What I Learned About Coming Unglued

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I have a confession to make.

I often come Unglued. I have raging inner emotions that explode at the worst times. I yell at my toddler. I snap out at my dog. And I stuff things away to later retaliate and throw at my husband.

It’s extremely hard for me to admit this. I have an intense amount of pride in regards to my emotions. I don’t like to admit that I have emotions, good or bad. I don’t like to cry. (I’m an ugly cryer when it happens.) I don’t get overly excited. It’s sometimes joked about with my family that I have no emotions.

Then I got married. EMOTIONS. Then I had a baby. MEGA EMOTIONS. I suppose part of it is that I’ve allowed myself to soften a little when it does come to emotional events. One of the reasons I was sure about my husband being the one for me, was the fact that he made me feel. I actually teared up at our wedding. Partly because he did too.

Five years later our Little Man arrives and I’m just all over the place. Most of it I account to being hormonal. Again, I don’t like to admit to my emotions. But honestly, I should be feeling all the feels when it comes to my baby. (Part of me is turning up my nose at that last sentence.)

Ok. So, it’s out now. I have emotions. Most of those emotions are positive. I am SO in love with my husband (yes, he drives me crazy, but it wouldn’t be as interesting if he didn’t). And I am head over heels with my little boy. I try not to spoil him but it’s hard to resist because he is SO cute and SO sweet. Most of the time.

That’s where I have problems. On those occasions when sweet-little-toddler isn’t being so sweet, my raw emotions will appear. And not the good ones. I alluded to my struggles and what I was overcoming after the first year of motherhood. But I have continued to struggle frequently with my buttons being pushed, an explosion, guilt,  regret, and tears. And sometimes a complete breakdown with a phone call to my husband telling him I. Just. Can’t. Anymore.

Then I found Unglued. It’s a popular Christian Living book by Lysa TerKeurst. One that I would not have picked up (because of my pride), if it were not for my small Bible Study with a couple of good friends. We went through this book together and learned a lot about dealing with raw emotions and how to make wise decisions in the midst of them.

Unglued

Lysa describes in this book the process of imperfect progress. I can try as much as I can to not explode when crisis hits, but I truly need God’s help to be in control of how I react.  I must be regularly filled with his Spirit and keep his Word in my mind. I won’t always react with grace and gentleness at first, but a step forward and a half step back is still progress.

She helped me discover that God created our emotions as indicators, not dictators. When negative emotions come boiling up I don’t have to let them control who I am. I can use them to identify an insecurity, weakness, or area of pain in my life. Realizing why I’m having raw emotions in a situation gives me the ability to grow and progress toward a more Christ-like attitude.

The one thing that stood out the most through reading Unglued, is the importance of taking a Sabbath. God knew we needed time off from the cares of our daily life. Time to clear our minds and put specific focus on Him.

Taking time to set aside the to-do list, forget about the laundry, and solely allow yourself time to focus on God, is life changing. We need to be filled with his Spirit and we need to allow God’s strength to revive our souls. Letting go of the demands of our busy lives for a day, an afternoon, or an extended quiet time is so important.

I’m not talking about just a daily moment with God in prayer or reading the Bible. That is important and sometimes difficult for a mom with young children. But a set aside time during the week or weekend to really rest in God’s comfort. This may mean escaping the house for an hour while your spouse takes care of the children. And not to shop or run errands, but to just sit in God’s presence.

Or maybe you have the ability to spend an entire afternoon or day with God. It will look different for everyone depending on your season of life. The thing to remember is to take a Sabbath. Allow yourself the time and freedom to just rest.

Currently for me, I can take a Sabbath on the weekend during my little one’s nap. I set aside my list of things to do and rest. Sometimes it’s reading Scripture, and sometimes its coloring and reflecting on life and praying. (Coloring is amazingly relaxing.) I make it happen and it does wonders.

Lysa TerKeurst quote

Giving myself time to take a break from the demands of life, daily reading Scripture (even a verse or two), and opening myself to God’s wisdom has changed the frequency of my unglued moments. I’m realizing why I’m feeling the way I am and am learning to put a stop to the outbursts before the happen.

I don’t need to label myself as a “yeller” or “terrible mom”. I am a child of God and I can be like him, full of grace and gentleness.

Another thing I learned through reading Unglued, is that I am not alone in this. Everybody has emotions! I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. God gave them to us. He uses them to teach us why we need his grace and how we can extend that to others.

If this is something you realize you are dealing with, you are not alone. Pick up Lysa’s book and read about how you can make wise choices when your emotions are out of control. I recommend it for anyone that has emotions. Which is everybody, including me, apparently. (And yes, I did cry when my little sister was trying on wedding dresses. Don’t tell anyone.)

What happens when you come unglued?


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What I Learned in the First Year of Motherhood

What I learned in the first year of motherhood

My baby is turning one!

I cannot believe how fast this year has gone. Of course they all say it goes by fast, but you never realize it until the year has come and gone. It seems slow in the moment with the long nights, the fussy days, and the endless rocking, soothing, feeding, changing, chasing. And then bam! A year is gone. Wow!

I remember those last really uncomfortable days of being pregnant. I felt like a whale. And I kind of looked like one too, when I glance back at photos…ahem!

The big day finally arrived. (You can read the story here if you’d like!) Such a whirlwind of joy and pain and emotions! I’m not the sappy type, but I can tell you that there is nothing like bringing a life into the world. It changes you.

It seems that motherhood and parenting is not only to raise up a child, but also to learn a lot about yourself.

  • You learn that it is pointless to change your shirt more than once in a day.
  • You are ok with sniffing unidentifiable moisture to find out if it’s a serious contaminate or not.
  • You find out that you can go a week without brushing your teeth and they won’t fall out.
  • You discuss poop as a normal topic of dinner conversation.
  • You discover how many song lyrics you actually know (or don’t know).
  • You learn a lot about how much you need God’s grace.

It is a true test of patience to tend to a baby! I know God brought my little man into the world for many wonderful reasons. One of those reasons is to teach me how much I need Grace.

The first couple of months of sleep deprivation and tending to the every need of a newborn baby are to be expected. It was hard but I expected it to be hard. I knew he needed me and I was happy to do all I could to meet those needs.

But after some time of sacrificing sleep, personal time, regular showers, and complete meals, I began to grow weary and restless. I was often conflicted between taking time to rest when my little one was sleeping or using that time to work around the house. I quickly realized how uptight I was about the dishes and keeping the house straightened.

As the inner conflict of needing to do chores and tending to my baby grew, I began to often be frustrated. I got frustrated when he took a long time to fall asleep and then would wake as soon as I put him down. I got frustrated when he would seem to cry unceasingly. I got frustrated when I had to change his diaper again, feed him again, rock him again. It’s a never ending cycle!

Then I reached a moment when I realized I can’t do this. I can’t rock him another moment. I can’t change another diaper. I can’t soothe his tears. I can’t do it!

Not alone anyway. Not even with the support of my husband. I needed God’s strength to get through the tough days. He has enough strength to help me through my weariness. And his strength is never ceasing.

Over this past year I have learned a whole new meaning to being dependent on God. Now, when I reach those moments of not being able to just-even-one-more-time, I grit my teeth and ask for strength. And it helps. I get through the moment and move on.

Dylan-those eyes-small

One thing I’ve said all along this journey of babyhood is that “he’s only this little once.” And that is so true. This helps me to savor every little sweet moment. It also helps me to get past the difficult ones.

  • He won’t always need me to rock him to sleep, but while he does I need to treasure it.
  • He won’t always need me to feed him, but while he does I need to enjoy it.
  • He won’t always need me to change his diaper, but while he does…hmm…well I’ll keep on doing it anyway.

In addition to learning to be more dependent on God’s strength, I have also learned that I am greatly in need of his grace. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve yelled at my baby. In some of those intense moments of frustration when I just couldn’t take another cry or another second of attempting to get him to sleep, I have lost it.

I have had to ask my little child for forgiveness many times. I have had to ask my Savior for his grace and mercy. I hate that I’ve struggled with this particularly. I don’t want to be a mom with a temper that yells. And yet I have failed multiple times. And every time I feel guilty and torn up and not cut out to be a mom.

But God.

My temper and frustration worked hand in hand at keeping me away from being the mom that I wanted to be. As I realized though my frustration that I needed to be dependent on God’s strength, I also realized that I needed to be grateful for his grace and mercy. I had to give up my actions to him and let go of the guilt.

I will make mistakes as a mom. I won’t always have the right attitude or reaction. I can’t be perfect. Only Christ is perfect. And in his perfection he came and died for my sins. He came that I might live. And that I might live abundantly. Part of the abundant joy he gives is the blessing of a child.

Reconciling my shortcomings and asking God to cover me with his grace, gives me the ability to start a new day, a new hour, a new moment. And in that newness I have found freedom again. I have learned to let go of some of my tasks. My list is not as important as my baby. (For some of us that is easy to say but not so easy to do!)

I don’t think my lessons in life have ended now that this first year of motherhood is over. It’s only beginning! I know there will be other aspects of mothering that will test me and put me through the fire. I can only hope that I going through the ups and downs of mothering, that I will display what a walk with Christ is like.

I want my son to know that no one is perfect, but we have a perfect Savior. I want him to know that the good things in life are a reflection of Christ and God’s beauty. I want him to know that he can always depend on God. I want him to know and experience God’s love for himself.

And now that I have spilled my heart I hope you can learn something from it too. I think being a mom has made me a little bit sappy, but more often it makes me smile. There is no greater joy than wrestling on the floor, tickling my little boy, and making him laugh. (I promise I’m not crying as I write this. Okay. Maybe I am just a little.)

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