I am so excited to have guest blogger Luisa, sweet mama of 4 under the age of six, sharing her wisdom today. She shares about treasuring what you have and why your complaining about life online or offline can be rubbing salt in someone’s wounds.
Complaining is easy, it comes naturally to all of us. We complain about long wait times at the doctor’s office, we complain about the co-worker who drives us nuts, the car, the shoes, and school. You name it we complain about it. We’re so accustomed to this entitled culture that sadly it’s actually a shocker to us when we meet people who are surprisingly positive and inspiring. In fact I have heard people ironically complaining about that person’s positivity. While complaining about the mundane, may not be signifcant to some, often times this leads to us whinning and grumbling about the things that are most valuable to us.
I know this all too well! I’ve been married for almost 9 years and I have 4 BEAUTIFUL babies, ages 6 and under. This make me the happiest mom in world! They also happen to make me the most crazy, paranoid, hot tempered and aggravated mom in the world! Marriage is hard. Motherhood is hard. My days are FAR from perfect! I make mistakes. As much as I would love to be that “pinterest perfect” wife and mom who has a spotless house, makes the best home-cooked meals and creates masterpieces with my kids art work, I am not. In fact most days are a blurr and at the end of each day I am simply thankful we all survived! Naturally for me in the busyness of my everyday life, going on Instagram to have a quick bent and get some sympathy comments would be the easy thing to do. But you see THIS is the life I dreamed of! My husband, my babies, my family: they are the biggest blessing I have ever been given. I’m sure you feel the same about your loved ones! Sure it’s okay to whine about how our favorite jeans might not fit anymore but if there’s one thing that saddens me to no end is seeing wives complaining about their husbands or kids and husbands grumbling about their wives. And too many of times we end up using our social media accounts to express our frustrations. And friends, understand being frustrated. Our marriage is far from perfect and I’ve thought some really mean things about my husband at times! If I’m honest I sometimes tempted to call a babysitter just so I can curl up in my bed and take a day-long nap because I am TIRED. No matter how irritated I might be at my husband or kids I choose not to dwell on that and I certainly don’t ever want to speak about it on social media. Not because I want to portray a perfect life but I refrain from it because I know there is a widow out there grieving over the loss of her husband. In know there is a wife who is slowly watching her marriage fall apart. There is a woman who dreams of holding a sweet baby in her arms. Or perhaps a mom who buried a child and would do anything to hold her baby just one more time. While most of times our complaints aren’t anything we give much thought to, merely idle words to relieve some frustration, these spoken words sometimes are like alcohol to someone’s wounds.
Six years ago while I was pregnant with my firstborn, I met a woman who had been married for 4 years and just one month into her marriage they started trying for a baby. It had been 4 years and they experienced miscarriage after miscarriage. I vividly remember one morning when I was commenting on how difficult it had been to sleep the night before and her response was, “well, at least you can stay pregnant.” I didn’t think much of it at the time but her words began to resonated with me. Sure my comment wasn’t intended to offend her but at the same time I failed to realize that I was experiencing what she had been longing for! I’m sure most can relate that when we casually say these things that we don’t mean to offend anyone but at the same time we aren’t being mindful of others struggles.
Six years and four kids later, you better believe I haven’t had much sleep! If I’m not pregnant, I’m nursing. While my prayer request every Tuesday in my small Bible study group is for mommy strength: I AM THANKFUL! No it doesn’t always come naturally. Actually it never comes naturally but I remind myself that while I’m dealing with a teething baby there is a mom who has her baby battling leukaemia or a woman who has been waiting for what feels like forever to see a positive pregnancy test. Bruce Wilkinson says, “A moment of gratitude makes a difference in your attitude”… this could not be more true. When we begin to give thanks in ALL things and for everything, even our struggles, our attitude begins to change.
Too many times we forget how sacred and intimate our marriage relationship should be. I am all in favor of marriage counselling but your struggles and differences should not be spoken of so that the entire world knows about them. Your Facebook friends don’t need to know how aggravated you are every time your husband leaves the toilet seat up or how you can’t understand why he comes home from work and just sits down to watch tv without offering to help you. These are things that you need to address as a couple and not with Facebook. My husband and I have differences and there have been some VERY challenging times in the past 8 1/2 years of marriage – especially during our first year. Despite my husband’s flaws he could not be more perfect for me. He is a gift to me! And like any valuable gift I want to take care of and cherish him. I want to lift him up and be the support and partner he needs me to be.
My grandfather passed away a little over a year ago and till this day my grandma still gets teary-eyed when she speaks of him. Sadly she regrets the way she treated him at times. I’ll never forget the first thing she told me and my husband the first time we saw her after my he had passed. She said to us, with a broken voice and tears in her eyes, “Kids, love each other. Respect each other and like each other. You have no idea the emptiness I feel in my heart. It’s true that you never know what you have until you lose it!” These are words that I had heard from others in the past but what made them real was hearing them from someone I knew and loved. Seeing her grief and sadness made that common phrase pierce me like never before. I know that the easy thing to do is to let out our frustrations but for me whenever I feel these emotions brewing inside of me I make a choice to focus on the good things instead. This doesn’t mean I ignore my feelings or that I don’t address them. It’s important to talk about our feelings but it’s equally important to speak about them in the proper place with someone who will help solve the situation and not worsen it.
My heart in this is to encourage others to simply be more mindful of what is coming out of our mouths. I guarantee you that for every one thing we could complain about there are at least 10 other things we could be thankful for! Having a thankful heart brings you joy! As difficult and as long as the days may be, always remember there are others who are experiencing much more difficult things. There are others who have it harder. There are others that are praying for what you have.
One of my favorite author’s – Ann Voskamp, says it so perfectly… “Being joyful isn’t what makes you grateful. Being grateful is what makes you joyful.” Let’s be grateful and full of joy.
Luisa Cañola lives in sunny South Florida with her husband and four kids. Her husband is a talented musician and the worship leader at their church and Luisa is a work from home mom. These days you can find Luisa chasing after her kids documenting as much as possible with her phone. Check her out on Instagram at @blessed.mom.of4