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A Peek Into My Life This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly post where we take a break from money-related posts and I share about what I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.

I’m walking through a season right now filled with a lot of heaviness. There are no quick fixes or fast solutions. And I’m allowing myself permission to feel the hurt and pain instead of slapping on a plastic smile and pretending I’m okay.

Because as I’ve learned over the last year, it’s okay to not be okay. In fact, it’s so much healthier to acknowledge the pain and the hurt instead of trying to stuff it down and convince yourself that you’re “fine.”

This week, I let myself be sad. But I also committed to look for the good and the beautiful… the little reminders of God’s love.

I saw it in the Mother’s Day gift that Kathrynne gave me — a beautiful adult coloring book she earned by memorizing a lot of Scripture and quoting it to her teacher.

I saw it in the beautiful clouds and sun shining through the clouds — even when it was raining.

I saw it in the perfectly-timed text from a friend who said exactly what God knew I needed to hear right in that moment.

I saw it in Kaitlynn cheerfully and willingly spending a few hours in the kitchen to make an amazing dinner for us one night this week!

I saw it at Starbucks when I took Kathrynne out for a little date and the barista said, “Your order has already been paid for by the car in front of you.”

I feel so humbled by God’s kind care and love for me shown in such tangible ways today. Even when life feels sad, He is good.

What I’m Reading

Right now, I’m reading: The Broken Way (a spiritually encouraging book), Power Through Prayer (an old Christian reprint), Hope Heals (a story-driven book), and DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety & Stop Panic Attacks.

This week, I finished A Gospel Primer. Please don’t judge this book by its cover. The contents are GOLD.

I firmly believe that every Christian’s life could be deeply impacted by a slow reading of this book. It will challenge you to truly understand, grasp, and live in light of the gospel like never before.

As soon as I finished it, I wanted to start reading it again.

“Preaching the gospel to myself each day nourishes within me a holy brazenness to believe what God says, enjoy what He offers, and do what He commands.”

{See my Reading Goals for 2017. Also, see the 40 books I’ve read so far in 2017 here.}

A Lesson I’m Learning

I used to feel like I couldn’t take much time for fun and relaxation because I “had to work”. And I burned myself out by years of hustling.

These days, I work so much less, but I get so much more done because I don’t burn the candle at both ends. Instead, I try to be completely offline for at least 4-5 hours every day. And I have so much more inspiration for blogging and I love what I do so much more.

Give yourself permission to leave the laptop closed or the phone off (or to set aside whatever else constantly is pulling at your attention) more and to just enjoy life. When you do, you’ll probably discover that you’re so much more efficient and productive when it is time to put your head down and get stuff done.

(Yesterday, I left my laptop closed all morning and early afternoon and we hung out as a family: going to a parade, going to a new restaurant, taking a long walk, and exploring a newly opened bridge. It was so fun and so soul-filling for me!)

What I’m Pondering

I came in from running yesterday morning to see this and I just had to laugh… next to my beautiful Mother’s Day card from Silas and flowers from Jesse, were a pile of dirty, bloody sheets on the coffee table (a child had a bad bloody nose last night and had stripped their bed but the sheets hadn’t made it to the laundry room yet).

This is motherhood. It’s beautiful and messy all at the same time.

Some days, it is glorious. Some days, it’s gross.

Many days, it’s a mix of the marvelous, the mundane, and the messy all wrapped up in one big pile.

There are heavenly moments. There are heartbreaking moments.

Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s stretched me beyond what I ever dreamed I was capable of. It’s turned me — a former stoic, stable, non-emotional person — into a feeling, emotional, raw woman who can cry at the drop of a hat if it involves my kids.

I never knew the depths of love that existed until I became a mother. I never knew how impatient I could be, either!! 😉

This is motherhood. And I’m humbly grateful for the gift that it is — even the messy parts. Because it’s caused me to need Jesus like never before and it’s given me a glimpse of just how much my Heavenly Father loves me.

How was YOUR week? I’d love to hear! Tell me about it in the comments.

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  • Polly says:

    I’ve followed your blog for a few years now but have never commented. Your comments about being in a season of heaviness and feeling hurt and pain, while still looking for the beautiful, made me think of a phrase from a song that’s been playing in my head for weeks. The phrase is “I chase the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.” It’s from the song “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.” God’s love, light, and joy will not let us go. How comforting that we don’t need to do anything to receive it or keep it. Thanks for your honesty in the peeks into your life, my friend.

  • Carmen says:

    I have read Dare too . I had been suffering from panic attacks and anxiety disorder. This has helped me so much !!

  • Theresa says:

    Oh, that salad looks so delicious! Did you have a recipe? If not, could you share with me the ingredients? I know it had to be so yummy!!!
    Thanks in advance

  • denise says:

    Last week was my last week working at the bank! I have a new job as a bilingual classroom assistant starting tomorrow at the public schools and I am super excited! Hopefully I can get a good night’s sleep tonight!

  • Wendy says:

    Just want you to know I am praying for you, Crystal and whatever sadness and pain you are dealing with. May our Lord Almighty help comfort you, give you guidance, and the Holy Spirit lighten your load and fill your soul in a way only God can.

  • Laura says:

    Crystal! Loved what you wrote about slowing down and being more productive when you find balance. I am one year into a at home business I’m trying to make successful. I have 3 girls. My youngest is 4 and home with me all day. I’m always hearing hustle and you have to sacrifice to make your business successful. I get that but always don’t want to miss out on my kids and life. I also like to take Sunday completely off. Do you think it’s possible to be balanced at the beginning of a business and still have success?

  • Jo Keyes says:

    My nephew always got bloody noses at night and we showed him how to spray hydrogen peroxide on it and he would always clean it up himself because he loved watching it do the white foaming thing on the blood and make it just disappear.

  • Terryjane says:

    As you frequently do, you spoke to me today. I feel heaviness right now too, and today in particular, I feel hurt and pain because it is Mother’s Day and my 37 year old daughter who lives 60 minutes away has not phoned, emailed, texted or sent a card. I am unsure what I have done that has estranged her, but it hurts. I am trying to find purpose and contentment in my life on my own. Thanks for speaking from the heart, Crystal.

  • Lynn says:

    Thank you for this post. I needed to hear it today. My son has been in the hospital for a week and will be here even longer. While we were here,, my other children celebrated important events without me (a birthday and Mother’s Day).I’m asking others to cover my work obligations. Trying to give myself permission to not do it all so that I can be strong for him.

  • Lori says:

    What books would you recommend for a couple who is struggling with their marriage after 22 years? Thanks.

  • I relate to the heaviness. I’ve felt like this much of the year. Many of my family members are either struggling with health or life, some no longer want to talk to us, and others are having marital difficulties. I often feel like there is a burden on my shoulders that feels so heavy. I know we are to give our burdens to Christ, but somehow I still feel heavy. But I’m like you, in the midst of all this, there is so much to be grateful. My husband and children and all the precious moments we get to spend together, the sunshine, and so much more. Blessings to you this week!

  • Theresa L says:

    This past week was a bit crazy. All 3 of my kids were sick at some point. Thankfully, nothing serious. But it made things chaotic. I did have a really nice Mother’s Day.

    I’ve been experiencing a time of heaviness also. But, like you, I just need to feel what I feel. Otherwise I find it coming out in other ways that aren’t healthy.

  • girl in Boston says:

    I remember marching in the Franklin rodeo parade when I played clarinet in junior high school. Why they had the horses go before the marching band in a parade I’ll never understand (LOL). Thanks for the memories while I survive my rainy 40 degree weather in new england!

  • Aimee Hadden says:

    “a former stoic, stable, non-emotional person — into a feeling, emotional, raw woman who can cry at the drop of a hat if it involves my kids.” YES. This was so me before I had kids. It is beautiful to see how God softens our hearts through these sweet little people we mother. <3

  • Jessica Macias says:

    I am grateful for the pictures you post! They are fun and encouraging. I don’t use Facebook, Instagram, not sure what else is out there, but basically I don’t look at other people’s pictures. However, I do go on your blog for my “mommy time.” Sometimes, I just need 10 minutes and it really helps! The camping picture you shared just encouraged me to me ask my husband if he could plan our family vacation this summer. And the sheets next to the pretty flowers…now that’s just fun…that is SO MOTHERHOOD!! Thank you!

  • Rhonda says:

    Thank you for giving me a name for what I’ve been in the last year and a half. “Season of heaviness.” My Step Dad and Step Mom were diagnosed with the same kind of lung cancer. My Step Dad passed last May and My Step Mom will be lucky to be here at the end of Summer. Last Fall, I almost lost my 21 year old disabled daughter to aspiration pneumonia (implant surgery complications). She ended up in ICU on a ventilator with acute respiratory failure for 10 days. It’s taken months for her to recover. I know the people around me think I’m going to crack at some point, but life is beautiful and it is messy. The Love of God will see me through! Hugs to you as you go through your own Season of Heaviness.

  • This was a beautiful post, Crystal. I’m sorry for your sadness; I understand it well, the mixture of joy and sorrow. God be with you, carry you, and provide you will His strength and peace, my friend.

  • Tracy says:

    This was my first Mother’s Day without my father and my Grandma is in the nursing home. It was tough in the morning, I am used to flowers or at least a card from my Dad. But my son was so sweet and he got me earrings I really love I put them on right away and have yet to take them off. Then I got a surprise at Dinner time my Son’s Father called me (we are not together), to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day and told me what a wonderful Mother I am to our son. I was completely surprised by this and it made my whole day.

  • Deanna says:

    Our week just had a couple extra little events.

    A local bookstore has a Ladies’ Night Out a few times a year – draw for a discount %, snacks, drawings for door prizes etc. I went with a friend and we had a blast. Saturday there was a wedding shower for a dear friend (same friend from the bookstore) getting married in July. I took my 6 year old (also the flower girl for the wedding – she’s beyond excited) along with me. I try my best to use those little moments to spend one on one time with the kids. Then mother’s day we left church early and headed to Oklahoma City for a minor league baseball game. So much fun!

  • Kari says:

    Thank you for your transparency. I too am in a season of sadness. I lost a friend 6 weeks ago after a year-long battle with cancer. This friend taught me so much and continues to even now. We’re in our early 30s and I’ve never lost someone my age. While I’ve mourned the loss of grandparents and an aunt, this has totally shaken my world and thrown me off-kilter. Your words touched me today. Thanks for the permission to be sad.

  • Mary says:

    Speaking of Pondering-“Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s stretched me beyond what I ever dreamed I was capable of. It’s turned me — a former stoic, stable, non-emotional person — into a feeling, emotional, raw woman who can cry at the drop of a hat if it involves my kids.” (Ditto to this coming from a 61yo mom.)

    “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke:2:19)

  • Sherri says:

    A Gospel Primer is GOLD. I agree.

  • Linda K. says:

    I have a question about your trip to London. We also want to travel but my kids have Special Needs and I’m not sure what to do. I know you’ve mentioned that your son has severe developmental delays and your oldest daughter has crippling emotional problems and social anxiety. Can you please share how you’re able to make travel work? my kids are similar and a change in their routine usually makes it worse. Thanks so much.

    • I think you know your child best, but for our kids, we’ve found that if they know ahead of time what the plan is and what our backup plan is each day, that really, really helps. In addition, we talk through struggles and issues really honestly and give our kids and space and grace when they are struggling with the stress or anxiety that travel or newness can bring.

      We are also very careful to protect our time when we travel and to not plan too much. So we try to make sure that we have a good block of down time each day where we just hang out at the hotel or wherever we are staying and are just together as a family and have nothing planned.

      We’ve also found that exposing them to newness and things that scare them in tiny doses, the more confident they get about being in those types of situations.

  • kat romett says:

    Such a timely article for me! It’s very hard for me NOT to stuff things down. This hit my heart in such a good way. Thank you for being free to share.

  • Kelly says:

    What are your thoughts on the DARE book?

  • Carol says:

    I am sorry you are going through such a hard time. {hugs}

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