Growth Tools

Have you ever been going through looking at your history, clearing your mind or looking back at your past and realize there were things you used to rely but don’t anymore? The other day I was clearing out my email. I have literally have like three or four email addresses and there was one that was just full of stuff that needed to be deleted. Anyone else just let their email pile up and completely ignore it, look at it one day and there’s over a thousand emails? No? Just me? LOL. Anyway, as I was deleting the emails I kept seeing receipts for Hinesville Takeout Express and I literally stopped for a moment and laughed. Those emails (and there were some Chic Fil A ones too) reminded me of a time frame when there were days where even attempting cook dinner would be a no. I relied on and was grateful to be able to call in a food order so the kids and I could eat. It was during my husbands deployment and, well, some days that was the best that I could do.

Honestly, I would feel bad about it at times. I’d think to myself “you really just can’t cook a meal today?” or “Today wasn’t that bad you’re just being lazy.” But I now recognize that moment in time there were certain tools I needed to help me maneuver through that particular part of my journey. There were, of course, other tools and other resources that helped during that phase but what I’ve noticed most is what I needed then I no longer need now. When we’re going through life and living through certain experiences we can feel bad for using the things that we need readily at our disposable. I’ve asked myself “Well, why is that?” a couple of times. I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes it’s related to shame. Other times it’s because we want people to think we are strong and needing help makes us feel weak. We can feel like if we tell someone we need help or even open the door for help that it means that we cannot handle the situation at hand.

A common experience I’ve had with military spouses and stay at home moms is wanting support, wanting encouragement but not always knowing how to communicate that. Many of us also don’t always know how to receive it. During my times as a stay at home mom I wanted help, Lord knows I needed it, but I didn’t always want to explain how I wanted to be helped. I needed someone to say “Hey, go read a book a lone.” or “I’ve got the kids just go do whatever you want.” I know so many times I felt bad for wanting to be alone. I felt bad for needing to rely on others. But I look back on that time frame and see so many tools or resources God placed in my path. Whether it was people who randomly encouraged me or came over just to hang with me and the kids or places to take the kids that kept them busy so I would have to spend less time entertaining them, it was exactly what was needed during that time.

Even my time in therapy was a resource that really helped me to maneuver through different, deeply painful experiences. Going to therapy is not something people always openly talk about. Once again, for some, shame comes into play here. Initially, starting therapy was not something I wanted a lot of people to know about. I’ll be honest in saying that for many years I thought therapy was only for people with really serious issues or people who had mental issues. I think that many people still feel this way and it’s attributed to lack of knowledge. I’ve heard people say that they don’t want someone in their head, in their business, telling them what to do all the time. But it’s not about that. It’s about growth and learning about yourself. Therapy can teach you to work through your thoughts and issues, learning to trouble shoot and mostly learning to accept who you are. Therapy was a tool that helped me realize my pain, my issues, whatever I was struggling through didn’t define me.

As I grow, and continue to grow, I’ve learned that there were certain things I needed that helped me but weren’t a permanent part of my journey. I’ve learned not to be ashamed of how those resources were brought to me and how God used them to help me make it to the other side. If it wasn’t for other military spouses who had been through or were going through deployments, I wouldn’t have had the outlet I needed. I wouldn’t have had someone who understood where I was at and who could help encourage me or even to remind me that I can make it. It’s always nice to connect with something or someone that reminds you that where you are won’t last forever. If it wasn’t for the stay at home moms that I encountered during those periods in my life I wouldn’t know that it’s normal to want to hide, to cry, to not want to have to be with your kids sometimes, or to be so unbelievably overwhelmed somedays that you just wanted to run away. I also wouldn’t know that it gets better as they grow and become more independent. Having other moms that I could relate to and talk through these moments with was invaluable.

And seriously if it was not for the option to even order take out for my kids and I during some really rocky days I’m not sure how those days would have ended. Probably with us eating cereal, which, hey, that’s still a meal if you ask me! But it wasn’t so much about the cooking. At times, we can look at situations and not see the feelings or meanings behind why certain things are needed. There are some things you don’t always want to have to think about. There are moments when all you’re thinking is “What’s the simplest way to resolve this so that I can move on to things my attention needs to be focused on?” And sometimes after a very long day full of work, appointments, errands and kid things such as homework or extracurricular activities you need to have something subtracted from the list of things to do. For me, on some days, that was Hinesville Takeout Express or Chic Fil A! So to tie all of this together, if you’re in a season of life where you’re feeling like you’re having to rely on friends, therapy, or whatever else is helping you push through your days, don’t be ashamed. Don’t hide behind those feelings and allow yourself to feel like there’s something wrong with needing something to help you.

We all need help sometimes. But I challenge you to look back. Don’t linger there too long but look back at maybe a phase you just finally moved out of and look at who was there or what was there. Examine what helped pull you through to the new phase and then give yourself a pat on the back for moving out of a space where maybe those same things are not necessary anymore. You grew. You learned. You survived. You acquired life long lessons that helped you become a better version of yourself. You added knowledge and wisdom, that God gave to you during those moments, that will not only allow you to continue to be better but will also open the door for you to help someone else. Be proud of choosing not to give up. It’s about taking each day and each moment as it comes, taking the good and the bad and choosing to continue to focus on the good. Be proud that you’re an overcomer. As you move through where God has you right now thank Him that what He’s provided you with is exactly what you need, for now. Because where you’re at won’t last forever. There is definitely light on the other side.

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