Soul Food

When You Can’t Stop Staring at Your Problems

Tabitha Eye

I have come to realize that I have this problem. Well actually, I have known about it for a while. My husband always points it out to me when we are waiting for a table at our favorite restaurant or walking through the mall. Or Target. Or the parking lot. Or sitting in the doctor’s office. Or even putting the groceries into the car. I always laugh him off and respond by saying “I can’t help it”.

But lately I have realized that my staring problem extends far beyond the couple arguing in the corner of the restaurant or the mother disciplining her child as she puts them in their car seat. It’s deeper than staring at the teenage girl yelling at her boyfriend or the child throwing a fit in the doctor’s office. You see, I like to stare at chairs. I know…it’s weird. But stick with me because I bet you do too.

Because while this problem I have with staring at “chairs” has always been a problem, I didn’t realize it until recently. Let me explain…

Several weeks ago while making breakfast and getting our foster child ready for school, she randomly started talking non-stop and super-fast about that “one time” I took her to the circus. And as I listened to her chatter away about how she only remembers the elephant ride and nothing else (including the popcorn and drinks that was the same price as a steak dinner), I vividly remembered the performance involving the strong 300 pound lion and scrawny 160 pound lion tamer. Talk about making me sweat! Yikes! I wonder how he gets an insurance policy…

Anyway, I will never forget sitting there on the edge of my seat, mesmerized and baffled as the lion tamer was able to command and maneuver this ferocious animal around the ring with just a whip and a small chair in his hand. I know that if I were him, I would need more than a whip and a chair. I would need a full armor body suit and a shark’s cage. Which led me to wonder why, besides holding a whip; the lion tamer would only arm himself with a chair and point its legs toward the roaring beast. Because come on…A chair? But after some research, I learned the whole idea of the chair is to simply distract.

lion tamer and chair oval

You see, in the death defying scene of the lion tamer holding the whip and a chair, the whip gets all of the attention, but it is mostly for show.  In reality, it’s the chair that does the important work because when a lion tamer holds a chair in front of the lions face, the lion tries to focus on all four legs of the chair at the same time.  And with its focus divided, and as the lion stares, it doesn’t know what to do.  So he becomes confused–stunned–frozen and basically unable to attack the man.

Isn’t that incredible?  I never knew that as powerful as the beast is, it can be immobilized and stripped of its power by simply staring at a chair.  How silly of that lion, right?

But friend, I have realized that I am just like that lion. I also have staring problem. Because there are days when I’m in life’s circus ring, just standing there. And staring. I’m staring at the “chairs” that seem to be pointed in my face.

It’s the “chair” of not being a good enough wife.

Or a good enough foster mom.

Or it’s the “chair” of infertility.

Or the “chair” of those who have hurt me.

Or the “chair” of my past failures.

And I find that when I stare at those “chairs”, I also become paralyzed. And distracted. And immobilized. And unable to see beyond my worries. Or overcome my fears.

Just a few months ago I found myself distracted when I saw a beautiful mother of three getting into her shiny new minivan (loved that van). And as she put her adorable children in their car seats, I caught myself comparing my life to hers. And I no longer felt blessed. No longer beautiful. No longer content.

And how could I forget all of those sleepless nights while staring at the “chairs” of tomorrow and feeling immobilized with anxiety. Or each month when I am holding yet another negative pregnancy test? Because to be honest, sometimes in that moment, all I do is stare at my “chair.” And I when I do, I become distracted and fearful. I forget that with God all things are possible, therefore no matter what my situation looks like in this moment, everything could suddenly and without notice change next month. I forget all of this because I’m too busy staring and focusing on the “chair.”

Have you ever been there?

Perhaps your “chairs” look different from mine.  Maybe your “chairs” are doctor’s reports or the negative experiences others have had in your similar situation?  You know…the stories from those who didn’t have their prayers answered? Or maybe it’s the “chair” of a bad relationship or financial struggles. Maybe it’s cancer or a chronic illness? Maybe it’s just the “chair” of a bad day?  No matter the “chair,” I can promise you they all have the same end result. They all distract. They all cause us to feel powerless. And hopeless. And worried. And discouraged. And fearful. And…(you fill in the blank)

But friend, in the last several weeks I have learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. Because while you are the lion, and the “chair” is your problem, have you thought about who is the one behind the chair? You know, the one holding it and causing you to be distracted? Can I give you a hint? Some people would say he has horns, wears a red cape and carries around a pitch fork. You know who I am talking about don’t you? But I also believe he dresses like a lion tamer and holds a chair. And His mission in life is to distract you. And immobilize you. And paralyze you. Why? So you don’t realize the kind of power you have inside of you that could instantly tear him apart.

So friend, as you step into the circus ring called life today, choose to not stare at your “chairs.”  Don’t spend your free time researching your problem out of fear and panic or waste time worrying about the “what if’s.”  Because I believe that as you stop staring, hope will rise; dreams will start to grow, feelings of defeat will vanish, and peace that only our Heavenly Father can give will overwhelm your soul.

And doesn’t that sound good?

But trust me, I know not staring is tough. It isn’t easy to just stop. Because let’s face it, sometimes we do it without even realizing it. Especially when a couple is fighting in a restaurant. And when it comes to our problems, worrying just seems to come natural.  Am I right?  But friend, can I suggest something to possibly help you? Can I suggest you choose to stare at Jesus instead of that “chair”? Because I believe that He is the One who can not only help you stop staring at it, but also give you the strength, courage and boldness of a lion to kick it out of your face. And who wouldn’t like that?

With Love


I would love to get connected with you on a more personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on, then click here to find Waiting for Baby Bird on Facebook. Or come hang out with me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird.

 

 

Josiah Day

Silly or Not…Here We Go!

Welp!  It’s Josiah Day!  So friends, let’s break out our party hats, blow on our noise makers, throw up the confetti and get out our tool boxes…err…tool boxes?!  Yep!  Cause this is happening…

Crib 1

If you remember, three months ago I wrote “Putting the Cart Before the Horse” because I sensed the Lord telling me to prepare a nursery.  And not to mention, others around me said it was time to prepare as well.  So silly or not, I purchased a crib.  But if I were to be honest, ever since I made that purchase, all I have thought about is how foolish this looks.  And how costly this has been.  Because let’s be real. I could have bought the curtains I have had my eyes set on for three months.  Or taken that vacation I have talked about for two years.  We could have bought the bigger television.  Or added it to our savings fund for the vehicle I have been swooning over.  Heck, we could have even ordered pizza for 58 straight nights in a row.  But instead, I purchased a crib.  And for what?  I haven’t even seen two pink lines.  And it’s not like my three percent chance of conceiving on my own gives others much confidence that at any point I will.  But I did it anyway.  I took a step without even seeing the whole staircase.

And tonight as my husband and I started putting together this crib that has sat in the box for two months, I caught myself even saying numerous times, “This seems so silly!”

But I think if I sat across the dinner table from Noah tonight, he would tell me to keep preparing despite the odds.  And keep walking by faith despite the uncertainty.  Because while walking by faith isn’t easy and it involves some risk and it makes you feel uncomfortable and even foolish; not obeying and trusting in the One who holds the Universe in the palm of His hands is more silly. And risky. And foolish.

Because friend, just think about what would have happened to Noah and his family if he had given into reason and not built the ark?  What if he hadn’t trusted God with the details?  Or decided that building a boat the length of a football field and as high as a four-story building was too costly.  Or too foolish?

And so with that thought, I will keep walking by faith as I continue to take steps without ever seeing the whole stair case.  I know it is a risk.  And it makes me uncomfortable.  And I feel silly.  As well as foolish at times.  But I also know that God is faithful.  And He can be trusted.  So silly or not…here we go!

And to the one reading this right now, if you are believing God for something, I encourage you to activate your faith in some way. Do whatever you can (big or small) to prepare for the desires of your heart to be fulfilled.  And for the blessings you believe He will send into Your life.  I know it is a risk. I know it can be scary. And it might even make you question your own sanity.  But just go for it.  And know that I am here rooting for you.  God is rooting for you.  And all of Heaven is rooting for you.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ~Hebrews 11:1

Crib 2

Crib 3Crib 6

Final Crib

 


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Tales of Fostering

Tales of Fostering: Waiting in the Courthouse

As I sat in the crowded waiting area of the courthouse, I watched as others paced the floor with fear and anxiety. I saw the worry deepen with each step they took. And every time the bailiff would come out to call the next case, everyone would stop…but then quietly resume if it wasn’t their turn.

As I watched them, I slowly felt myself change. My heart began skipping beats. My stomach started twisting in knots. My palms became sweaty as my body temperature increased. And the peace I had worked so hard to obtain in the days leading up to this court date, were gone. And the calmness I once felt as I walked up the courthouse stairs, had vanished. And in its place settled anxiety and fear.

I found myself playing different scenarios in my head. Scenarios of what might happen when it was our turn to go and listen to the decisions others would make for our foster child. Scenarios of how I might feel and what my home might sound like if she is placed with someone else. And once those scenarios played like a movie reel in my mind, panic set in. The worrying intensified. And I began to pace the floor with the others. I begged God to come quickly so that He may whisper words of wisdom in the ears of the judge. And also into the ears of the lawyers, as well as her parents.

I even silently begged Him to protect her.

But as I begged, and then doubted if my begging was good enough, or if my prayers were being heard over the others, I remembered Psalm 112:7 which says, “He will have no fear of bad news; for his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord.”

And as I nervously walked around in circles, I repeated it again. He will have no fear of bad news; for his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord. And again. He will have no fear of bad news; for his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord. And again. He will have no fear…And again. He will have no fear…

And in the midst of my mantra, her name was called.

It was finally our turn.

As we made our way into the courtroom, my legs felt like wet spaghetti noodles. My hands were shaking as I tried to hold open the door. And my breathing? I couldn’t. But in the 23 minutes in which I sat there, shaking like a leaf and listening to everyone discuss the best interest of the child, God showed His character and His faithfulness. He proved that He can be trusted. And He proved His love once again for this little girl.

As the court adjourned and we were on our way home, I wondered why I was worried if I believed in His word. What did I have to fear if my trust was Him. Why did I feel the need to beg? Or keep begging? Or doubt? Or better yet, wonder if my prayers were only reaching the beautiful ceiling of the courtroom?

I didn’t.

Because He was there. He was already with us. And He had already gone before us and made a way. His words had already been whispered. His hand was already protecting. He was in control. And so there was nothing to fear.  No reason to pace the floor. Or walk in circles. Or stop breathing.

Looking back, the only scenarios I needed to play in my mind while waiting for our turn, were the ones I had already been playing before I allowed fear to set in and panic to take over. They were the ones in which I would be coming home and cooking her a warm meal. And the ones in which I would be snuggling with her while watching Bambi before giving her a bubble bath. And the ones where I would be reading her a Bible story and kissing her forehead before tucking her safely into bed. And my friend, those were the exact scenarios that played out in my home tonight. And I owe it all to Him.

Now if I can only remember His faithfulness (and to breathe) at our next court date…


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Tales of Fostering

I Always Thought I Knew What a Good Mommy Was

It was a one year ago tonight, at just before 6pm when a little girl with the softest blonde curls and sweetest smile walked into my home and nestled her way into my heart.  I never knew how hard being a Mommy was until that night.  I never knew how many times I would have to bite my tongue or pray the same prayer over and over.  It’s the one that goes something like this… “Lord, give me patience.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love being the Momma that God has called me to be for this sweet princess right now, but it’s still hard. Like really hard.  On most days everything seems to go smoothly and I feel like I am that “good mommy.”  We are all happy while playing, giggling and singing “Let it go” for the one millionth time all while squishing Play-Doh together or scribbling in her coloring books.  But then there are moments…okay…days in which I think I am letting everyone down.  Days where I feel like I don’t have it all together and I am the worst Momma ever.  Days when I am exhausted and overwhelmed.  And days when I find myself barricaded in our bedroom and hiding in the closet just trying to find some peace and quiet while quickly eating a chocolate candy bar so that I don’t have to share a bite.

And it’s usually on those days, while sitting there in our closet, squished behind the sweaters and sitting next to the jeans that I start questioning not only myself, but also God. I ask Him why. Why did He pick me to foster and care for this precious little girl? I can’t possibly be a “good Mommy”.  Because let’s face it, my lack of patience, quick temper, and inconsistencies (no you can’t eat in the living room…okay, eat in the living room) are definite downfalls.   And I don’t even want to admit to you how many times I have seen the sweet high school teenager in the drive thru window at McDonald’s or asked for extra napkins while grabbing the box of chicken strips at Dairy Queen this week.  And if you only knew how many dinners have consisted of hotdogs and frozen pizza in the last several months while sitting in front of the television, you would squirm.  And probably shake your finger.

eating McDonalds

I hate to also admit that I have been that Momma who is always last to pick up their child from school and I can’t ever seem to remember the treat bags for parties, money for the pictures and yearbook, or the days that everyone is to wear red at gymnastics class.  And her Christmas program?  We were late.  And I forgot to purchase her a new outfit.  What kind of mother sends their kid on stage in an old dress that looked like it came from the 1990s?  Me.  I did that.  And I cringed during the entire program as she stood next to the other little girls in their new sparkly shoes and fancy Christmas bows.

But it’s funny because before she made me a Mommy, I thought I would be that good and perfect Momma that had it all together. I thought I knew exactly how a child should or shouldn’t behave and never in a million years would MY child throw a fit in Target or have the audacity to stomp their foot and tell me no. I even had myself convinced that when I became a Mommy, every breakfast would be wholesome and organic while every lunch and dinner would consistently include a vegetable.  And forget them at school? What kind of mother would do that?  Not me.  I was also going to make sure their outfits were never wrinkled, their shoes always polished and their hair perfectly in place.

pouting in target

But I have learned something in the twelve short months since she stepped foot into our home, nestled her way into my heart and made me a Mommy. I have learned that while all of those things and attitudes are good, they do not make a good mommy.  Because being a good mommy has less to do with the lists of do’s and don’ts.  It has less to do with the correct amount of vegetables on their child’s plate or how well they behave in the grocery store.  It has less to do with how many crafts they complete together in a week or how much laundry she gets done in one day.  And a good mommy isn’t someone who never forgets, never runs out of energy, or always has an endless amount of patience.

No friend, it is so much more.  Because being a “good mommy”  has more to do with how she loves without condition and serves her family without limits.  It is about how she keeps trying to do better even when she messes up.  It is about how she continually pours out her heart and energy despite being exhausted and feeling overlooked.  And good mommies are also those women who lovingly create a home with lots of laughter and hugs.  It’s a place where mistakes are met with grace and their children feel comfortable as they grow in confidence to be themselves.  Good mommies also make their children feel safe.  And secure.   And good mommies give.  They give it all and expect nothing in return.

Christmas 2014

So on the days where I find myself hiding in the closet, I realize that while I may not be perfect and I struggle to get it all right, God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave me this precious child to foster. He knew that despite the hard days, lack of nutritious meals or trendy outfits, as well as the moments when I mess up or don’t get it all just right, I am still a good mommy.  And if you are a Momma reading this today, may these words remind you that God picked you for a reason.  He knew exactly what He was doing when He gave you those sweet babies of yours to love and nurture.   He knew that you weren’t going to be perfect.  He knew that you would mess up, forget and struggle to get it all right.  But He also knew that you would still be a good mommy.  Which you certainly are.

And to my sweet friends who are reading this right now and who are still waiting patiently to kiss those precious cheeks of the child God has for you, may you also never forget the true definition of a good mommy.  Because when you do become a mommy and you start feeling overwhelmed and not good enough, remember that good mommies don’t always have it all together.  They will fall behind on the laundry, forget important events, and hand their kids a snack sized bag of gold fish for breakfast while running late to school.  And may you always know that all good mommies will at some point find themselves hiding in the closet…or the bathroom…or the laundry room eating a chocolate candy bar.

With Love


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Soul Food

What Your Heart Needs to Hear When You Are Afraid

 

“Okay sugars, get settled down and crawl underneath the covers. It’s time to go to sleep.” Immediately the giggling stopped and her body language changed as she looked up at me and said, “But its dark outside. I don’t like the dark.” 

Hearing the worry and fear in her voice, I pulled the covers up and underneath her tiny chin, only to notice it start to quiver. Unable to find the right words, I try to convince her that everything will be okay. I remind her that Daddy and I are here, as well as Jesus, and together we will protect her.

Unsure if my words would be enough, I slowly walked towards the door, and as I did, I heard her sigh and say once more, “But I don’t like the dark.”  Heartbroken and feeling helpless, I looked back and said, “I know sugars; but soon, when you least expect it, the sun will come and a new day will be here. It’s a promise. Until then, I am here to protect you. So close your eyes and get some rest.” 

While turning out the light, I heard her say once more in a soft, quiet whisper, “Mommy? I still don’t like the dark.”

Realizing I was unable to quiet her fears, I slowly walked out of her room and closed the door. I continued my nightly routine of picking up the toys, wiping down the kitchen counter, and turning out the lights before passing by her room once more and pressing my ear against the door. Hoping to hear the sounds of a sleeping child, I instead heard her toss and turn before letting out yet another deep sigh.  Feeling helpless, I closed my eyes, dropped my shoulder and leaned up against the door.

She had only ten more hours until the sun would rise once again and she could play. Only ten more hours until she would feel safe again. It was only ten more hours; but to her, it felt like an eternity.

I walked away and down the hallway that night trying to figure out what was so terrifying about the dark.  Maybe she had a bad experience? Perhaps she just felt alone? Or maybe it’s just a typical childlike fear? 

But as I sat on the edge of my bed, trying to come up with reasons and possible solutions, I realized we are all afraid of the dark. Our “dark” just might look like something else.

And that “something,” whatever it might be, is the one thing that keeps us up at night.

It causes us to whisper words of fear and worry; makes us uncomfortable and unable to relax. It causes us to toss and turn. And it makes our chin quiver.

You know what your “something” is don’t you?

But friend, I want you to listen carefully to my heart and let my words soak into your soul because I have faith to believe that it’s going to be okay. You are going to be okay. It won’t always be this hard. It won’t always feel this overwhelming, or painful, or stressful or even difficult. The moments of sadness and uncertainty won’t always be around. The struggles you find yourself in will not last forever.

They won’t.

They can’t.

So sweet friend, I don’t know what has brought you to my safe place with my heart written out for you in words, but I want you to have hope. Hope to believe that relief is on the way. Because there is one thing I know to be true and that is life has a way of always moving forward. Clocks have a way of continuing to tick. Calendars seem to always flip. And just as the night seems unbearably long, yet always ends in dawn; so will the troubles you find yourself in at this moment.

Therefore today, this afternoon, or later tonight, when fear takes over and your chin starts to quiver, and tears slowly begin to form in your eyes, and you find yourself quietly whispering, “I don’t like the dark;” I want you to know that your Heavenly Father is standing at the door of your heart calmly whispering back, “I know sugars, but soon, when you least expect it, My Son will come and a new day will be here. It’s a promise. Until then, I am here to protect you. So close your eyes and get some rest.” 

With Love

I would love to get connected with you on a more personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on, then click here to find Waiting for Baby Bird on Facebook. Or come hang out with me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird.


If you are looking for a faith-based infertility community of other women who just “get it”, then head over to the *PRIVATE* Waiting for Baby Bird Support group for hope + encouragement. There you will find opportunities to ask for prayer, watch *LIVE* encouragement videos from me, author of “Waiting for Baby Bird”, as well as be able to share your heart with others on the same path, enter into exclusive giveaways, and so much more! So what are you waiting for? Find us here!