When You Are Just Overwhelmed By Life

I know we’ve all been there at one time or another. And the last thing I want right now is for this to be another cliche’ piece on just stepping back and taking a breath. Or remembering “God’s got this”. 

How do you cope when it feels like everything is caving in on you? When You Are Just Overwhelmed By Life.png

I know this. You know this. So what is there beyond that? Does ignoring the overwhelm make it go away? What is there when life moves at the speed of light and there is no slowing down? What if things are painful inside your family life because there are hurting, broken people involved? People who have carried brokenness with them their entire lives because they didn’t know what to do with it other than stuff it? And then your dog dies. 

This is my reality right now. Maybe you've been there?

How do you cope when it feels like everything is caving in on you? Here are some things I learned over the last few months.

Here are 3 things you should do:

Talk to a Trusted Friend

I can’t stress enough just how helpful and necessary this is. We were made for community. God created us for fellowship and to carry one another's burdens and sometimes that can be as simple as talking those burdens through with a friend. Maybe they can't solve your problems for you, but they can listen and point you in the right direction. They can offer you encouragement and hope for your situation.

I'll be the first to admit, I struggled talking to people about my problems. I didn't want to be a burden on people with my own burdens. But you know what I found? Those closest to me were happy to listen and eager to help. There was not even a hint that I was a burden--but I had to step out and take that risk before I would know.

Talk to God

Don't underestimate the power of spilling your heart to God. It's in these moments when He offers us peace and clarity when all we feel is muddled and lost. I've found the best way for me to get my thoughts out is to journal. There is no right or wrong way to journal. You just need to be able to release to God whatever it is that is weighing you down. If you're not great with physically writing, open up a document on your computer and type it up. 

Write down everything you're feeling with no reservations. No one will see this except you and God (and if you want to delete it or shred it when you're done, that's fine, too!) 

Speak Truth Into Your Situation

Sometimes our circumstances can really feel bleak and leave us deflated. Sometimes we hate ourselves for getting into the mess in the first place or believe that everything that lead us to where we are is completely our fault. Chances are that's not entirely true. 

While we certainly are responsible for our own actions, there are some situations that can just knock us down and it takes us a while to get back on our feet. That doesn't make us failures or losers or less than. 

He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
— Matthew 5:45

God is not punishing you. God is not angry with you. God does not have it out for you. 

When we find ourselves at the bottom, we can choose to sit there and pout or we can allow God, our trusted friends, and the Truth God speaks to us to help pull us out. We never have to walk these valleys alone. Stay in the Word and learn what He says and believe that over what you tell yourself.

 

Here are 3 things you shouldn't do:

Wallow in Self-Pity

It's not hard to feel sorry for ourselves or our situations...especially when we have a hard time rising above them. Seems any time we make any headway, something else knocks us to the ground. It can get discouraging after a while! It can seem like we are just not meant to get up so we can catch up, let alone get ahead. 

It's so important we distinguish between what the world says about us (based on success, reputation, appearance, etc) and what God says about us. We tend to lean more toward who the world says we are rather than our very Creator. God values us above the world. Who He says we are is all that matters!

Wallowing in self-pity will only add further destruction to your situation. It will only cause you to sink lower and lower into your self and all you think you've failed to accomplish or protect yourself from. There is a danger here of seeing yourself as a victim of your own circumstances...and while that may be true, it's not a place you want to linger for long. 

Solutions cannot be found in this place. 

Blame others

Sometimes it's difficult to take responsibility for our own lives, especially when we've been wronged, hurt, or were dealt "a bad hand" in life. Some circumstances really are out of our control. But we can control how we move forward from there (or whether we do). We cannot blame others for not rising above our circumstances because we all have the opportunity to be more than we are. 

Stay Where You Are

We are more than our circumstances but if we refuse to budge because we continue to drown in our own self-pity, we have no one to blame but ourselves. If you want to change your circumstances, you absolutely cannot stay where you are. If what you are doing isn't working, it's time to change things up and try something new.  But whatever you do, don't stay where you are. Don't remain in a "victim state". Don't complain and not act. Take responsibility for your life and fight for it. 

I know life can knock us down at times. The issues can be sudden and temporary or longstanding and constant. Don't let life control you... take control of your life when circumstances knock you down! Rise above it and come out stronger because of it!

For His Glory,

Christin

How You Can Prepare Your Toddler To Become A Teenager

There are things you can do while you're kids are toddlers to prepare them (and you) for the teenage years.

There seems to be a stigma that goes with parenting teenagers. I mean, I get that teenagers have their moments just like anyone else would. But I have to say, so far my experience has been mostly positive. 

I currently have 2 teenagers in the house, with a 3rd joining the clan in July, when he turns 13. 

Now, I won't say teenagers don't come with their own set of challenges and sometimes they can act like toddlers...and so can some adults. But they haven't been what everyone has warned me of over the years. In fact, I find quite a delight in having teenagers.

When my teen girls take the initiative to clean the kitchen counters or consistently ask me if I need help with dinner or cleaning or anything else around the house, I feel so blessed.

Now, I'm not going to say that just happened over night. Nor will I say that will be the case for every teenager. 

Toddler Training

When my children were toddlers, they were in the thick of training. The terrible twos were not going to be a thing in my house. (Actually, age 3 was worse, ahem).

Toddlers are a challenge because they are learning their own independence and often use that knowledge to exert their will. This is a time to train them that tantrums and tears won't get them what they want. It's also a time for them to learn they can't always have what they want. 

The younger you instill this discipline into your children, the happier everyone will be. Honestly, a lot of the shaping of a child's will really begins at the toddler stage. If it doesn't begin here, it does get more difficult the longer you wait. 

But it's also a time to work with your toddler's natural curiosity. They are learning about the world around them, so of course, they want to touch everything. They don't have a clue as to what's okay to touch and what isn't. Lovingly training them in this can help them understand their boundaries---and believe me, despite their disputing, they love boundaries. 

Toddler Boundaries

Boundaries make children feel safe and secure. They won't ever be able to vocalize that to you directly. But they will communicate it through their behavior. 

This is also a great time to begin to really have a regular Bible reading time. Teach your toddler the great stories of the Bible and talk about Jesus regularly. Your walk with Christ should be a natural outpouring out on to your family. We love the New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes.

Mamas, I want to encourage you. The toddler years are TOUGH. I know. Lord, don't I know it! I remember wondering how long it was going to be this hard or was it ever going to get any easier. It does!! It really does. Not only that, but if you take the time to train your children, not just right from wrong or safety first, but begin teaching them about Jesus; prioritizing Him in your life and in theirs, you will reap fruit in the teen years you may never have expected. 

Marg & Gab

The Fruit Will Come

After 9 years of being in the same dance studio, we are switching studios after this dance season. Since we moved last year, we're now about 45 minutes away from the studio and it has been hard for our family to drive that distance three nights a week. And since I'm the one doing the driving, I'm exhausted from it. 

Their current dance schedule leaves Wednesday nights open but the schedule at the new studio, for their level of dance, puts them in class on Wednesday night. That's the night of youth group. 

Gabriella, who's been dancing since she was 3 and Margaret who only came into dance at age 11 but learned she's gifted in tap, both decided to drop down a level in dance so they would not miss out on church. This decision, made on their own, was surprising to me, but it also delighted me. To see my teenagers prioritize their lives {and wanting to} was watching the fruit bloom from the seeds my husband and I had planted so long ago.

Keep planting those seeds mama, because the fruit will come and it will be such a sweet time!

For His Glory,
Christin Slade

When Homeschooling Doesn't Fit Your Mold

When we set out to homeschool, often we paint this picture in our head of how it will look. But reality sets in as we chase toddlers and have to fight bad attitudes.

When we set out to homeschool, often we paint this picture in our head of how it will look. But reality sets in as we chase toddlers and have to fight bad attitudes.

The Initial Picture

When I first began homeschooling back in 2004, I had the ideal picture in my head. I also had only 2 children, one of whom was actually doing any sort of "school work" by the age of 3.

In addition, my first born was (is) a very eager learner and quickly punched through any workbook I placed in front of her. So, by the time she turned 6, we switched to something more robust and challenging: Tapestry of Grace. She rose to the occasion.

Coming up behind her was her younger brother and a one-year-old tornado. Thankfully she started off as a rather independent learner.

The Reality of Homeschooling

When my children were young, I would often have the youngest children running around in the background as I try to teach my older children. They didn't stay engaged very long, and when they did, they made a rather large mess by the end of teaching my lesson.

There are just some things I cannot control and I have to be OK with that. As someone who came from public schools, it's all I have to go off of on how "school" is supposed to look and it has taken a long time for those walls to come down and realize that learning can be done in more than one way.

So, having said all that, the ideal I had in my head to teach my children the same things, at the same time, from the same curriculum just doesn't happen. My children have different needs, learn at different levels, and with different methods. That makes for a rather interesting day of school!

No two days look alike around here, despite my carefully planned out schedule.  The schedule simply cannot account for a child "not in the mood" to do their lessons, a child who gets sick, tired children who've had a long weekend, or distracted children. I mean, really, the list can go on. And with seven children, it's rare we have a smooth day of school.

Check Your Expectations

I think it's important, in order to set ourselves and our children up for success, to accept the fact that our expectations may be too high and to take things as they come. That's not to say we shouldn't plan, but the plans will get messed up and we can't just throw our hands up when that happens. We simply need to adjust ourselves to that reality and work from that place.

Today, I am getting over a cold that has knocked me down these last couple of days. I am still not feeling 100% myself, therefore I cannot perform optimally. In addition, I have not yet been to my friends to pick up our next set of books for the next unit in our Tapestry studies. In light of this, I am adjusting our week accordingly.

christin slade_When Homeschooling Doesn't Fit Your Mold

Thankfully, we just made a great library visit over the weekend, so the children have plenty of new, good quality books to dig into. And because I'm still lacking energy from being sick, I am only focusing on the most important things today. For example, since we aren't leaving the house today, I am not enforcing everyone to get dressed. We can declare today a "pajama day".

On top of all that, reading aloud is often a nightmare because I am always telling someone to "Shhhh". Math consistently puts someone in tears. (Including me at times). Writing, my own favorite subject, is a subject I struggle to teach--especially at varying levels.

Bad attitudes are a norm (I know, they shouldn't be, but I can only encourage good attitudes, not force them). Despite the fact that I've created a schedule and chore chart for each child, I am constantly telling them what they are supposed to be doing. This is all part of training which is an integral part of homeschooling. This is all the reality of homeschooling.

The sooner I accept the fact that homeschooling isn't perfect because people aren't perfect, the smoother our days will go. It's ok when everything doesn't go exactly the way I plan. The goal is to keep moving forward and pressing on.

Homeschooling isn't meant to look perfect, it's meant to serve a purpose, and that purpose will be defined by each family.

For more imperfect homeschool days, visit the iHomeschool Network bloggers.

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