Is Your Heart Overwhelmed?

UNDAUNTED    This has been one heck of a week. And today, what is really on my heart is “Thank God it’s Sunday. This week is OVER!” Monday is a day to start fresh and kick butt coming right out the shoot. And while I like to think that’s exactly what I’m going to do, my heart is overwhelmed. I AM OVERWHELMED.

Between being wife, mom, a boutique owner, a youth worship leader, a blogger,  now that my license transfer from another state is FINALLY complete after 3 months of chaos, a REALTOR, this week got to me. Especially since it ended with me having a severe bladder infection and the baby a serious case of strepthroat. I. AM. EXHAUSTED.

I’ve been stealing away little pieces of time where I could this week to read and spend time with God- which MUST be the only reason I’m still sane. The book I’m reading (and have been reading for approximately one month due to my having to hide in order to read it for two whole minutes….MOM LIFE, YO!) is Christine Caine’s UNDAUNTED. The wisdom in this book is incredible, inspiring, and undeniable God-inspired. (Christine, if you’re reading this, I’m your number 1 fan. For real. My middle name is even Christine, which happened without my knowledge, but I’m SURE it’s a sign that we are destined to be besties. Call me!)

Something I saw while reading it this week that God apparently packed away in my mind until this precise moment when I feel like I’m going to explode is this:

Psalm 61:2.

Got it? Ok.

For as long as I can remember, it’s be like this: “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” And that sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But, that’s actually completely out of context. So, in , I saw the whole verse, which reads like this: “From the end of the earth will I cry unto you, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I”.  Both say pretty much a similar thing. What I love is that when we read it in context, we see the psalmist saying, “God, I am at the ends of the earth, the end of my wits, pouring out my heart to you and it’s overwhelmed. LEAD ME! LEAD ME to a higher place I cannot see or reach on my own!”

And you know what? That is exactly what he does. He brings things to our remembrance (that we read days ago and haven’t thought about since) time we need them. Today, I have cried out, at wit’s end, overwhelmed, and he has brought me to a place of peace, which was so much more than I could achieve on my own in these chaotic moments. He listens. He hears. He wants to lead you to that place.

When you’re feeling as if you’re at the ends of the earth and you can’t go any further, cry out to him. He will set your feet on higher ground. Because He is good. HE IS.

Love to my loves,

Cate

 

To The Mama of The Kid in the Gorilla Cage

Oh, sweet mama. There are no words to express how glad the nation is that your sweet baby is ok. The fear you must have felt watching your baby fall that far into an enclosed area with a giant animal must have been immeasurable. The relief when you knew he was going to be okay must have been overwhelming.

I know it must have been simultaneously gut wrenching and relieving when the animal was shot and killed- on one hand, a beautiful animal’s life was taken in an effort of precaution because no one knew what may have happened, on the other hand, your child’s life was being spared.

I pray I never have to endure anything like that.

And you’re taking a lot of criticism in a moment when you should only have to be grateful for your child’s life. Many have ranked you lower than the gorilla in their thinking when they’ve made these ugly comments.

But, I will not.

As the mama of two littles, ages two and four, I know how hard it is. I know the fear of Looking up and not being able to see my kid in a crowded room. I have a runner. My four-year-old, who is typically very obedient, is also very high-strung. And if she gets a wild hair, she will take off running, which always ends in us both panicking. I know the fear of being a mother and constantly wondering if the child is alright or needs anything or is thinking of breaking the rules even when I’m standing right there. I know the anxiety of lying awake at night wondering if all the windows are locked. I know the worry that if I turn around for a moment, say at the zoo, to give the two-year-old a goldfish cracker, my kid might fall into the tiger cage, or the gorilla pen.
But for you, mama, all those fears came to pass. Your baby’s life flashed before your eyes. Your heart stopped and did not restart until he was safe in your arms again.

LISTEN TO ME:

Parenting is HARD. You have two hands when you need three hands per child. I don’t know if you were alone at the zoo or how many kids you had with you or what you were doing at the time. What I do know is this: what happened was a FREAK ACCIDENT. It does not define you. It doesn’t define whether or not you’re a good mother. It does not define your parenting skills.

Look to Jesus for all that.

I get judged and ugly comments because I put my kid on one of those backpack kid leashes. You get horribly harassed and kicked when your down because you didn’t and you may have turned your head. You can’t win with this world, mama. You just can’t.

The world can call you what they want. They can judge you and be ugly.

But here’s what Jesus says:

-You are worthy. (John 3:16)

-He uses your weaknesses to showcase HIS strengths. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

(To learn more about how Jesus overcomes our shortcomings and how to LET HIM, check out my FAVORITE book I’ve read this year HERE.)

-He gives you grace when you need it most. (Hebrews 4:16)
I know you’re holding onto your baby tightly tonight. Just know, as tightly as you hold him, Jesus is holding you both tighter.

From one mama to another, IT IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.

❤️

I desperately hope this letter finds you.

Cate
For more Mary From Martha, like us on Facebook HERE!

 

 

 

Finding Joy In The Presence of God

    Over the past few days, things have been crazy on our end. A blog post that I never expected to go “viral” did and in three days had 1.8 million views. Due to it being a heated topic, the ugliness rolled in along with it- death threats, name calling, hatred, people who do not know me assassinating my character. And so much more support, kindness, and encouragement from followers of God. 

     The first day completely overwhelmed me. Not only was I anxious because of the influx of messages, emails, comments, and views, but I was on a 12-hour drive to my brother’s military graduation, having left behind with a family member our daughters- one of whom ended up having a stomach virus all weekend. Overwhelmed. 

It’s funny how in the midst of trials God will speak to us and gives comfort. So, I put my phone down and stopped checking notifications for a bit. I turned on some worship music and BAM. 

Overwhelmed by the world turned into overwhelmed by God’s mercy. Anxious about leaving behind a sick baby turned into thankful for His stripes that give her healing. Afraid that so many people were seeing me turned into happy that through seeing me and some of my posts, people might see HIM. 

He is never too far. YOU are never too far. He is only a thought, a silent prayer, a moment of worship away because He promised to NEVER leave or forsake us. 

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, who you’ve been, in His presence there is redemption. In His blood, there is salvation. There is healing. And He will comfort you, just as He has me, when you ask Him to and rely on Him for it. 
Love to my loves,

Cate     

An Open Letter to Target: Regarding your New Restroom Policy

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a woman. I am a frequent shopper in your stores. I am first and foremost a mother. Your recent change in policy of who you allow to use each restroom concerns me. You stated in your blog post, “We believe that everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally.” and “…you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target.” As a business owner, I do understand your right to make a stance as a company. As a parent, I will never understand why you would trade the safety of our women and children for the sake of not hurting  feelings.

I realize that everyone needs to feel accepted, loved, and wanted. I know the struggles of a person struggling to find their identity. I also know that as of September 2012, a Gallup poll showed that approximately 3.4% of Americans identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. If, for argument’s sake, we assume that those groups are of equal representation in that number, that would indicate that of the American population, only 0.85% of Americans identify as transgender.

Let’s also look at other statistics, taken from RAINN.ORG:

1 in 6 women will be the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

1 in 9 girls under 18 have REPORTED being the victim of sexual assault.

1 in 53 boys under 18 have REPORTED being the victim of sexual assault.

These numbers factor out to being 16.67% of women, 11.11% of girls, and 1.89% of boys.

If anyone is allowed to “claim” an identity of a gender not their own, they will have unlimited access to anyone they so choose. A woman could claim to “identify as a man” and YOUR little boy could become 1 in 9 in an instant. A man could claim to “identity as a woman” and have instant access to myself and my daughters. BAM. I am 1 in 6 and my little girls are 1 in 9.

You have taken the FEELINGS of LESS THAN ONE PERCENT of our population into account  and in one swift statement told the entire country that the safety of our vulnerable women and children is of no concern to you or your staff.

I have questions:

How can you ensure that the people entering the restrooms of the opposite gender are, indeed, of the “gender persuasion” they are currently claiming to identify with?

Are you willing to send your wives and daughters into a restroom that is occupied by another man and trust that he is who he says he is? How about your son with a  woman?

How should I handle an instance where my two and four year olds see a man’s private parts and I have to explain a) why she saw his genitals and b) why is in a women’s restroom long before they should ever have to consider such adult matters?

And, lastly:

WHY are you willing to forego the physical safety of the many to appease the internal struggle of the few?

I’ve never “boycotted” a company based on political views. However, I will refuse to use a company for the safety of my children.

Target, you have lost a loyal customer because you have betrayed my trust. My children’s safety comes first.

To see where I stand on the struggle of transgender individuals, I ask that you read THIS. And please know, I love you. Jesus loves you. 

This letter isn’t a statement in fear of Transgenders. It is a worry of people who are NOT claiming they ARE. ❤️
To hear my latest interview on BroadsCas regarding this subject and post, click HERE.

Cate
For more Mary From Martha, check us out  on Facebook HERE.

Due to some very ugly comments and this being a heated topic, I have turned the comments feature off.

 

My Thoughts On Unmonitored Transgender Bathroom Access

You’re right. I have NO idea what it’s like to struggle with my gender identity. I basically just looked down and assumed that it was what it was. I’ve never felt like man. I’ve never met a man who felt like a woman. At least not that I know of. 

I know that must be a horrible feeling, a terrible internal struggle filled with confusion and utter fear. And I’m sorry. And I want them the know they have a beautiful identity in Jesus- a divine calling. I want them to  know that their struggle is a lie told by the ultimate deceiver. I want them to know they’re loved unconditionally. I want them to feel ACCEPTED. But I cannot be okay with legislation that is attempting to allow ‘transgender’ people to access any restroom based on “gender identity.” 

The reason is simple: my daughters’ safety is more important than someone’s feelings. 

By no means do I believe that transgendered people have intentions of HURTING people. I honestly believe they are just people who are hurting. But I also believe that someone who wants to hurt people will stop at nothing to do just that. If a bad woman, claiming to be transgendered, could go into a men’s bathroom and possibly hurt your son, who were in there alone, she would. Because the law gives her that right and takes away your son’s right. In the same, any man could claim to “identify as a woman” and have unrestricted access to my little girls in the restroom.

If my daughter hits someone because she FELT angry, she gets in trouble because I value the other child’s safety. No matter how my child FEELS, while her feelings may be valid (or they may not), it is NEVER okay to compromise someone’s safety because she feels something. Ever. 

As adults, we should be able to see this. 

I have an immense love for people who are confused about their identities, their preferences, etc. I feel for them. I can’t imagine the hatred, the disrespect, the outright ugliness that they endure on top of the inner turmoil they experience. And I want more than anything for them to know that Jesus is the only person or thing that can give them the understanding and acceptance they so desperately crave and need (just like we all do!). 

I just can’t exchange my childrens’ safety at the hands of ugly people for the feelings of anyone. 

Love to my loves, Cate

For more Mary From Martha, check us it on Facebook HERE.

Don’t Give Up, Mama. They’re Getting It!

When Adeline was born, many people told me how difficult it is to be a mother– you’ll never get any sleep, you’ll never pee alone, you’ll never get time alone with your husband again, you’re basically grounded for the next 18 years. It was what every new mother wanted to hear. 

     In reality, I had given birth to a baby girl who slept through the night from night two, never had any dietary issues, and pretty much just went right along with everything. She adapted to our lifestyle without much fuss. Now, because she was a baby, there were nights she wouldn’t sleep, there was the infamous “I’m almost two and if I have to be in this car seat I’m going to make you regret it the ENTIRE car ride!” screaming phase, but for the most part, the child was the easiest kid to ever walk the earth.

As a two-year-old, we didn’t have many public outbursts, she was a very happy child, sassy-of course-, but primarily easy-going. Obviously, it was all because of my incredible parenting skills and the fact that I excel at everything I do, so my kid must, also, right? What an awesome parent I was.  

And then she turned three. 

This perfect, my-kid-NEVER-acts-like-that-in-public parent was hit in the face with the Mack Truck of the strong-willed child. However strong my will was, believe me, hers was stronger. The fits began- no, no. Not just the “I want a cookie and you said NO.” fits. More like the “APOCALYPSE HAS STARTED AND IT WILL NOT STOP UNTIL I GET A DANG COOKIE AND I KNOW YOU’LL DO ANYTHING TO SHUT ME UP! LOOK, KROGER SHOPPERS! I HAVE A SNOTTY NOSE AND MY MOM WONT GIVE ME A COOKIE AND SHE FEELS LIKE A FAILURE AND IM JUST SCREEEEEEEAAAAAAAAMMMMMMIIINNNNGGG!” fit.  Parenting Self-righteousness? Gone. 

There were fits about EVERYTHING. What underwear to put on. How to wear said underwear. Why we don’t dive head first off furniture. Why we don’t break things. The hard part was that this child, however strong-willed and difficult it was to parent during that year, was the same child that immediate preceding and following the fit was (AND STILL IS) good-natured, good-hearted, sweet, smart, ridiculously hilarious, and the life of any party. My smart, strong-willed child WANTED to be obedient. She WANTED to listen. But she also wanted her own way and couldn’t seem to control her need to do what she wanted. Because she was three. 

 We tried every pre bring trick in the book, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, spanking (yes, we spank. Sorry, not sorry!), reward charts, ignoring (that was laughable), you name it, we tried it. And failed. Miserably. 

For over a year, we couldn’t figure out what we could do to possibly help this child see she NEEDED to be obedient for safety purposes. So, I prayed. 

Lord, did I pray.

I prayed she would be obedient to me so I could teach her to be obedient to God. I prayed for wisdom in how to deal with her strong will and her fragile heart. I prayed for myself, that I would BE the obedient daughter to God that I wanted her to learn to be. And I made sure she saw and heard me praying. I prayed over every little scrape and booboo. I prayed over our attitudes, I prayed over our dinners and our days. It was all I knew to do. It was my last-ditch effort. 

This incredibly good-hearted, delightful child is now four-and-a-half. We haven’t had a tantrum in about three months now.

I wasn’t sure if she had been paying attention, though. UNTIL LAST WEEK. 

I had a toothache. A bad one. I was lying in bed and  My husband was putting the girls in their bed, which he never does without me. (He’s fully capable and the best dad EVER, it’s just something we choose to ALWAYS do together.) As I was lying in bed, Adeline came and crawled up into my bed, laid her tiny, perfect little hands on me, and said this: 

“Mommy, the only way you’ll feel better is if we pray. Thank you, God, for this day. Thank you for blessing us and keeping us safe and thank you that Mommy was healed by the stripes of Jesus. In Jesus name. Amen.” 

It was then that I knew she heard me. She saw me. And she was getting it. 

Be still, my heart. This child, this baby who made me a mommy, this ex-pro tantrum thrower, is going to do incredible things for her Father in this lifetime. And, mama, SO WILL YOURS. 

JUST KEEP ON TRUCKING. They’re getting it. 
Love to my loves, 

Cate

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When Mama is Needed in the Middle of the Night

Today, Superman and I spent ALL DAY packing and loading a moving truck. Tomorrow, we begin a new adventure. Or an old adventure again, however you want to look at it. We are moving back to Mississippi. 

For twelve hours today, the two of us packed, moved out, and cleaned a house while my grandmother kept our girls. Since everything we own is in a truck, we decided to stay the night at my grandma’s house. So, we brought our air mattress and descended upon the formal living area, all four of us. 

We made up a couch for the girls and figured they’d be fine since we were in there with them and they sleep together. Ah, yes. We will get a good night’s rest tonight, close on the house tomorrow, and drive our happy selves to good ole Mississippi. 

We were naive enough to think it would just be that easy. 

We knew better. 

Here’s how the night has actually gone: 

We laid everyone down about 8:45pm. They were sleepy. They talked a bit, they walked a bit. Then the crying commenced. And it didn’t stop. For over two hours Abbie Faith cried and rolled and moved and cried and yelled. Awesome. I put her in bed with her dad and sister (now sleeping on the air mattress) and left the room to sleep in the other living room because Abigail refuses to sleep if I’m around. She’s been like this forever. When Mommy is in the room, forget sleep. So for an hour, I dozed in another room while she napped with Dad and Sister. 

Then, Addie Grace Coughed at precisely 12:04am. And Abbie woke. And then she screamed. And cried and yelled. And then she threw up. Awesome. It was clearly because she was so upset, right?

Cleaned up the kid. Tried to rock her back to sleep, but, alas, no sleep was to be had. So I put her in the truck and drove her around town (FYI: we are about 20 mins from town). When I was about 15 mins from home, Abs pukes again. A lot. In the truck. Wonderful. 

IT IS NOW 2:46AM and I’m awake in my Pawpaw’s recliner with a sleeping baby, afraid to move or breathe. 

BUT…

God gives us grace to handle situations like this when we are sleep-deprived and exhausted from a long day’s work. Tonight, he has replaced my irritation at not sleeping with gratefulness for the snuggles I miss out on when she sleeps in her own room with her sister. He’s replaced my frustration with peace. 

  
It may be a ridiculous time of night, but there is an incredible man snuggling with my big girl in the other room and a sweet, sleepy baby in my lap. I am blessed. 

And starting tomorrow, we get to chase our dreams and His will as a family

On Postpartum Depression: The Girl Who Always Smiles

I’ve always liked to smile. I like what it does to people. I like to see people go from disturbed and frustrated to relaxed and okay because of a smile and a kind word. But you only know what you see. It’s really not your fault. You see me smile and laugh and do my best to encourage others. You see my loving husband, my beautiful little girls, my amazing life. And you are right.

But that’s all you know because it’s all you see.

My constant smile exhausts me. It literally makes me tired. I smile all day to prevent you from seeing what is going on inside that I can’t control. They call it “Postpartum Depression.” But it’s really more like Hell. I can’t control my emotions. I can’t control my outbursts. I can’t control the tears, the rage, the overwhelming guilt. I smile as a prevention, if you will. I’m afraid that if you saw all these things I have a hard time controlling, you’d see me as what I fear I already am: a horrible person or worse- a hypochondriac, a hypocrite just looking for attention.

So I smile.

Meanwhile, my amazing husband holds me while I cry, forgives me while I rage about ridiculous things like entering through the exit, and reminds me that this is temporary and eventually will subside. But twenty months in, I have started to wonder. I fear this isn’t “postpartum” any longer.

While you tell me how you admire how I smile constantly, I think about how I yelled for the hundredth time at my precious four-year-old for doing something four-year-olds do. I think about how many days, I end up a sobbing heap on the floor and can’t explain why. What sweet child should see her mother do these things? Even worse, she wants to be just like me when she grows up and I’m terrified of what that could mean if she is to pick up the behaviors I’ve exhibited over the past two years.

I can’t explain what it’s like to have a great life, to know how great it is, and yet somehow not be able to enjoy it fully. Or what it’s like to feel like a fraud every. single. day. because I fake it. Or to wonder how I can fake it for the outside world, but not for my own husband and kids- the three people in the world who mean the most to me, who I love more than life itself. I can’t explain the feeling of getting in the car after work and crying after having held it together all day, but not knowing why I’m crying. Because I actually feel pretty happy right then.

And I know- it’s technically “hormones being imbalanced.” But I still feel they should have gone back to normal by now. I’m terrified that this is the new normal.

I wish I could understand how I feel. I wish I could just be me again. But, I’m not me. I’m someone I don’t recognize and I certainly don’t like.

I am the girl who always smiles…

 

You Made Me Mommy

I packed up a bag with all of your clothes,

Diapers, blankets and socks for your toes. 

We waited while they made a room free. 

It was time for me to become a Mommy. 
Dad held my hand for 9 hours straight. 

He refused to leave me alone to wait. 

Then here you came with ten little toes, 

Daddy’s eyes and Mommy’s nose. 
You had no hair. Your tongue stuck out. 

Six pounds, seven and one half ounce. 

That moment I looked at our sweet baby

And that was the moment you made me Mommy. 
Your whole first year was an awakening. 

Snuggles, kisses and nighttime feeding. 

Year two we watched as you became you 

Year three I saw some of Daddy in you too.
Year four I see in you so much of me. 

As you grow, I’m amazed at the beauty I see. 

Looking back, I feel that there’s so much I missed 

But I’ve always been here to hug and kiss. 
I thought I knew who God made me to be. 

But I didn’t truly know until you showed me.  

You’ve made me so much I never would be
You were the one who made me Mommy. 

20 Easy Steps to Getting Ready In the Morning- Mom Edition

Being a mama is serious work. But that’s doesn’t mean you have to suffer through not wearing makeup and feeling like a bum. Nope, I’m here to help! 

Here is a step-by-step guide for mamas to get in the mornings. Follow these tips and you’ll be in mom mode in no time! 

Step 1: Decide to put on makeup. 

Step 2: Ask 4-year-old where your makeup is. She just HAD to wear it and look like mommy. It’s now hidden in oblivion. Find it. May the odds be ever in your favor. 

Step 3: Pick out cute clothes for the day. Lay them flat on bed until time to wear them. (If you put them on now, the baby will have you filthy before you leave!)

Step 4: Chase down 4-year-old, take back makeup, threaten to abduct her princess dresses if she lays her grubby hands on the makeup again today. 
Step 5: Why is the one-year-old crying? She crawled onto the bed and can’t get down. Help her down. 

Step 6: Pick out new clothes. Baby just wiped PB&J all over the cute clothes you had lying on the bed. 

Step 7: Change Bra. She wiped PB &J on that, too. 

Step 8: Turn on VeggieTales or Sherriff Callie to occupy tiny humans while you get ready. 

Step 9: Go to bathroom and prepare to put on makeup. 

Step 10: Go back to check on kids. They’re too quiet. It’s suspicious. 

Step 11: Baby saw you. Pick her up and take her with you to bathroom. 

Step 12: Try to put her down. Fail epically. She flails and screams on the floor. 

Step 13: Turn up the A/C. It’s getting hot in here. 

Step 14: Forget to wait and put on clothes.

Step 15: Remember why you didn’t put clothes on. Also remember to wipe PB&J off baby so the mess doesn’t reoccur. Take new dirty clothes off. 

Step 16: Spend 30 mins getting kids dressed and ready. 

Step 16: Still in your underwear, figure out why baby is screaming again. 

Step 17: Check clock. It’s nap time. That’s why she’s crying.  

Step 18: Fill sippy cup with milk, lay baby down for nap. 

Step 19: Realize you’re still naked with a towel on your head and no makeup. 

Step 20: Put on yoga pants and a ponytail and give up looking cute. 

You’re welcome. 

If you don’t have kids yet, you’ll understand later. 
Love to my loves, 

Cate