Category Archives: Mothering

Could we be losing sight of our high calling?

Mother tenderly kissing forehead of her infant baby sleeping in a bassinet
If commitment to our role as a mother languishes, this may be true not because the job is too small or unchallenging, but because our vision is too small. Our dreams for our task may be thin and weak. We fail to hear God’s call and miss the broad scope of the possibilities before us. We focus instead on the routine activities and demands–changing diapers, potty training, cleaning up messes, telling the kids for the fifth time not to slam the door–and miss any sense of a higher calling.

Mothers, look up and look ahead! Ask yourself; in five, ten, twenty, even forty years what will I wish that I had done today? We want to avoid reaching the end of our lives with regret. Look ahead, plan what is important and live accordingly…
Several years ago, I heard a dedicated missionary share what she would do differently if she could start raising her family again. This woman was committed to Christ, and His cause, and she spent her life serving others–so the depth and quality of her life made me sit up and listen when she shared. She said she would stay home more, be kinder to her children, and feed them spiritually.
I too am jealous for the influence I have at this crucial period in my childrens life, to teach him what is good, to enrich his life with beauty, to train him in obedience and respect, to stimulate his eager intellect, to encourage his attempt to try new things, and to play with him, I want to enjoy these years that happen only once and are soon gone forever.”
A Mother’s Heart by Jean Fleming

I feel so constantly my need of renewal in my mothering. This quote is challenging, reproving and encouraging.  I have a long way to go, but I am seeking the Lord for His grace to “be there” more for my children, instead of being so caught up in the next thing to check off my mental list for the day. My children need mama, not just someone to clean, cook and care for them, but MAMA in the real sense of the word.  So, I  need to take those few moments to throw a frisbee, examine a bug, or build a train track.   What little thing can each of us do to show our children that we are there for them today?

What is Adrenal Fatigue? (In Layman’s Terms)

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Many of you have read about the day I stopped functioning and the years of my health struggles.  You remember the depression, the fatigue, and my inability to handle stress or make decisions that built over many years.  It was my midwife who was the first one to mention that I needed to check out my adrenals at some point.  That was the beginning of much research and learning about this little understood hidden illness.  I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be any type of professional.  I also am not going to give deep medical explanations about what adrenal fatigue is.  There are other sites for that.  I am going to give you in simple, layman terms some description of this misunderstood silent illness.

First, what do our adrenals do?  In short, our adrenals sit on top of our kidneys and are responsible for our “fight or fight response.”  When your body reacts to stress it is our adrenals that give the signal to our bodies to release cortisol to enable us to rise to the occasion of the stressful situation.  We have all heard of the superhuman moments people can have in an emergency.  A mother lifting a car to get her child out from under it.  A person ignoring searing pain to rescue someone.  This is all stemming from our adrenals.  Think of it like the gas petal on your car.  Our adrenals rev our engines and enable us to go.

The problem is that this adrenaline response is supposed to kick in and then relax again.  But, in our high stress society we don’t sit on the front porch anymore and kick our feet up and watch the sunset.  We move from busyness to busyness and before we know it we are entering a state of exhaustion.

If our adrenals begin to be in a constant state of stress then they can get stuck “on”. At that point you see things like insomnia kick in.  Panic attacks, anxiety, a feeling of not being able to relax. Our body begins to be a continual cortisol factory.  And guess what?  Cortisol steals progesterone.  Now as women we begin to experience hormone issues as all our hormones get out of kilter. Our monthlys may become abnormal.  We may develop a cortisol belly and cannot lose weight. Our adrenals control our blood sugar so we may begin to see pre-diabetic symptoms beginning.  All from these two tiny organs on top of our kidneys.

I have an especial burden for mamas like me who have had baby after baby for so many years.  We have been bearing babies and breastfeeding, giving to our children but not caring for ourselves.  Many of us homeschool and we are seeking to follow the Lord in the diligent raising of our families.  But, we are breaking down physically and finding it harder to function day by day.  As the fatigue increases, the inability to make decisions gets harder.  Now, small stressors begin to loom mountain like.  Non-stressful situations now become like blaring alarms in our system and we are on a continual loop of “emergency mode”.

Adrenal fatigue and all the ailments that go along with it can be very lonely.  We look fine to people around us.  And for a long time we can put a front on so that everything looks ok.  We smile outwardly but inwardly we are spiraling downhill.  The ability to get out of bed every morning gets harder and harder and making it through the day becomes a matter of survival.

At this point, we may begin to feel the guilt of the lack of joy we are feeling.  We may feel distant from God.  We chide ourselves, knowing we are so blessed how can we possibly feel depressed?  (Ask me how I know).  Our spiritual lives suffer.  We pray, cry out to God, we may even be memorizing scripture but our bodies are crying out for rest and help.

THIS is part of why I now have this strong burden to help other moms who have been struggling like I was.  Because the battle is real.  Satan would love to discourage us in our most important job of raising this next generation for Jesus.

But, I am here to tell you the health of our bodies distinctly can affect the health of our souls.

When Elijah was discouraged and asked the Lord to die.  Did the Lord chasten him for his lack of faith?  No, the Lord addressed his physical needs. God gave him sleep and food. Sleep and food.  Then after his body was refreshed the Lord encouraged his soul. So my sisters, in caring for our bodies we are following the example of the Lord Jesus.

There are different stages of adrenal fatigue ranging from mild to severe.  I was pretty severe before I began my journey of healing.  It is my hope that many will recognize the symptoms earlier on and begin to care for their bodies before they crash as low as I did.

Adrenal fatigue IS real.  While you did not hear of the term as often 50 years ago, Adrenal fatigue has always been and still is a very real condition.  In fact, our modern steroids that are commonly prescribed were origianally made from natural adrenal glandulars.  With the introduction of synthetic drugs the steroidal prescriptions like prednisone took it’s place. Many allopathic doctors do not recognize it unless you have reached complete adrenal failure (called Addisons’s disease). Your doctor might even tell you your physical weaknesses are simply because you have a large family. But more and more people are beginning to take seriously the reality and natural doctors have long seen the importance of paying attention to these little organs in our body.

If you can relate to what I have described, I would love to talk with you and share more about what my protocol is that has helped me so much. Email me sandjervin@gmail.com or find me on Facebook. I also have an adrenal fatigue support group that can be an immense source of encouragement.

Take heart!  There is hope!

 

Why I Wasn’t Going to Work from Home

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I’m a mama.  I love pregnancy, having babies, breastfeeding and snuggles and kisses.  That’s my calling and my first and foremost priority! Ever since I was courting Steven it was our goal that I would be a stay-at-home-mom.  He was blessed to always have his mom there  growing up and so was I—it was important to us that while he was the breadwinner I was his help meet for him at home.

I am so thankful after all these years the Lord has enabled us to keep that vision and kept me able to be at home with my babies! But, there is a problem, this is a two-income world.  The percentage of SAHM’s is so small and our economy definitely assumes there are two incomes in the household. So we have become masters at thrift shopping, finding the best deals and sales and adjusting our lifestyle to cutting costs where we can.  My dear husband has been the best provider and we have truly been very blessed!

I have seen other moms have tremendous home businesses and have admired their creativity and skill.  But, I am not gifted in sewing, crafting, baking, and creating for websites like Etsy and so on. God has given me a love for helping and serving people in different ways.

At one point I was seeking to make money through this blog, but the family suffered.  It became all consuming and the deadlines and competition took the joy away from my writing.  Because the children were the priority and my health was really struggling I took a sabbatical from this blog. My giftings and talents are to be used for the glory of God first and foremost with my family in this home, and anything that tears me away from them in an inordinate way has to be curtailed.

And then, God laid it in my lap and called me to work from home.

I wasn’t looking for it, but it was the perfect fit for me.

I was so sick with adrenal fatigue, depression and all the other things that go along with that  I have blogged about before.  When I was so helped by the plant-based products that a friend shared with me it was SUCH a gift from God.  So yes, I joined but only for the wholesale prices. In fact I told Jen, “I am not doing the home business, I have been sick, I am a homeschool mommy of 8 and I don’t have the time and energy.” She said that was perfectly fine. :)

And then it happened.  I couldn’t help sharing, as I researched the WHY of how it was helping me and saw the gold mine — a burden began to grow.

There were SO MANY other mothers like me!!! Exhausted, worn out, mind blowing fatigue, mental fog and feeling like they couldn’t go on! And I HAD to SHARE! It would have been selfish not to.

And so I went back to dear husband and asked him about giving this a go. Unlike some other companies this fit right into the nooks and crannies of my life and it revolves around my family not my family around it. I didn’t have to have inventory, I didn’t have to put out a huge outlay of money, and didn’t have to do ANY home parties!  I had his blessing.  And from then on we have only been more and more excited about this opportunity!  We are even dreaming of the day when my husband could come home (or only work when he wants to) and this will be our family business.

And guess what?  Now my focus has shifted to not only helping people with their health, but with their finances.  You see, far from being like many other companies…it’s real homeschooling, large family, Christian families that are seeing HUGE provisions from the Lord. It’s students and single mamas.  And yes, it’s dad’s that see the amazing wisdom of this comp plan.  Families are getting out of debt, bringing Daddy home, financial freedom!  And what better way than serving others.

So if you have been praying for a way to earn extra income, I would love to share more with you about this company and how it has been a gift from the Lord for us!  email me at sandjervin@gmail.com :)

 

Why I stopped homeschooling…

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My parents were pioneers.  Back in the days of having to stay inside during school hours, limited curriculum available, having a backup plan in case the school system showed up at your your door.  It was back in those days that my parents began homeschooling my sister and me.  We were worried my grandfather would have a heart attack because you just. don’t. do. that.  No one taught their children at home. I remember when we lived in Texas being a part of the “Austin T.E.A Party” where the homeschoolers rallied to make this way of education legal in the state.  I loved being taught at home.  And I was always going to teach my children at home.

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And I did.

Fast forward many, many years (I won’t say how many) and I taught one, two, three, four, five, six children how to read.  We did A Beka, Bob Jones, Christian Liberty, Mystery of History, Math U See, Saxon and Teaching Textbooks.  We did my own rendition of the Robinson Curriculum, Satellite school, online classes and we did Alpha and Omega PACES. We did the years of just staying close to home and we did the coops, as well as the extra curricular activities. And we loved it.

We schooled our oldest son all the way through. When he graduated he had over 20 college credits already under his belt.  He is now doing college online at home. My second son will graduate from homeschool this spring, Lord willing.

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Homeschoolers are my people.  When I walk into a homeschooling convention it is like coming home.  It’s where I thrive.

So if you had told me years ago that I would be putting 5 of my children in a little Christian school nearby I would have dropped my mouth in unbelief.  At first the thought of it made me quake with fear.  I was a homeschooler. But, the more we prayed and pondered the more apparent it was that God wanted us to be considering this option. Oh, I battled.  I battled that swinging between excitement and guilt, relief and fear.  This isn’t what I had planned, it isn’t what I had envisioned.

But, then the Lord gave peace.

It was time.

It was right.

It was a new season He wanted us in.

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And so this year we did the back to school shopping, we got the backpacks, lunch sacks and water bottles.  We had the list of supplies like we had seen other kids have.  Now my job consists in checking school papers when they get home, overseeing the packing of the lunches, homework, asking about the highlights of their day and remembering school functions.  During the day I am home with my 3 year old and get special one on one time with him. He is my helper while I do the laundry, clean and cook.  It’s a huge shift…a big change.  But, for our family at this time, a good one.

But, guess what?  I am not ready to give us the title of being a “Homeschool Mom” quite yet.  Because remember my two big boys are upstair studying–even though I don’t see them much through the day, they are still there.  And you know what else?  I loved the description a friend gave to me the other day…it was something like this.

“The heart of home educating your children is having the freedom to chose the kind of education you think is best for your child.” 

It’s really true.  I may not be teaching Matthew his phonics rules, instead I have a helper (and what a sweet teacher she is!) teaching him.  But, I am confident he is being taught a Christian worldview and has a God-centered education daily.  I am still taking responsibility for his heart.

And so I am content and thankful to have this tremendous help in the educating of my children. With 8 children the needs are many, the duties are very diverse and this is good.

We don’t know what the future holds.  I could be back educating my children at home one day again.  But, for now this is the season God has for us.  And if He is in it…then it is good.

~~Feeling weary and worn down physically or mentally? Make sure to read my health testimony and my journey with adrenal fatigue and depression.  Connect with me on facebook or email me at sandjervin@gmail.com