I’m excited and blessed to introduce the first guest poster for Hope Dweller Stories: Our stories tell of His. This has been a long time coming. God first laid it on my heart to have guest posters to tell their stories back in June of 2018. I ruminated over the idea and prayed about it for a while. As I finally prepared to have the guest posts start, one thing after another got in the way. But here we are now with the first post. It might not have been in my timing, but I know His timing is perfect.
So, here we go, let me introduce you to Deanne Sewell. To be honest, I’m not sure I remember when I first met Deanne. It’s been within the last several years at some point. I think I probably heard of her before I actually met her because my husband knew her husband and had met her through him. In the time that I have known her, I’ve been blessed by her. She’s a precious, sweet woman who loves others and has a heart for the Lord. I love her Facebook posts—they’re actually one way that I have connected with her. They are most often filled with wisdom learned, fun had, imperfections admitted, sweet honesty revealed, and loving truth spoken. I have even written a blog post inspired by something she said in one of her Facebook posts. The Lord has used her in my life and I know He has plans to use what she has to say today. Without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to Deanne.
When Julie asked me to write a guest blog post I was very humbled, honored and very afraid. I love to write and have journaled in prayer journals for most of my adult life. It is a way for me to express my heart, my fears, my desires, but I never plan for anyone to read them. So when I was asked to write in a public way my doubts and fears rise up and I begin to question “Why?” Why would anyone care what I think or feel? What does my opinion matter? What if people judge me on what I say or what if I can’t say what I want clearly? I know I have always had self-doubt issues and I do struggle with confidence in my abilities. I feel I am not an expert on anything.
I wonder if that is a woman thing or is it just me? What is strange is I KNOW the truth…I know His word says the we are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), but sometimes, where myself is concerned, I don’t always believe it. I also work with teens and teach Middle School age students as my career, so I try to wrap them in those words daily. I BELIEVE THOSE WORDS! Believing it in my mind is one thing, but believing it in my heart is a bit harder. I say all that to say this…take my thoughts and feelings with a grain of salt. I am speaking from my heart, certainly not stating I know better than anyone else. I am just going to speak on what I am feeling at this moment.
A little background on me. I am a mom of three boys, which drive me crazy and I think they all hung the moon at the same time. I think that is pretty normal for a mom. I am married to my husband going on 27 years. This is my 11th year of teaching in the public school system, three of which were third grade reading and the rest has been teaching 7th and 8th grade Art. I know…Middle School….bless me! It’s funny the reaction I get when I tell people the age I teach…they always get a sympathetic look on their face and pat me on the back as if they are sorry. I feel my job is not just a job that helps pay our house payment but also a true ministry and calling.
I think as mom’s we are constantly second guessing our decisions, comparing ourselves to others, just being too hard on ourselves in general. I think social media has made comparison more difficult than ever before.
I have often said that I feel I have the “Whack-a-mole” approach to parenting. I feel when one child is doing well and you sit back and relax and take a breath the next one pops up and does something crazy or dare I say “disappointing” and you jump on that issue. Once it’s resolved…you take a breath and up pops another problem. I am very open with my life and parenting fails. I try to be transparent because I know what it’s like to have a child you are afraid to pick up at Sunday School because you know you’ll hear a list of things he’s done “wrong”. Our middle son was diagnosed with ADHD and he was always into something. For so long I allowed every action that was not “perfect” to weigh on me and make me feel as if I was a failure as a parent. We live in a time when we all feel the need to be perfect and that’s just not possible and to put that pressure on yourself is unfair. It’s not only unfair to yourself but also unfair to your children.
When trying to figure out what to write today, I looked back at old Facebook posts and found this:
“I am trying…I really do try…but being the mom of 3 boys can be overwhelming at times. I just asked Collin “Do you know it’s picture day tomorrow?” Collin says, “I do now. Can I wear a Hawaiian shirt?” (Which means can I wear one of the shirts I bought at Goodwill this summer?”). At first, I say, “NO!” then I think about it and realize the picture is about who this boy is…and his personality…not who I think he should be or the how he should seem to others…then I changed my mind. “YES, COLLIN, you can wear a Hawaiian shirt…just make sure it’s clean and ironed.”
So for me, I just have to keep reminding myself to not get so caught up in labels or of what others think of us and focus on who we are and who God wants us to be. Chase that dream, live in the moment, count your blessings.
It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others, especially as moms, as Deanne mentioned. Just this past week, I was thinking about someone I know who seems like the perfect mom, who never seems to raise her voice, who always knows just what to say to guide her children when they are in need of discipline, who just seems to always have it together in this area. A mom who’s actually younger than me, both in age and in the number of years she’s been a mom. And I started to really beat myself up. But then I remembered that God is the one who gifted me with the children I have. I am their parent for a reason. And He’s still working on me. No, I’m not perfect, but that’s okay. I can see the ways God has changed me over the years and made me a better mom and I have His promise that He will keep doing that in me.
“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” ~Philippians 1:6, AMPC
I can also relate to putting that pressure on myself and my children to be perfect. I have so been there. Whisper yelling/hissing at my children to act right in public, not for their benefit, but because I’m worried about what other people think of me and my parenting abilities. When none of that matters. What matters is my children and leading them to the Lord each day of their lives. Thankfully God has been working on this in me over the years and has changed my heart and continues to do so.
I’m so thankful to Deanne for sharing her thoughts with us today. Deanne’s story matters because it tells of His story, and because we need to know we are not alone in our struggles. I pray that you have been encouraged today through her and her willingness to share her story.
Thank you, Deanne, for sharing. I fully believe someone needs to read the words you shared today.