the trail of crumbs leading you back to "then," before backsliding, isn't even visible. So you're lost. Overwhelmed. Ashamed. Burdened. So how is it that in March of this year, my circumstances had not changed, but my heart could? Perspective. In this episode of #MondayMinutes, I addressed how I used essential oils for my emotions and the difference in perspective that came with them. Are essential oils necessary for emotional health? Not necessarily, but this is my testimony of how they were the vehicle for my journey back to Jesus and an even better relationship and understanding than I had before. Please understand that due to FDA compliance, the comments are monitored. Thank you so much for taking the time to fellowship with me today!
Three years ago, we decided that I would stay home and quit my full time job. My job was very demanding- 60 hour weeks, not counting commute and very difficult to have shifts covered if my children needed me. I was tired of other people raising my kids. It also didn’t hurt that after gas, childcare, and last minute bad food decisions from being too tired to plan were taking most of my paycheck anyway. So why not, right? I was very pregnant with our fourth child and found out that he was actually a she- what?? It just hit me what a huge responsibility it was to raise up a woman. I don't know why on earth it didn’t hit me when we had our boys, but her being our first daughter scared the daylights out of me. Yes you have that moment of, “OH CRAP! I'm responsible for training this person into an adult!” with any baby, but there was something different and I guess maybe a bigger responsibility of having a girl. And so we decided that I would stay home. I was hesitant to begin with because things were not so great and hadn't been for two years. So much attack had been happening, surely this "doing my duty as keeper of the home" would fix it, right? Wrong.
About six months later, my husband switched locations and $20,000 pay cut for a better position- better in benefits, time, and better on his resume. We were not aware of the drastic change in circumstances that would come with it. Before, he always had over time but within two weeks of him getting there, overtime was gone and we started this struggle. We walked for through so many trials and unhappy moments. We didn’t like each other, we didn't like ourselves, he felt like I was saying that he wasn't a good enough provider, I felt like I had absolutely no idea what to do with money because we have never had this problem before. “OMG we have to feed our kids!” It was right before Christmas, all of our kids' birthdays fall within two months of each other, and we were in this really, really low place- even worse than before.
And so we walked. It wasn't poverty but it felt like poverty because you have all of these obligations when you make so much more money than you do now and you still have to pay all of those bills! You have contracts and responsibilities and so you feel like there's nothing left. Then you walk in a victim mentality, like “What did I do to deserve this? I can't even take care of my kids! What kind of Mom am I? I'm not a good steward!” We were emotionally in a terrible place both of us. In so. It took a long, long time to get where I am now which is that I can look at those three years and realize that we were provided for the entire time, whether it was with a plan or with blessings from a family member, but with so many things constantly going wrong- we were under some serious spiritual and emotional attack. And it lasted five years. Five years of constant struggle takes a toll on every aspect of your life. Five years is exhausting.
Fast forward to March of this year. I was bitter, exhausted, didn't have many friends, didn't want to look bad, didn't want to make my husband look bad by asking for help, yelling, screaming banshee and just reacting to every hard knock that came. Definition of survival mode. No joy. No peace. My thoughts took me places I did not want to go, allowing distractions even in my own mind that created so much static that even in complete silence, there resentment was. My husband's ex-wife caught me on a bad day and I ended up a sobbing mess on the phone with her. Long story short, she gifted me with a set of oils. I began to frantically use them because they helped me to get out of my own way. With the static gone, I could see- truly see- and found myself in a position where I could look at that season and say, “God was holding me. He was holding me the entire time.” That is not something that I would have seen in the moment- it certainly doesn't feel like you're being provided for and carried and loved. Our whole walk through that was survival mode- I can't tell you how many times I prayed, “God I'm so tired. I’m battle weary. It just feels like I don't do anything right. Can you please tell me exactly what to do because I'm trying to take hints and it's not working.” Once you get that far from God, it's really, really hard to get back because it's a state of your heart. When you've programmed yourself to be in unbelief and to be reliant on yourself and to fix everything your, to be in that prideful place…surrender seems like an impossible step. Why would He help me? Look how badly I’ve screwed this up!
My negative thoughts turned into prayers of thanks. "Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to fix my marriage! Thank you so much Lord, that my children do not have walk the same path I did! Thank you Jesus for your grace and forgiveness! Thank you for revealing your plans for me and providing for me and holding me through the storm! Thank you for continuing to hold me God as I walk back to you!" What had changed? My situation was the same. My finances were the same. My children still acted the same. My circumstances had not changed, but I had.
When I was only using Stress Away, I noticed that even though kids are annoying sometimes, I had been suppressing their creativity for my convenience. I felt like I had to be doing something or I'm not successful at my homemaking job. I came about spiritual ministry because God has a sense of humor. I found that God's path is the share wisdom collected on our journey with someone else going through the same things. Wisdom isn't only for old people on their death bed- it's for the people who need to know right now that they are not alone. We hear, "I don't know how you do it!" and forget to trim the fat. People feel guilty doing that. We allow our worth to hang on doing everything in this world. It's not your job to do everything in this world. I had to truly make an effort to put some stuff down, step back, and pour back into me. It works. If you accomplish one thing for yourself every day, you can get out of your own head.
I found that by connecting with people, so many were hurting and I had no clue. I found myself doing spiritual battle, loving my refreshed mind, and realizing how important this job was. I called my coach, Caroline, and said, "This calling is super important and I cannot drop the ball. What do I use?" Frankincense. Cool. Good enough for baby Jesus, it's good enough for me. I began to put it between my eyes and over my heart. What the what?? Clarity. A light flipped on. Here is where I realized that my emotions were my biggest obstacle. My thinking head that was accustomed to solving problems from every angle for six people and my same heart that caused so many issues feeling everyone's pain and wanting to help them was my biggest distraction.
We can convince ourselves that our husbands, our children, and our time is our biggest distraction, but that's not true. It's our minds and hearts. And my mind and heart were on what I could not offer my children, not what I could. Frankincense helped me to see that my struggles were not the ones that I was led to believe I was fighting. I was able to see that what I was doing in my home was important now, not after the bills were current, not after the kids were grown so it could stay clean, not after my husband quit drinking, now. I could see the daily blessings and appreciate their personalities. I could appreciate the opportunity to teach them even mundane tasks. That was a whole new thing for me!
A few months later, I won a bottle of Awaken. Awaken helps us to see the potential in a lifestyle, situation, thought space, etc. When you combine perspective with potential...for me, the tones through which I saw my world changed. Filters of anger, guilt, unforgiveness were removed as irrelevant. Pride shifted and allowed me to see that my perspective was not what it should have been for someone who has known Christ for 13 years. I have always had spiritual gifts, but I had been jaded and didn't even know it. I was cutting off blessings by looking through those filters and allowing it to stop me from truly seeing my children. I saw that by brushing them off, I wasn't feeding their thirst for knowledge, but the world would. I was finally able to see things as possible because I could see that God never left us.
I had another realization when I began using Abundance: why let my elevated standards and envy take away the joy of provision? We may not have a whole lot of money in our savings account, we may not be current on most of our bills, my kids may be wearing hand-me-downs, but it's totally worth it because we were provided for. I didn't have to see it to still be provided for. We bought a fixer-upper that never got fixed, but that means that I get to keep my house after repeated financial hits because we could still afford the payment. I get to raise my own kids, was there for first words and first steps, they can count on me. So how is that not worth it? We live in a world full of people who feel like they can't count on anyone and yet I can offer that- how much is that worth? Knowing we would struggle, I get to give to my kids. Have random conversations, tell stories, teach basic skills and responsibilities. I have an abundance of time to prioritize our children- I had never done that before. I always saw things to do never getting done and did not know how to make time for them, but I have that now. I get to give them something worth having- time to visit grandparents, experiences, joy in all things- because I can see the joy in all things, I can teach it, too.
Satan will use your past to hold you down. You need to know your own truth. If you don't know it, seek it. In the storm, you will need something to hold onto and the truth is a good place to start. The people who walked with Jesus didn't even fully understand what He said, so don't tear yourself down. If you can't figure it out, can't find your way to where you think you're supposed to be right now- don't tear yourself down. There is a plan bigger than ours that is greater than we can ever imagine. So much bigger than us. You may not understand now...you may be in a place where we can't even process the emotions to handle these things. Step back. Your ease will come and this moment of hindsight and being blown away at His provision, even in your lack of faith, is the greatest gift to know that your family was provided for and carried through that. Where you can't go, He picks up for you. Know that struggling and not being able to give, give, give to your kids doesn't make you a bad person. Know that not knowing why your spouse does certain things doesn't make you a bad wife. Their shortcomings- not your fault, either. Jesus says that if you love Him and follow His commandments, you are His. You can do your best and let Him fill in the blanks. Let Him worry about it. Just walk.