Wednesday, April 29, 2009

THE REAL ME

So I was in a meeting with a good friend (mentor, really) and another friend the other day. My mentor says to me: “Christi, you exude confidence and just appear fully confident in everything, but I think you are covering up for some deep seeded insecurities.” First, I was in shock at how amazingly accurate that statement was. Then I was embarrassed because someone had “found me out”. Not that I ever intended to hide my insecurities- I think it was more of a self-preservation method. I have never actually been super self-confident, so in order to not drown in depression or self pity, when I was about 14 I started wearing this fa├žade of confidence and I guess somehow it just carried over into my adult life. I never really took that mask off. I think it’s good, to a point because where I lack confidence, the mask helps me to be able to walk into situations I might not normally go and forces me to match the appearance I am giving off. So in that, I guess it can be a good thing. But the sad thing is, I AM covering up some real insecurities that really need to be addressed in order for me to become the woman God created me to be.

Like many other woman, I suffer with body image issues (which probably accounts for about 45% of my insecurities) and stems from my childhood. Also, like many other people, I have issues with wanting the approval of man and feeling inadequate. That’s probably the greatest amount of my struggles. I know I shouldn’t want that, crave that so much, or even doubt that I am loved, but on so many levels, I do want that and I do doubt that. I was hurt a lot as a kid by “friends” and even, at times, family- taking advantage of me and making fun of me- the real me. So at some point I decided the “real me” was no longer good enough and I decided I would become someone people can like. I tried to be funny, but I’m not as funny as I’d like to be. I tried to be wise (but ha! That’s a gift, not something you can create). I tried to be generous and thoughtful and smart and creative... I tried to be physically perfect, I tried to be all of these things that are just not me (the real me). ON some level, I am little pieces of all of these things but when it all comes down, I don’t even know who I really am, and it bothers me.

I started thinking- how can I be this woman, this teacher that I want to be if I don’t even know who I really am? That would make me a hypocrite and I know for certain that’s not what God created me to be. So over the next few weeks, months... I will be doing some major changing, some major soul searching. I want to find out who I am and why I am here. I want to take off all of my masks and be real for the first time in my adult life.

Is this going to be difficult? Certainly. There is always pain when you grow, but the end result? Growth. Maturity. Development. God wants to use me; He wants to grow me, to lead me- the REAL me, not the me I pretend to be.

SO I’m not sure what I’ll look like when I am done, but I just feel like this has been a long time coming and I would so much rather live a life of obedience than a life of comfort- even if it means not everyone will like me (as if they did now... ha!) And even if it means I am a little more grown up (hello!) And even if it means I am not who I once thought I should be- because I am certain the person God created me to be is a far better person than this person I have been trying to be. I am sure she has a better relationship with her kids and with her husband. I am sure she doesn’t get bothered by gossip about her or by the fact that not everyone likes her. I am sure she knows how to really love people and to be in love with her creator. And I am sure she recognizes where her true beauty lies... not in the opinions of man or in having the perfect body or in the things of this world, but her true beauty comes from God. I am certain she is confident in that and it’s more than enough to erase all of her past... Ya... I’m ready to become that woman. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Battle and The Victory

Wow. Can I just say this has been a week!!! (obviously, not referring to the current week since it just started…) I am referring to last week. During the course of the week, I endured some annoying physical pain, sickness, drastic mood swings (part of being a girl) and really, clearly saw God grab ahold of me. It was an emotionally draining week, but an amazingly strong week of growth for me. At the beginning of the week, I was living in my own strength and by Thursday I was completely exhausted and out of my own strength- that’s when I completely surrendered it to God. For the first time that week, I was able to fight off the enemy consciously and courageously. I refused to give in to the attack. I refused to allow the enemy to have control over my mind here at work, at home, and in between, and God had the victory! I LOVE when that happens.

So I know it all sounds really broad and confusing because I am not giving specific detail. I am not giving specific detail because I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary in this case and would do no good at all. But let me just say, my God is faithful, my God is strong. My God loves me and my God saved me! I cannot stop praising Him for answering my prayers- He came to my rescue when I needed Him most and for that, I owe Him my life, my all.

That is where I am right now… I am curious to see what the rest of this week holds… the attacks just keep on coming and I am loving it because every time the enemy tries to move forward on my heart and in my head, I am forced to turn to and rely on God- which, in turn has brought me closer to Him, more dependant upon Him, and is bringing me back where I have wanted to be for so long- at His feet, completely surrendered… what a journey! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Long Time, No Blog

So, I have been at work for about a month now (5 weeks tomorrow to be exact) and have loved most every minute of it (except that part where I am away from my kids 11 hours out of every day). On the whole, it's been really good for me: good for me to be away from home, I think because it gives me a renewed perspective on being a mom and a wife and just on life in general. Before I went back to work, I am pretty sure I was going down a scary path towards depression. I (like many other at-home-moms) sort of lost my sense of purpose and started feeling lost in the job of being a mom or being a wife. I lost my self and became afraid I wouldn't recover. That's not why I went back to work, but being here has sort of awakened me and given me time to reflect and to kind of re-establish who I am.

I know this much about my self- I am not just Christi Muhle (Kyle's Wife) or Christi Muhle (mom of 4) or Christi Muhle (working woman). What I have been learning and what means the most to me is that I am Christi Muhle- Child of God. There is no title I'd rather own, and no title I am more relieved to carry.

So while learning all of this, I have been away from the blog. I don't know if it's a lack of time or a lack of interest or what. I do know there is so much going on in my mind and in my heart and I want to share it all with you, but for now, I must return to my work. Be looking for more updates. My brain is literally flooded daily with thoughts, bits and pieces, and words of wisdom that I can't wait to share here. SO, welcome back to my blog. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where DO babies come from mommy??? "um..."

So tomorrow is Trinity's birthday. She will be a whole six years old. The school nurse called while I was working out today and told me Trnity was running and fever and I needed to come get her. When I picked her up, she was crying and complaining of a headache, so I took her home and babied her and we have pretty much been hanging out all morning since then.

A while ago she was coloring and I was working in my office and she starts this conversation that I am so just not ready to be having wth my six year old (who, in my eyes, will always be five or younger...) She asked me how my stepdaughter and her could be sisters when they came from two different mommies. I explained to her that they shared the same daddy and she said, "well, how does that happen? How do babies get made?" HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!! And there it was. THE question I have avoided for so long. Not that I mind talking about it at all- in fact, most any of my friends will tell you I encourage talking about it in a healthy way and I encourage IT in marriages all of the time. The problem with this story? Kyle and his ex were never married so instead of just saying that they loved eachother, got married, and had a baby and just leaving it at that, I actually have to make an effort, offer more details than I want to, and try my darndest (without giggling or blushing and sounding like I have no clue what I am talking about) and explain to her a little about the birds and the bees.

So what did I say? I'm not really sure (because in some part of my mind, i am still in shock), except I can vivdly remember saying "um..." quite a bit and stumbling wldly over my words. My heart was racing and I just couldn't spit the words out fast enough- when there were words. So somehow I gave her a simple answer and she went on to take a nap without probing too much. My next thought was- when IS it time to start telling her these things? I never really want to see her as old enough to know this information so I am kind of in denial. I don't want to give her information she is not mature enough for or just not ready to hear but on the other hand, I don't want anyone else giving her false or misguided information or telling her things I should have told her. I just want her to stay as innocent as she can for as long as she can, you know?

So I guess I will pray about it. I will pray that God gives me wisdom and discernment with how much information is too much and what I should say vs. what I should not say- when will it be time for her to learn about my testimony (I mean, as soon as she really starts to understand math, it wont take her long to figure out she wasn't exactly a honeymoon child) Sooooooooooooooo.... wow. What a day! This morning when I sent her off to school, we were celebrating her last day ever as a five-year-old, and now we are entering into the realm of "Big Kid World"... oh why can't they just stay babies forever? :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy (Early) Birthday to Jacob

So, my baby is about to be a whole year old... I cannot get past the thought. I can remember a year ago- everything that was going on with us, the fear, the frustration and the doubts that he would survive- the overwhelming dreams I had that nearly took my breath away and stole so much joy from those final few weeks before my precious child was to be born. But as I sit back and think over the last year, I can see God's hand in everything- every single breath that baby has taken is because of God and so as we approach his birthday, I just want to praise God for this perfect little miracle. Jacob is such a tremendous blessing in my life. He makes me laugh, makes me cry (tears of joy), he is full of life and spunk and joy and personality. He wakes us up most mornings with some sort of wild animal sounds and when we go to his room, he is always there standing in his crib with the greatest smile. He is a precious gift from God and so I praise Him- the author and creator of life. I was in shock when I found out I was pregnant (actually all three times, but this time in particular). I was sure we were done having children, but God had another plan and as I look back over the last year, I can see how God has used Jacob already. I can't wait to see what else is out there for my little man. However God chooses to continue giving him life, I pray He would always be used of God, for God. He is an amazing little man. Happy early birthday Jacob.

If my people...

The verse goes "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14). I was thinking about this today in the context of everything that has been going on with our nation, with our world, with the economy, with the new president coming in, with all the unrest overseas... I was thinking about how far from God we all had come and how much I knew He wanted to heal us and bring us peace finally.

If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves- that means get out of our own way. Stop trying to control the economy, stop trying to control the outcome. Truly humble ourselves and put God back where He belongs- On His throne, in complete control. He has always been there, but we have been so confused for so long to think that we, somehow, can control situations that he have absolutely no control over, what-so-ever. So we need to humble ourselves and...

And pray!!! PRAY!!! Where did that go? How have we become so far removed from prayer? I remember the first time I heard that they were no longer going to allow prayer in schools. I knew then, in that moment, that the our nation was starting down a path of moving away from God and that we would never be the same unless we somehow brought prayer back into our lives and made it a priority. It's funny to me- I have this odd sense that somehow I can fix things, so I don't always pray. And then there are times when prayer is just what I do and part of who I am and God just seems to move in my life during those times. In my own life, I, too have turned away from prayer and from really trusting God until we come under fire or there is some crisis in my life. But what God wants is for us to comepletely humble ourselves and pray and...

And turn from sin and our wicked ways. Wow. That is a little convicting really. Not that I am some super wicked woman, but I do struggle with sin in my life- some of it I have yet to really turn from. I am guilty of sometimes getting caught up in a pattern of asking for forgiveness and never really turning from some sins. God wants us to comepletely turn from that sin and from our wicked ways- stop doing what we are doing, ask God for forgiveness- admit we were (are) wrong, and really turn toward God, making efforts to honor Him, to live a life that completely brings Him honor and glory... then...

Then He will hear us and will heal our land!!! Two things- Not that I think God isn't listening to us. I think He is, but I think there is a difference between listening and hearing. I think He listens to everything our hearts feel and our minds conceive, but I think when He hears us, He really hears us with His heart and His heart can be moved to action... I think. I am not a scholar, but that is my simple thought. Next thought- He will heal our land. Can you even imagine what our land will be like when God is in control and He reaches down to heal us? I cannot even begin to fathom how awesome that time will be, but I certainly am excited for when that day comes. I imagine there will be a time of feasting after the famine. There will be a time of families coming together after so many have broken apart. There will be a time of sons and daughters honoring their parents and people respecting their leaders. I know one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord, but I truly believe before then, we will have a peace in our nation- and no one will be able to explain it except to say that it was from God. I know people will try to explain it, but God's people will know the truth.

So what does all of that mean? It's time to pray- to really, fully, truly, humble ourselves and give it all over to God. We have been holding on to our false sense of control for way too long.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My New Year's Resolution

Last year was a very interesting year for me. I made tons of resolutions and in the tradition of resolutions, I only kept one of my resolutions- to work out more and lose weight. During the course of last year, I became a runner and a swimmer and from the day I delivered my son to today, I lost about 60 pounds. I still have quite a ways to go, but it's the first year have actually followed through with a commitment. So this year I figured I would narrow the list a bit so it's less overwhelming and more attainable. So what, you ask, is my resolution this year? It's simple- two words that will forever change the person I am today. The two words: HONOR GOD. My New Year's resolution for 2009 is to Honor God. It's simple and complex, but I have a feeling it's going to be the greatest commitment I have ever made and it will not only impact me, but it could have a huge ripple affect on those around me as well.

Why did I chose something so broad? The answer- because up until this point in my life, I can look back and see so many times where I have been living for my self- and not for anyone else and I truly, in my heart of hearts, believe it's time for all of that to change. God did not put me here on the Earth to live, to enjoy life, and to die. There is a greater calling on my life and I figure this is the year I turn 30- it's time for me to grow up.

So how does this look in every day life? Well, I was just talking to my husband about this last night. I was saying to him: imagine if those two words were on the forefront of my mind every day, all day. When I was in conversation, my thought would be "am I speaking to bring honor and glory to my self, or are the words coming out of my mouth going to honor God?" And when I address my children and my husband- "Honor God. Is the way I am treating this person right now going to honor God?" And when I go to eat (something I struggle with): "Is this going to honor God, or it is merely going to bring me temporary pleasure?" And when I work out and I start to do too much: "Is this going to honor God with my body, or am I only seeking self glorification?" I think there is a really fine line and there is also a really good compromise. I know there is a time for enjoying food, a time for working out hard, a time for disciplining your children and needing to be firm with them. I know there is a time and a place for all of these things, but in moderation and with wisdom and discernment.

So that's what I hope to achieve in 2009. There are so many areas that this can affect and my prayer is that every single area would have God's blessing. I will keep you updated- this is quite a journey and will be quite a year. :)