All posts in Weekly Word

  • This week’s word is…SUFFICIENCY

    Author’s note: This is a revised version of a post originally published in December, 2013.

    In one of my women’s coaching groups last week, we opened up the topic of “I am not enough.” I am not enough is a message of “The Lie of Scarcity.” The lie of scarcity tells us we are not enough: not pretty enough, fast enough, productive enough, don’t have enough money, don’t have enough time, didn’t get enough sleep, on and on and on. And, let’s remember, this is a LIE.

    Author, speaker, and activist, Lynne Twist writes about 3 myths of scarcity in her book, The Soul of Money. The three myths are:

    Scarcity Myth #1: There’s not enough. Not enough to go around. Not everyone can make it. Someone will be left out. What’s one of the first games we learn as children? Musical chairs. Someone will be left out – there’s not enough chairs for everyone. We can grow up believing that our world – and ourselves – are deficient and lacking. Read more

  • This week’s word is…CURIOSITY

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    I’ve always been very curious – about everything (do you think that has something to do with my career choice of Coach?). I’m sure I drove my parents more than a little crazy with all my questions as a child. What was that like? What for? What if? Why not? To this day, when I’m out for a walk, a bike ride, or even driving, I can’t pass by an unfamiliar road or trail without wandering down a-ways. Hmmm…I wonder what’s down here…? Read more

  • courage

    This week’s word is…COURAGE

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    This week’s word is COURAGE.

    This week’s word is a call to bring more Courage into the way we are relating. With others, with circumstances, and most of all, with ourselves. What does that mean? Below are four thoughts:

    1. Courage is not about BIG, BOLD action. The times I’ve behaved most courageously in my life have involved being still, closing my mouth and opening my heart. Offering Empathy. Listening Fully. Being present for someone who is hurting, angry, confused, can feel uncomfortable. It takes courage to stay in the discomfort and connect deeply with another. You can read some thoughts on how exactly to do this, here.
      1. Courage means following your heart. The word courage comes from the Old French corage and the Latin cor, both meaning heart, innermost feelings.
        If I listen to my mind-chatter going round-and-round long enough, I can talk myself into or out of just about anything. When I choose courage, I get still & quiet in my mind so I can tune into my heart. I think of it as tuning into God’s voice within me rather than the noise of the world going on in my head (what if, you should, you shouldn’t, but then they’ll think…)
    1. To be courageous is to be vulnerable. Courage is born out of our vulnerability. I know that for me to open myself up and reveal my vulnerabilities, requires strength and courage. The relationship between vulnerability and courage is fascinating (in my opinion, but then again, I get excited over psychology text books and going to therapy workshops, so bear with me).
      Putting on “a brave face” or “staying strong” in the midst of my hurts doesn’t actually require much courage. Invulnerability is easy and comfortable. However, for me to call a close friend or my sister and say, “I’m not doing so good today and I really need to talk” or asking “Will you help me?” takes courage.
      Our culture would have us believe that vulnerability is weakness. I completely disagree. Revealing our humanness to others, admitting when we don’t know, can’t do it, need help, and are feeling unsure or scared requires strength! I wrote about “sharing the truth of our perfectly normal imperfect lives” here.
    1. Courage is unnecessary unless we are afraid.

    courage and fear

    To be human is to have fears. So long as we are alive, we can expect to feel fearful, at different times and to varying degrees. As the quote above says, to live without feeling fear is “foolish.” We are fooling ourselves. Denial. To live in collusion with our fear is cowardice. A trick of the enemy to keep us quiet and small.

    To acknowledge my fear – to see clearly my resistance, control, avoidance, or force – and move ahead anyway, is courage.

    • I fear being rejected, and I reach out to him anyway.
    • I fear upsetting or bothering her, and I ask for what I need anyway.
    • I fear being judged, and I take a stand for what I believe is right anyway.
    • I fear my child being hurt, and I let go of control and release her anyway.

     

    A Closing Prayer

    As I was writing this post, the scene in the garden of Gethsemane came to mind. The scene where the soldiers came to take Jesus away. Peter was ready to fight, drawing his sword, and taking a bold action, which may have looked courageous (Matthew 26:51). As I thought about that, I became aware that every time in my life when I’ve chosen “fight” or “force” over peace and acceptance, I was driven by my fear, not my courage. Jesus chose peace and acceptance while enduring ridicule, torture, and even death. I pray that I will look to Jesus as the source of my courage:

    Heavenly Father, I pray for greater courage; heavenly courage. I pray for the courage to endure my trials with my eyes always on You. Give me the courage to sit with others who are hurting and the grace to stay quiet and simply listen. I pray that I may follow the way of Jesus in opening my heart to those who would mistreat, misunderstand, or misjudge me. Show me how to stay open and courageously vulnerable so I may not miss any of the highs or the lows that You would have me experience in this lifetime. Please help me to get quiet everyday and listen for Your voice. Thank You for Your constant love and guidance. AMEN.

    Wishing you a blessed week!
    With love,
    De
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  • Surrender

    This week’s word is…SURRENDER

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    This week’s word is SURRENDER.

    The last two weekly words have been Faith & Trust. As I prayed about what comes next, it occurred to me that Faith, Trust, and Surrender make a perfect trilogy; three essentials for true peace-of-mind and peace-of-heart. I see them as being cyclical, a reinforcing and continual process to living our God-designed life.
    Trilogy Cycle
    Faith and trust sound nice, don’t they? Very reassuring and positive. Surrender, on the other hand…that can be a tough one for many of us! When I looked up the definition of surrender, I found: to give in, give up, concede defeat, cave in, and (from Merriam-Webster) “agree to stop fighting because you know that you will not win or succeed.” Yikes, no wonder I’m not usually in a big hurry to surrender!

    The truth is, surrendering my will in favor of God’s will, has NEVER left me feeling defeated or unsuccessful. Yes, surrender sometimes involves giving in or giving up something I thought I wanted. But, when I look back on such times, I see how my letting go and detaching from any one particular outcome, actually opened doors to other (better) outcomes that I couldn’t see through my tunnel vision.

    God’s plan is always better than my plan. How can it not be? His vantage point of my life is far more expansive than my own. Remember the verse from last week?

    “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

    This week, let’s take another step out in faith and in trust. Here is a prayer that we can pray to start each day:

    Lord, as I start this day, help me to remember that You are in control. Guide me as I face whatever choices and decisions may come my way today. I want to surrender to Your will for me this day. Show me how to do that. Remind me when I forget. Nudge me a little harder when necessary.
    I have faith in You. I trust in the work You are doing in my life, even when it looks different from what I was expecting. I know that you are full of surprises. I do believe that You will work all things for good in my life if I can stay out of the way long enough! Help me to clear my mind and stop trying to figure out what is happening. Help me to resist the urge to seize control when I become afraid or anxious. Jesus, I surrender myself to You. Take care of everything! AMEN.

    This last line: “Jesus, I surrender myself to You. Take care of everything” is from a 9-day novena that I prayed during Lent. It is such a powerful statement that I continue to say it everyday. In the novena, we say that line 10 times. I guess that’s how long it takes to convince our stubborn selves to LET IT GO! And let God.

    Wishing you a blessed week!
    With love,
    De

    Sharing with Thought Provoking ThursdayWoman to WomanEssential Fridays, Fellowship Friday, Faith Hacks
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  • Trust

    This week’s word is…TRUST

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    This week’s word…Trust the Lord.

    In last week’s Weekly Word (Faith, read that one here), I wrote that a lack of faith is essentially being unbelieving or doubting towards that which we have not seen or experienced personally. “This kind of thinking keeps us in our box. Our comfort zone. It is safe here within my own metaphorical four walls. I feel in control here. Only, that is not where God intends for me to live.”

    Faith and trust, as far as I can understand them, are intricately connected, woven together in a mutually supportive pattern. They increase or decrease in correlation with one another. And trying to figure out which comes first, sounds a lot like the chicken and egg debate. I need more faith in order to trust the Lord. And as I trust the Lord more, my faith in Him increases.

    I don’t know which one we focus on first or if it even matters. How do we begin?

    God tells us to be faithful in small matters so we will grow to be faithful in bigger matters (scripture reference Luke 16:10). So it was also for me with Him. I began by actively trusting God in the ‘small matters’ of my daily life, growing in faith and trusting Him with increasingly ‘bigger matters’. A small matter might be arguments between my children. When my kids are arguing, rather than intervene and insert my voice into the mix, I began to say silently “come Holy Spirit, guide their hearts” or “Jesus, I trust in You.” And guess what?! He handles it every single time! Disagreements now sound more like conversations (most of the time; except when they don’t 😉 ).

    As God revealed to me, His constancy, His faithfulness and His concern over the details of my life, my trust (and my faith) in Him grew more and more complete. I am certain, without a doubt, that He can, will, and does ultimately work all things for my good and for His glory. All things; including such “things” in my life as addiction in my family, a deteriorating marriage, and just two weeks ago, emergency surgery when my mom’s appendix ruptured.

    “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.” Psalm 34:8

    EXERCISE: Trust the Lord. Pray every day, asking God to increase your faith in Him and to help you place a little more of your trust in Him. Follow the steps below.

    1. Actively call on the Lord each day, placing a particular situation, relationship, worry, etc into His hands. Being the patient and non-intrusive God that He is, He is waiting for you and for me to invite Him into every little detail of our lives; giving Him permission to do His work through us. For me, this usually sounds like “Come Holy Spirit,” “I trust you with _________today, Lord,” or simply “Jesus, I trust You”.
    2. Read the scriptures that tell us who God is. That help us get to know Him and expand our willingness to place our trust in Him. (Psalm 8 is one of my favorites. And Psalm 23. And James 1:17. And about a thousand more…do a google search 🙂 )
    3. Once you’ve placed some particular detail of your day in His hands, stop worrying about it, stressing, trying to “get it right,” etc. This may be the hardest part of trust! Let go and let God.
    4. When the worry or stress creeps back in, gently remind yourself that you are trusting God with this now. That might sound something like, “De, you can let that go now. God, please help me to release this thought. I place my trust completely in you to handle ___________ [situation, relationship, worry, fear].”

    Breath Prayers trust the Lord
    My Breath Prayer cards are a great resource for increasing our faith and trust.What is a breath prayer?
    Download my free “Guide to Breath Prayers” here.
    Or purchase a set of 30 printed breath prayer cards with accompanying booklet. On special for $7, while supplies last!

    Wishing you a blessed week!
    With love,
    De

    Sharing with Thought Provoking ThursdayWoman to WomanEssential Fridays, Fellowship Friday, Faith Hacks
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  • Faith

    This week’s word is…FAITH

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    This week’s word is FAITH.

    The quote on the picture above and its surrounding verses (John 20:19-31) are the basis for the expression “a doubting Thomas.” Thomas said he would not believe unless he saw with his own eyes and touched with his own hands.

    Thomas is pretty relatable, huh? At times, we are all guilty of being cynical or judgmental about things that we do not understand. We doubt. Defaulting to skepticism or unbelief.

    And unbelieving is a subtle form of control, isn’t it? When I refuse to have faith in that which I cannot see or understand, I am essentially saying that if it doesn’t make sense to me, I won’t believe it. If I haven’t seen it or experienced it personally, then I will not relate to it. This kind of thinking keeps us in our box. Our comfort zone. It is safe here within my own metaphorical four walls. I feel in control here. Only, that is not where God intends for me to live. And it is not what He wants for me to model to my children.

    How about Thomas’ response to Jesus in the passage above: “My Lord and my God!” (I get chills every time). The significance of those five words is inexhaustible. Awe, reverence, self-surrender. Instantaneous belief. Can you imagine being Thomas in that moment? I imagine that I would drop to my knees, overwhelmed with humility and with love. And that I would then have the strength and courage to do anything and everything God asked of me. Which, from what I understand of Thomas’ life, is what he did; eventually dying a martyr.

    How about you and me today, right here, right now?

    • What would it take for me to carry a deep, reverent, self-surrendering faith into my daily walk? What do I need to do more of (or less of) in order that my faith might increase?
    • How can I animate my activity in the middle of this crazy world with faith in Jesus, so that those around me might be supported through my faith?
    • What would it sound like / look like to punctuate my conversations with His gentleness or to sprinkle His love here and there as I move through my daily routines?

    A closing prayer:
    Father God, please break our hearts and minds wide open, flooding us with full, rich, deep faith in the risen Christ. We pray for the strength and the courage to look at each and every circumstance of our day through the eyes of faith. Show us how to do this. Show us how to look at life in such a way that we shall see what it is you wish for us see. Please remove our unbelief. Remove our doubts and our fears so that we may experience You more fully and trust in You without hesitation. We pray in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

    Wishing you a blessed week!
    With love,
    De

    Sharing with Thought Provoking ThursdayWoman to WomanEssential Fridays, Fellowship Friday, Faith Hacks

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  • This Week’s Word is…ATTENTION

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    This week’s word is Attention: to give someone our attention; to acknowledge his/her presence, to take notice of.

    This past weekend (Easter weekend), I had lots of screen-free time with my family. We visited with extended family and did lots of playing outside. I didn’t turn on my computer all weekend and I barely looked at my phone, except to answer a call / make a call. Wow, even as I just typed that sentence, the irony strikes me. Really!? I only used my phone for making phone calls?!

    In our high-tech society, we are faced with more opportunities to be distracted than ever before. There is just so much to look at and so many people to connect with and share with. In many ways, this is a blessing, no doubt. Yet, after I get to spend a few days of low-tech, electronics-free time together with Marc and our kiddos, I am always reminded that our basic human needs are as present as always, even in today’s society. What needs?

    Sharing stories. Listening to each other. Laughter. Hugs and kisses. Eye-contact. Holding hands. Time to enjoy each other and be spontaneous together. FUN!

    The impact of me giving my full presence and attention is equivalent to me telling my loved ones, “You matter to me,”  “I want to hear what you have to say,” “You are valuable and important to me.” Which, of course, is true. And I want to make sure they know that. No matter how often I tell them, my words become less meaningful when my behaviors are not aligned with my words.

    EXERCISE: Attention in Action Spend a few quiet minutes in prayer, and then follow the steps below:

    1. Each day this week, choose one or two tangible ways to communicate your love through your behavior; through your presence and attention. (i.e.: For me, I will close my laptop and greet my children at the door when they come home from school.)
    2. Think about what you tend to make more important than being fully present to your children. For example, I became aware that my response to my children’s needs or requests often began with, “I just need to finish this email…” While I would never say that email was more important than my children, that was what my behavior, in effect, communicated.
    3. As you gain awareness around the “priorities” that take your attention away from the most important people in your life (i.e.: my email), pray for guidance and take action to more fully align you behavior with your true priorities.

     

    Self-Care: Giving ourselves a few minutes of our own attention and acknowledgement each day is also extremely important. Read more about that here.

    This week’s word is Self-Compassion

    Try a Different Pronoun

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  • This week’s word is…TEACHER

    We are our children’s greatest teachers. A mother is a powerful influencer of what our children are learning in any given moment – most especially during the years when they live at home with us. Our children notice what we say and do, they notice how we say and do it, they notice what we fail to say and do. And they take their cues CONSTANTLY from what they are learning from us. Scary, huh?!

    In my coaching circles, we often talk about “parenting for life” vs. “parenting in the moment.” Below are a few examples:

    Situation 1: My child is angry or upset, is yelling at me, perhaps throws something or hits a sibling. I am annoyed and react by telling him to Settle down! and send him to his room.

    What I teach, or the message my child learns is: My anger is not OK. My anger gets me into trouble. Other people don’t like me when I am angry.

    What I want my child to learn: When I’m angry or upset, I am encouraged to pause, breathe, and calm down. Then I can talk through what happened and how I feel with someone I trust; I can find ways to express my needs in a healthy way.

    Situation 2: My child earns poor grades on her report card and is not allowed to go to the school dance. OR I motivate my child to perform well in a soccer game by promising $5 for each goal she scores.

    What I teach, or the message my child learns is:  My performance (in school, athletics, etc) will either get me a reward or a punishment.

    What I want my child to learn: Performing well (to the best of my ability) feels good! I get a sense of fulfillment from giving my best effort to my task, regardless of the outcome.

    Situation 3: My children are fighting (again!). I give them a few minutes to see if they’ll work it out. I hear their intensity escalating, as is mine…until I yell at them to separate and go to their rooms.

    What I teach, or the message my child learns is: Heated disagreements are uncomfortable, everybody gets upset, and it’s best to withdrawal.

    What I want my child to learn: When I disagree or have apparently incompatible needs & goals with someone, I can express my needs calmly. I can also ask about the other person’s needs. Fight or flight are not my only options.

    Now for the tricky part –

    Teaching our children healthy relationship and life skills presumes that we possess these skills ourselves. And we do. And then, well, sometimes we don’t.
    Not to worry. That’s why you’re here. We’re increasing our skills together each week through these exercises. Please take advantage of all the other resources available to you here as well, such as:

    6-Week Virtual Coaching Circle on Self-Support
    Free Downloads
    Sacred Circles

    EXERCISE: Teacher in Action

    Here’s a filter to try on this week. Filter your reactions and responses to your child in any given situation, by asking yourself, “what is the greater lesson for me to teach here?”

    1. Be intentional about choosing a timeframe each day, that you will press pause on your first reaction (i.e.: morning routines of getting out the door for school, homework time, Sunday afternoon family time, etc).
    2. With your first reactions paused, take a breath, and pray about the life lesson opportunity being presented in the situation. What do you want your child to learn here that will serve him or her in their life? Not just in this moment, but in their LIFE.
    3. Share your observations or awareness with your child/ren. Based on their age and ability, ask questions to help them think through what they need or want and how they might express that in a clear and healthy way

    As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re willing, share your comments or learnings with the community here. We are all in this together! God bless you.

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  • Self-Love

    This Week’s Word is…SELF-LOVE

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Nurturing a loving relationship with oneself is an essential process. And inseparable from the process of becoming more intentional in our mothering.

    My journey of learning to love myself has been profound, infinitely beneficial, and above all, liberating. As I became aware of, and slowly freed myself from, the internal judgment, chastisement, and unrealistic expectations I was subjecting myself to, I became more peaceful, joyful, and hopeful. Ripple effects of my peace, joy, and hope were (and are) felt in all areas of my life, most especially in my mothering.

    One of the nicest “side-effects” of learning to love myself is self-acceptance. For the first time in my life, I felt fully and wholly accepted. I’m OK, exactly as I am. For years, others had been trying to tell me that I was ok enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc. And it was not until I believed it myself that I was able to receive these truths from anyone else.

    In my workshops and coaching circles, I am blessed to spend time with many amazing, generous, caring, beautiful women. Unfortunately, many of them struggle to see that they are amazing, generous, caring, or beautiful. There is always something they didn’t do quite right, or something more that they are supposed to be. We can bombard ourselves with inner messages of lack and not enough.

    Self-defeating. Soul-crushing.

    In nurturing a loving and supportive relationship with ourselves, we manage our thoughts of lack and learn to let them go. We weave in thoughts of sufficiency. Thoughts that are self-compassionate, self-supportive, and UPLIFTING.

    This week, let’s experiment with different ways to bring more love into our relationship with ourselves.

    The Love Challenge.
    In this previous post, I wrote about the love challenge, based on what it means to love, as given to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…

    “Love is patient, love is kind. Love is never jealous or envious, never boastful, nor proud, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense.
    Love does not demand its own way. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over another’s sins, but delights in truth.
    There is nothing love cannot face. Love always protects, always trusts. Love hopes all things. Love endures all things.”

    In the love challenge presented in that post, we replaced the word “love” with the pronoun “I” and elevated the way we give love to others.

    This week, let’s take that a step further by considering the love challenge from a “Self-Love” perspective. To consider loving ourselves the way God calls us to love all people – including ourselves:
    “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

    You too are “another”; a person. Re-read this post for a reminder.

    The love challenge towards ourselves is based on some of Paul’s lines from 1 Corinthians as well as my coaching experiences with clients (and with myself!).

    I am patient with myself.
    I am kind to myself.
    I am not rude to myself.
    I do not demand of myself.
    I keep no score of my wrongs.
    I do not replay my sins over and over in my mind, reinforcing the belief that I am not good enough.
    I forgive myself daily.
    I check-in with myself daily, asking about my own needs.
    There is nothing I cannot face. I hope all things. I endure all things.
    I pray for myself daily, asking God to open my eyes and my heart so I may see the TRUTH  of who I am; the Truth of who HE says I am.

    Re-read the sentences above, saying each one aloud. How true or authentic does each feel for you? Which one or two feel most important for you?

    In our exercise this week, we’ll practice with the one or two that we most want to bring into our self-relationship. And know that we have some powerful help with this:

    “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.“ – 1 John 4:16

    The Lord wants us to choose LOVE! To choose HOPE, KINDNESS, and POSITIVITY over default patterns of relating with ourselves. Lean into Him in this crucial aspect of our mothering. For all that we think, say, and represent in our mothering, ultimately flow from our inner conversation and the deep beliefs we hold about ourselves.

    EXERCISE: Practicing Self-Love Spend a few quiet minutes in prayer, and then follow the steps below:

    1. Choose one phrase or sentence from the list above that you want to experiment with today. Perhaps it will be “I am patient with myself” or “I do not demand of myself.”
    2. Write this phrase or sentence on an index card to carry with you all day. Read it aloud to yourself often throughout the day; reminding you of how you will relate with YOU today (i.e.: patiently and non-demanding). Allow this particular way of showing love guide your inner conversation today.
    3. As thoughts arise that are contrary to your phrase, simply acknowledge them and release them. Unhook yourself from that thought today. For me, that often sounds like this, “Yes, I hear you that there is a lot to do yet. We’ll get there. What we don’t finish will wait until tomorrow. You deserve a good night’s rest tonight.”
    4. At the end of the day, check-in with yourself:
      • What was it like to show love to yourself in this way today?
      • What impact did you notice, if any, on your external relationships?
      • How do you feel in this moment?

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Self-Love Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc. Self-Love Card

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  • fortitude

    This Week’s Word is…FORTITUDE

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Definition of Fortitude: Strength of mind to be courageous in overcoming obstacles, bearing adversity and resisting temptation for the sake of doing what is right, loving, and good.

    Oooh, give me some of that! I want to do what is right, loving, and good!

    And yet, just last night, I allowed myself to listen to that other voice in me. The voice of vacillation, or stopping short, or cowardice. I chose the easier path – more than once! I sat down to think about what gets in my way of practicing fortitude. Here are a few thoughts I came up with. Perhaps you can relate.

    • Not being crystal clear with myself about what doing “right, loving, and good” actually means and what it looks like in my life. I can easily move through my days on auto-pilot, without intention and focus. (Last week’s word was Intention. You can read that post here).
    • A Scarcity mindset: thoughts and beliefs of what I “should” or “shouldn’t” do; of who I’m “supposed to” or “not supposed to” be. When I try to live up to cultural norms and external expectations, I lose the focus and intention that Fortitude is all about.
    • An inner conversation that isn’t always supportive: Fortitude is easier to come by when I am relating with myself in a supportive and encouraging way. Fortitude is solid, grounded, and strong. I cultivate fortitude when I stand by myself, affirm my good choices, and ensure my inner dialogue is supportive (rather than critical or judgmental).

    The exercise below will help us bring intention to the bullet points above. Let’s also remember that Jesus is the model of fortitude. He spent His entire life doing what was right despite opposition. Especially now, during Lent, I will call on Him more and more, leaning into His strength and constancy when my own are wavering.

    EXERCISE: Fortitude in Action Spend a few quiet minutes in prayer, asking the following questions:

    1. Where in my mothering could I bring a bit more fortitude?
    2. What are the words or messages of my inner conversation that typically lead me to choose the easier path, and to NOT practice fortitude? (i.e.: “It’s not that big of a deal.” “Nobody will care anyway.” “You don’t have enough time…” “Do you think you’re better than them? They’re not worrying about it. Why should you?”
    3. What new words or messages could you speak to yourself, in order to support yourself in developing and practicing fortitude? (i.e.: “You’re strong, you can do this.” “This means a lot to you. Don’t shy away, for fear of what others will think.” “God, help me to take the extra step now. I know this is important to You (and to me).”)
    4. What will it look like when you practice greater fortitude? What will you be doing or saying differently?

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Fortitude Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc. Fortitude Card

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