This is My Confidence

A little over a week ago I was sitting in my living room while Malcolm was putting MJ to bed. We’ve learned that MJ loves listening to music as he falls asleep and periodically we try different songs. On this particular day, Malcolm began playing a new song and as soon as I heard the lyrics my spirit immediately nudged me to stop and listen.

“Your promise still stands; Great is Your faithfulness; Faithfulness; I’m still in Your hands; This is my confidence; You’ve never failed me yet. I’ve seen you move; You move the mountain; And I believe I’ll see You do it again; You made a way; when there was no way; And I believe I’ll see You do it again .”

I stopped and I listened, and as I heard the words, tears began to fall. The past month has been one of the toughest times I dealt with spiritually and emotionally. I’ve been learning to lean into the pain and it has been stretching me. In that moment I was reminded that this pain is worth every groaning. I was reminded that God has moved every mountain that’s ever been in front of me. He kept me through the darkest time of my life. He continues to give me the gift of life each day and I am confident He will do it all again.

Confident?

There’s one line in the song that says, “This is my confidence.” When I say those four little words, an unwavering feeling of uneasiness comes over me. For majority of my life, I’ve lived in a way that was complete opposite of confidence. I lacked confidence. Being secure in myself and my abilities were a challenge. Believing in myself was often non-existent. Instead, I believed a lot of what others thought about me. So saying that I was confident seemed like a challenge at first.

But as I began to meditate on those words, I realized that the confidence I must possess, the confidence that I have access to, is not confidence in myself but rather confidence in the one who created me.

My confidence is that my creator knows me. He created me with my own unique design. Therefore how dare I compare to others. How dare I feel as if I’m not good enough. I’m just the way the creator designed me.

My confidence is that God will defeat the battles for me. Therefore, I confidently go into battle knowing I have the victory and not afraid of whatever comes my way- sickness, disease, hardship , loss, pain- it doesn’t matter. Why? Because I am more than a conqueror.

My confidence is that God is my rock and refuge, I can trust in that. I can rely on Him. I stand on His Word. For when I am weak, He is strong.

You see when I release myself as the focus of my confidence and focus on God and His Word, I’m allowing my life to become more stable, strong and poised.

When I release my desire to do things my way and instead be obedient to the Word of God, I can live in the assurance of my salvation.

When I stop listening to the doubting voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough and instead start listening to the faithful voices that remind me of who I am, I can fully walk in what God has called me to do.

This is my confidence.

Get to Know Joy!

Since beginning this blog 6 weeks ago, I’ve found a greater awareness in the importance of stopping to reflect and it’s been so liberating. Ironically, as someone who has made a pact to be joyfully raw, I’ve been challenged lately with the word joy.

My oldest daughter is preparing to graduate 6th grade and enter middle school and we are looking at different schools for her to attend. I visited one school a little over a week ago and as I sat in the library interacting with one presentation, I heard a question that surprisingly had me stunned.

Presenter: “ Can someone tell us why they think joy is an important value for a child to have at school?”

Me:

I completely went blank. I immediately passed it to the woman sitting next to me. I could not believe I didn’t have an immediate response. I could not believe I couldn’t articulate what joy is. Me, Joyful Jonetta, could not talk about joy!

As I reflected on the moment days later, I wondered what happened. I wondered if I really knew joy. I wondered if I knew what it looked like. Was I able to recognize it? Am I modeling it for my family? Does my family have it? How often am I accessing it? And after a for real search within, I came to a daunting conclusion…

I

don’t

really

know

joy.

Wow!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m familiar with joy. I’ve had great moments of joy. I’ve lived with joy. I know the dictionary definition which means the emotion evoked by well being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires or feeling of great pleasure/happiness.

But…

I desire something deeper and so does Joy.

I desire a close relationship so does Joy.

For all that joy does…for all that joy is…for all that joy brings…we deserve to be connected. It shouldn’t be something that I just say I am. It should be something that I know that I am.

After talking with someone a few days after this revelation, I was reminded of a daily challenge that I participated in with my wonderful neighbor/friend, Cynthia of RawJackson where she challenged herself and others to live 90 days of Happy. During this 90 days, we posted daily in regards to something that we were happy for. It was such a beautiful time and I learned the importance of stopping daily to acknowledge what is around us. It allowed me to develop daily habits that have carried me today.

Life is truly about the daily choices that we make and as I remembered this challenge, I immediately was inspired to challenge myself again. This time in the exploration of joy. I’ve decided I’d like to explore Joy more. I’ve decided I want to Get to Know Joy!

So I’m doing a countdown from today until my birthday : October 16- January 2 of getting to know joy. My goals are to know Joy deeply; to connect with Joy; to understand when and how Joy is accessed; to learn how Joy should be embraced; and to look for Joy everyday.

So over the next two and a half months, I will be connecting with Joy and choosing Joy with a daily intention. On my Instagram page, I’ll be posting my daily interactions with Joy. Here, I’ll be diving deeper in my findings and I look forward to what’s to come. The best part about it, I won’t be doing it alone! I’m inviting you to take this journey with me. Hold me accountable, challenge me, learn with me and let’s all get to know joy. And just like the message inside this lemonade top, accepting this challenge may cause JOY! Are you ready for it? Will you come with me?

Put the Oxygen Mask on First…Do I Have To?

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

Ever flown a plane? If so, then you have definitely heard the words above from flight attendants all over the world. It’s a concept that we have heard so many times and may even have become mundane but what is the importance? Very simply, you can’t help someone else with their breathing if you aren’t breathing yourself.

Through the years people have taken these important instructions and used them as metaphors for life. In general, we are to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves before we can take care of others. Why the reminder? Well, I never quite understood the concept as much until I became a mother. When I became a mother 11 years ago, my role shifted to caretaker. I no longer lived for just myself. I lived for my children giving physical and emotional care and support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Last week I received news that challenged me in this area. My Sjögren’s syndrome (autoimmune disease) is causing an inflammation flare in my body. During my visit, my doctor decided that it was time to put me on some stronger medicine. After hearing her discuss the facts and symptoms of the medicine, I reminded her about my breastfeeding which she replied that I cannot do the both at the same time….. immediately tears began to flow. My goal was to breastfeed for at least one year. MJ just turned 8 months. It’s not time. Thoughts of sadness began to creep in.

Breastfeeding is an indescribable bond between mother and child. Research shows many benefits of breastfeeding for not only the child but the mother as well. For babies, breast milk is highly nutritious, it helps fights off infections, it may reduce disease risk, it promotes healthy weight. For mother’s it helps loose weight through calorie burning, increase of oxytocin which encourages relaxation, caregiving and bonding. And finally, it may present menstruation. Sounds wonderful? For me, it has been.

With my other children I wasn’t able to breastfeed for long. For my first, I made it about 6 months. For my 2nd , 3 months. So here I am with my third and excited and determined to make it to at least 1 year.

When I heard the doctor’s message, I knew immediately in my heart what I needed to do. My mind on the other hand, had plans of its own.

My heart knew the necessity of my need to put my oxygen mask on first. My mind questioned it.

My heart knew that 8 months is a substantial time to breastfeed. My mind wanted to complete the task of checking off the one year box.

My heart knew that the best way to love MJ is being my best self as healthy as I can be. My mind wanted to be the best through our breastfeeding bond.

My heart knew that MJ has received everything he needs thus far and will continue to get what he needs. My mind wants to feel like I didn’t do enough. It doesn’t want to give up.

For the last five days, my heart and mind have been going back and forth. One minute I’m ready for my oxygen mask, the next minute I’m telling myself I’ll be alright. Maybe I can wait four months. And even as I write this, there is a tug of war going on. The heart is pulling and gaining momentum and then the mind gets stronger and pulls harder. ‘Do I have to take this medicine?’ My mind says. ‘Yes you do!” Says my heart.

As much as I’d like to keep the picture of making it to a year in mind, I know what’s more important.

As much as I’d like to keep our bond when he gets fussy or sleepy, I know what I need to do.

So when I ask do I have to put the oxygen mask on first, I can confidently say “yes, I do ” and “yes, I will.”

I know for a fact, that if I am not good, no one in my family is good. This is a moment of self care and self love. I cannot and will not settle for less than I deserve. As much as I love my children and my husband, it starts with loving myself. I love myself enough to do what my body needs even if it means sacrificing another love. I love myself enough to forgive myself, protect myself and live joyfully at all times.

I had to come to a decision and that is to start taking the medicine and stop breastfeeding. I am giving myself one week for gradual weaning. I am giving myself the space to cry. I am giving myself permission to rejoice. This time with MJ has been great and will continue to be so.

This decision has not been easy but I asked myself one thing, “what in this moment can I be grateful for?’ And when they say gratitude will shift your altitude, it did. Instead on focusing on what I was going to miss, I focused on what I had. Glass half empty or half full? For me, my glass was just full. My cup runs over with God’s goodness and mercy. I am grateful for:

1- Regular doctor checkups and a doctor who is caring, thoughtful and kind.

2- Prevention- It could’ve gotten worse.

3- 8 months of breastfeeding. It’s my best record!

4- No more pain from MJ’s teeth . He has 6 teeth, need I say more!

5- God’s wisdom to listen to what I know and not what I feel.

And most of all…

My oxygen mask. 💕💕🦋🦋

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑