Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Lesson on Parenting

Good morning! I know I missed my Thankful Thursday this week and I am so sorry! I have been studying so hard for finals but I will get back to it this Thursday! For tonight I'm bringing y'all something different.

I grew up in a home where my siblings and I ran in the house, sometimes we'd throw things in the house, and we liked to shout and laugh. My parents knew that our feelings and emotions were much more important than material things. When we broke things, we were still loved. We may have been disciplined, but we were never yelled or screamed at. And let me tell you, I have never truly appreciated that until now.

One time I threw a frisbee in the house and I broke a piece off of one of my mom's Christmas village shops.

Another time I did a back flip off of a couch and broke a sculpture that she absolutely loves. (Thankfully she was able to glue the whole thing back together again.)

Those are just two of the times I remember well but I'm sure between the three of us, we broke things, bent things, and drew on things we weren't supposed to.

Fast forward to last night. Lincoln was playing in the spice drawer in the kitchen and he dropped a glass of something. It shattered all over the floor. I was working on the last few minutes of dinner so I picked him up, held him while I stirred the food, and when I was done turned on the TV so he'd watch it while I cleaned up the glass in the kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago he took a marker to my (a week old at that time) comforter that I absolutely love. I started to get angry and then I thought back on how patient my parents have always been when we messed things up. I started thinking.. This is a material comforter. It costs money, yes, but if I yell at him for this and really hurt him and his feelings, that can't be taken back. A new comforter can be bought, or I can live with one that has a few marker spots on it.

When I was younger I would go to friends' houses whose parents would scream and yell anytime they spilt anything, broke anything, or wrote on anything they weren't supposed to. Should we discipline our kids? Yes. Should we let them know when they're not allowed to do something? Of course. I let Lincoln know that it wasn't okay to write on things other than paper I give him, but I didn't yell. I didn't get angry. Why? Because his feelings and heart are so much more important than anything I can purchase. I can always buy a new comforter, I can always paint a wall, but I can never take back things I say to him. I can apologize for those words but I can never erase how he feels when I say them.

Honestly, I'm not saying I'm perfect at this. And in the past two years of being his mom, I have had to remind myself of how patient my parents have always been with me about this. I honestly have the best examples I could ever ask for when it comes to this. So thank you Mom and Dad, for letting me break, draw on, and bend everything important in our home. Thank you for letting me run in the house, and throw in the house, and scream and laugh. Thank you for letting our home be a home where I never felt like I couldn't prop my feet up. I know what home is supposed to feel like because of you two, and I pray Lincoln says the same about me one day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thankful Thursday: People Edition

As I began to think back on this week and what I am most thankful for, my heart began to flood with the names of people. I believe in so many ways that God brings people into your life at different times for different purposes and I am so thankful that God has allowed me the privilege of knowing and getting to spend time with these amazing people. So I've decided this week's thankful Thursday is going to be all about people that I'm grateful for. Enjoy!

I'm thankful for Lincoln. This may sound obvious and redundant, because I'm pretty sure I say it a lot, but I am so unbelievably grateful for Lincoln and all that God has used him to do in my life. He was unexpected but he is a blessing, and the greatest one God has ever given me. I look back at who I was before Lincoln and who I am now and those two people are not the same in any way. I realize I changed because Lincoln drew me closer to God, but if it wasn't for the unexpected blessing of his life, where would I be right now? His heart brings joy to my soul, he makes me laugh, and he makes life worth living every single day. He makes me strive to be better and rely on God more than I ever have before. His life changed the hearts of the Fussell family and for that I will forever be grateful for his precious life. No matter the way Lincoln was brought into this world, he will always know he is a joy, a blessing, and the greatest thing to ever happen to this momma. Life wouldn't be the same without Linc Fuss, and I am so thankful that God called me to be his mom!

I'm thankful for my parents. Let's face it, I'd be nowhere without them. From teaching me how to play ball to teaching me how to be a mom, their lives are precious and valuable to me. I couldn't have asked for better parents and I am so proud to be their daughter. But most importantly, they taught me to love Jesus above all else and that is the most important thing they could have ever instilled in my heart. Words can't express all that they've done for me and how grateful I am to be their daughter.

I'm thankful for my siblings. It's so funny how as you grow up, your siblings become more like best friends and a whole lot less like enemies. The fighting lessens and the time you spend together increases and I love it. I really do. I spend every Monday night (after Lincoln falls asleep) at my sister's house watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette and painting my fingernails and let me tell you, it is usually the highlight of my week. Because really, who wouldn't love to make fun of people they don't actually know while getting to paint their nails. It's gold I tell you. Seriously though, it's precious time that we get to spend doing something we love. She's one of my best friends and I can't imagine it any other way. Pearce is a different story. A God sized story. I didn't have much of a relationship with him before I got pregnant. Ever since I got pregnant and God changed his heart completely, we have been close and I love it. I don't see him near as much, but I am so thankful for the presence of our relationship and how God proves daily that He can mend relationships. Pearce will be in town this weekend and I am so very excited to finally see him!

I'm thankful for Matt. Matt, for those of you who don't know, is my brother-in-law. And he is wonderful. We've always been such a close-knit family of five so when Kays started dating him I really worried it would be like losing my sister. But it has proved to be completely the opposite. Matt was here the night I told my family I was pregnant and he has been there for Lincoln and I every step of this journey. I have incredible respect for the way Matt has stepped up as a Godly male figure in Lincoln's life and I know without a shadow of a doubt, he'd protect us both in an instant. God couldn't have blessed my sister with a better husband, me with a better brother-in-law, or Linc with a better uncle. We are so blessed to have him!

I'm thankful for my best friend, Cinnamon. I've only known her since December and I fully believe God orchestrated us to be put into each other's lives for so many reasons. A friend of Cinnamon's younger sister decided that we just had to meet and we would just love each other. Basically, we had "a blind friendship date." I don't think that's actually a real term, but I just made it one. And so in December 2012, Dentyne, McKenzie, Cinnamon, Curry, Lincoln and I sat down at Sonny's and started a conversation that would start an amazing friendship. So thank you McKenzie, because it worked! In so many ways, I believe God brought Cinn into my life at just the perfect time. She has listened to me cry, encouraged me when I'm down, hugged me when I needed it, supported me in everything and just plain loved me where I'm at. We always joke that don't like to have girl best friends because people get on our nerves and yet somehow we haven't killed each other yet. At the place in my life where I was begging God for a Godly best friend, he brought her to me and she is such an answered prayer in my life! And it's just icing on the cake that our little boys, Linc and Curry, are best friends, too!

I'm thankful for my nursing family. My section one and two groups are God sent for sure! I spend hours and hours four days a week with these people and I am so thankful for them! Nursing school wants to kill me, but these people are always there to encourage me when I have a bad day, study with me, and listen to all my rants about how much I hate care plans. This past week I have been feeling really sick and so many people have sent me texts asking if I'm feeling better and checked on me at clinicals. In fact, they even call/text to make sure I'm awake and going to be on time for clinicals (because of me being almost late for our second clinical). They are always there to help me, to answer my stupid questions, to lend me a sweatshirt, and to make me laugh (especially during concepts when I'm slightly losing my mind). I really couldn't have been blessed to spend my first semester of nursing school with any other people.

I thank my God every time I remember you. {Philippians 1:3}


I've decided I'm going to start sharing verses that really mean a lot to me. These verses have really lifted my spirits this week and I'm hoping they'll life yours, too!

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. {Romans 8:37}

I love You, Lord, my strength! The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in Whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. {Psalm 18:1-2}

Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. {Psalm 73:25-26}

He rescued me because He delighted in me. {Psalm 18:19}

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday

To me, a big part of being content where you are is being thankful for what you have. There are so many dreams and material things this world has for us and when we get wrapped up in what others have, we so easily forget all that God has blessed us with. So I've decided to designate Thursdays as Thankful Thursday (at least here on the blog)! Every Thursday I will post 5-10 things that I am thankful for that day. Feel free to try it with me and to leave comments if you want!

I'm thankful for the quiet moments with Linc. I absolutely love taking him to do things. I love the zoo, and taking him to the movies, and going to get ice cream. And heaven knows I love vacation (which we're going on next month, yay!!!). I really enjoy doing things out of the ordinary, but some of my favorite moments are the quiet moments. Moments at home where we're snuggling on the couch watching a movie, or giggling while we're playing trains. I truly believe the statement that says "If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money." Spending time with him in the quiet moments seems just as important as the big flashy moments. Any parent can spend tons of money on one fun day, but I have always felt like the quiet moments at home are when we bond the most.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to go to college. How many 20 year olds do you know that can pay for their own college? It's rare. Then add to that being a single 20 year old mom and having the opportunity to college? That's almost unheard of. And hear me out, I'm not bragging on me. I'm bragging on God. He has done incredible things to get me here. I'm so very thankful that I have this incredible opportunity to start a career. It's a blessing that I try so hard not to take for granted.

I'm thankful for my Thursdays off from school. I go to school Monday - Friday, excluding Thursdays. It is so nice to have that day off to spend with Lincoln and get some extra things done around the house or get to work out (which is so rare these days). It's always nice to have a quiet day during the week to rest.

I'm thankful for encouragement. I have had a rough couple weeks. Mostly just stressed out about school, but still, they have been rough. I have been exhausted and beat down. I have had so many comments/messages on Facebook, texts from friends, and even a random stranger offer some words of encouragement this week. I am SO thankful for how encouragement lifts up my spirit and gives me hope.

I'm thankful for grace. I'll be the first to admit that I need grace. A lot of grace. Daily. I'm so thankful that God doesn't look at me as broken, He looks at me as His. And when I am in Him, I am so whole and His grace is making me new each day. His grace is the reason I've made it this far. His grace teaches me daily and it holds me daily and although it was free to me, it came at such a high price for God.. It cost Him His son. I need to remember that and treasure what a beautiful and precious gift God's grace is.

I'm thankful for mine and Lincoln's health. This seems to be a reoccurring thing that keeps going through my head. I just finished up my third clinical at the hospital and boy am I thankful that both my son and I are so very healthy. I see people who are young and dying, people who have taken care of themselves and are still incredibly sick and it is so very sad and it breaks my heart every time. I thank God every time I walk out of a patient's room that is sick. Besides a few colds and maybe an iron deficiency problem, we're healthy. And that is a blessing that I think we all take for granted from time to time.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! {Psalm 100:4}

Monday, July 8, 2013

I Won't be Defeated

If I'm being honest, I think we as Christians often live with a defeated attitude and mindset. Trust me, I'm preaching to myself right now. Life can knock us down and instead of knowing who holds the future we curl up in a ball and live like we're not His children. So many circumstances can look like a dead end and we become fearful and worrisome. I know in my own head so many times circumstances will pop up and I think "There's no way this is going to work" and although I don't directly say "God can't work this out," that's basically what my heart is saying. The other day I was down about a few things and just feeling hopeless when I heard God ask, "Do you believe that I raised my son to life after he was dead for three days?" Now, this may sound so off topic, and when He asked that I thought the same thing. I said "God, what does this have to do with my situation?" And then it hit me.. If God can raise a dead man from the grave (Not to mention the fact that Jesus was dead for three days. It's not like His heart stopped beating for 15 minutes and they revived Him. No, dead for three whole days.), why don't I believe that He can handle this situation? Why don't I believe that He can take care of my family? Why do I ever question His sovereignty? I think sometimes it's because we question His love for us. We wonder why God would want to handle our small and seemingly insignificant problems. But friends, He LOVES you! He proved His love for all of eternity by letting His son be beaten to death. And maybe this is just my opinion, but I strongly believe that He cares about the small details of my life, and yours. And when I remember His love and how much He cares, I realize that He is going to take care of me. I won't be defeated because He isn't defeated. My circumstances don't surprise God, they don't worry God, and they can't overtake God.

So what are you letting defeat you today? Because our God is bigger. He is stronger. He is wiser. And He loves you enough to be your protector and fighter today. His love can overcome anything you're facing today.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:37-39]

Friday, July 5, 2013

Joy in Heartache

Yesterday I took Lincoln to the zoo on my school day off and we had such an amazing time. We got to feed the giraffes and pet the goats and we got our famous cotton candy snow cone! It reminded me of one of the first times we went to the zoo and I was reminded of where God has brought us from and His amazing grace.

Lincoln was about to turn one (I think), he was walking but no where near good enough to where he would be able to walk the whole zoo like he does now, and he was about 25 pounds. For those of you who didn't know much about him then, he hated riding in a stroller. Therefore, I ended up carrying him the whole time, pushing his stroller, and carrying his bag around the zoo by myself. (If you've never done that, let me tell you, it was difficult. Really difficult.) It seemed that all I saw were happy couples with children. Dad's would be holding the child, mom's were pushing the stroller. You could really tell the dad's were so happy to be there with their children and their wives. And honestly, it bothered me. Bad. I'm not sure that I've ever shared this story with many people, but this day really hurt my heart. I had an amazing time with Lincoln, but my heart was aching that day. You see, I've always been a fan of fairytales. I always dreamed of getting married and having children.. In that order. At 17 I made a choice that made that dream impossible. And if I'm getting real with you right now, that used to break my heart daily. I dreamed of the wedding, the dress, the ring, and then one day down the road having children with my husband. Obviously no one ever dreams of being a single mom. I mean, no divorced mom ever thought, "Hey, let me marry this man, have kids with him and then we can get divorced and I can be a single mom! Yay!" My parents are still married, so I have the amazing privilege of having two parents together. I never imagined (when I was younger) that my children wouldn't have that opportunity. That day at the zoo I wasn't so much sad because I wasn't together with Lincoln's dad, I was sad because I couldn't provide my son with the amazing thing that I grew up with: two parents who love each other and love their child. I used to have a really hard time with it. Granted, on this day I had a reason to be sad, but I was downright having a pity party.

It's okay to be sad. Life is not always going to be perfect and faking a smile constantly isn't healthy. However, being constantly upset because you're going through a storm in your life isn't going to get you anywhere. I look back now and realize when you're in a tough time in life, you can do one of two things. You can have a pity party and be mad that life didn't turn out how you planned, or you can accept that it's life and find out what you can learn from the situation. You see, God taught me a lot during that time in my life. He taught me that He is all I need. He taught me that He is sufficient for me. He taught me that I am a whole lot stronger than I ever thought possible along with a million other things. And if I had continued to wallow in self pity, I would have missed incredible happiness. You may be facing a situation that really isn't all that fun, but I can promise you you can learn and grow from it.

Yesterday we went to the zoo and I saw happy little families and I was so happy for them. It made me smile to see families together and I realized I have come so far from that day. God has really pieced together my heart and my soul is resting in the fact that God is sovereign. I may not be married and have a child with that man, but Lincoln and I are an incredibly blessed family of two! I'm so very thankful that God taught me through that time and that He has allowed me to overcome that and be content where he has me. And honestly, if God has in mind for me to be a single mom the rest of my life, then so be it. I am blessed with an incredibly family, a son that brightens my day every moment he breathes, and a God whose grace is inconceivable. You don't have to like bad days, but you do have to learn from them. So here's my question, are you wallowing in self pity today, or are you trusting the God's whose love for you is endless and learning from everything that He allows you to go through? Because if you choose the second option, I can bet you won't regret it.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. [Psalm 9:9-10]