Heartache, Heavenly Prayer, and a Birthday

Heartache, Heavenly Prayer, and a Birthday

As I write into this piece, I ask the Good Lord Almighty “Hakadosh Baruch Hu, assist me in acceptance of this life you’ve granted me. This life is a bird’s eye view of brilliance. Far above the peaks of snow capped mountain ranges, and deep down into valleys with their glistening rivers I see Your Finger, gently touching, sculpting. I stop to observe, and yet You encourage me on. “Go!” You whisper. “I have greater plans for you.”

I follow downstream, noticing the gently rushing current of the river. It’s more than I can bear to watch’ movement beyond what I care to endure. It moves, ever more. I run, barefoot along the pebbles, pounding along the gravel. I am out of breath and panting. And yet, You urge me on.

I’ve lost all breath. It catches in my throat, as I sputter, going on. The recent run has tired me, and yet I know I must go on. I look Heavenward, and know there is a plan, an elusive ever destined route. Soft sweet grasses pass beneath my feet, intermingling the rocks, as I continue on, gentle bouts of water spurting from the stream forever moving on.

The waters continue on beside me, as I continue on beyond. Sun glistens below, upon the blades of grass, honeysuckle, milkweed. A gentle lapping upon the shore, and yet, there is no rest – I must continue on, for You urge me to continue on.

My footsteps falter in this tired site of beauty. For how can I continue on? You are right here and beside me, yet You urge me only, on,…on,…on….

“Child, take a step. One, and then. Continue on, beyond. Believe.”

“Climb beyond….”

“Take with you the memories of all you see. Build. Accept. And hold Me dear. I am near. I am always near.”

I continue on. One step, two, “Heavenly Father! Direct me! ASSIST ME! I know that you are here and yet I weep. The exhaustion, how am I to go on, and to sustain? I pray from You, Hashem….”

“Just keep on walking.”

I walk, I climb. I’ve left the beaten path. I see stream is far below. Honeysuckle, tall grasses, blinding skies above, and I climb, for I will climb. The sea beyond, with its great caps.

You Greatness, Your Vastness, Hashem, my Lord, I can’t imagine. You have a plan for me. I sink to my knees. And cry. I pray. Help me to continue on; to know You are directing me.

One more year, I’ll build great things. You’ve helped me to each day.

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Loving Your Strengths, Your Struggles, and Loving Yourself

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I am a single mom.

I’ve struggled with whether or not to write this article, and to publicize to the world that this is my lot. This is meant to be the blog for the Jewish mother, and in establishing my online voice I’ve thought I had to comply with the vision of life that I had hoped would manifest itself way back when; the one that I figured mothers could identify with. I realize now that that ain’t so.

In establishing this blog, Bitachon Balance and Blessing I wanted women to see themselves in the message portrayed. You may be struggling with chinuch. You may be experiencing a difficult marriage. Money may be tight. Shalom bayis may be difficult for you to attain. But in my mind, you were married, and raising your kids. In my mind, only the minority are divorced.

This blog was the brainchild of a woman who has grown through adversity. My writing, my thoughts, my tefilos are laced with the wisdom I’ve been granted through the times I’ve lost myself in pain and had to reach back for the sky, putting one foot in front of the other for days on end. And now with the opportunity presenting itself to stand as a pillar of hope for others, I felt myself shying away from my reality. Well, no more. I know that this is the source of the gift HKB”H wants me to send on through to the public. (Well, that and some creative juices and fun projects!)

What makes a mother? You’ve seen discussion of this concept in earlier posts, and you’ll see it again in future, without a doubt. A mother is the woman who gives of herself to the next generation, who takes the moral decisions she’s made to carry her and others forward. From the bleakest depths of the earth Hashem has cut diamonds of us. In writing these articles I hope to inspire you to accept and own your war scars, wearing them as medallions around your neck. Be brave. Stand up and applaud yourself for who it is that you’ve become, and utilize that person to propel you into the future.

You have so much to give, as you. Never hide it. Love yourself.

What is it in your own reality that you fear? Learn to accept and to own that pressure point, because it will produce pearls. And if you feel comfortable doing so, share it below.

Sharing in Life’s Challenges

Sharing in Life's ChallengesLast summer I was sitting in a friend’s backyard watching our kids play. The weather was perfect, and we were contemplating the upcoming school year. One friend shared some difficulties she was facing with her child. “I thought I was the only one dealing with that,” piped up another.

This set me thinking. It’s so easy to assume that everyone else has it easier than we do. Whether it’s a parenting issue, marital difficulty, health challenge, or anything else Gd has set upon our plates. Yet we must realize that He has given it to us, and no matter the hand we’re dealt, we must remember we have the ability to get through it. Hashem only gives us what we can handle. So the question begs, how?

By turning to one another for guidance, and to share in the burden.

Throughout challenges I’ve faced, I’ve come to appreciate this. We are never alone in our struggles. I’ve come to experience support groups, but also just to realize the strength of my friendships. The more bleak times have seemed, the more we hang upon one another for commiseration, for strength, for reassurance. Whether or not we’ve faced this fork in the road before, we know that someone else out there has, and made it through the beaten path. There is power in numbers.

So the next time you feel you’re doing it alone. Remember, you aren’t.

From Worker Mom to SAHM & Back Again… and Chocolate

I never thought I could be a stay at home mom. My son wstairs to successas active and sociable from birth, and I started him in a playgroup from a young age. I had just finished my degree and was considering what the future would hold for me. Whatever it would be, all day at home was not going to cut it as my itch for more grew stronger. I had more to offer the world than I could do from inside the walls of my home.

Until the day I finished my next degree.

My son was older, and I had spent months after month away from him, putting in late nights studying on campus. Family members graciously pitched in and took babysitting shifts morning, afternoon and evening to accommodate my schedule. I would come home each night intellectually drained and emotionally spent. Well, the effort paid off. I graduated at the top of the class.

And all I wanted was to know that I could live the life of the stay at home mom, and spend the time with my little one.

What changed? Life circumstances, and the pekel HaKadosh Baruch Hu had granted me. For the first time, I needed  to work to bring in parnassa. It wasn’t a choice, it was a clear message. “You need to go out and impact the world now.” And all I wished for was to impact my family; after all, family comes first, right?

Well, I’ve learnt that we aren’t the ones in charge here, and will continuously share from other examples as they crop up in daily life. No, we aren’t in charge of the circumstances.

We are in control of our reactions.

Remember that old Forest Gump quote? (bring on the twangy accent here!) “Life is like a box o’ chocolates, you never know what’re gonna get.” Well, we aren’t the ones who pick the chocolates. And sometimes the chocolates we’re gifted are the dark chocolates of the bunch. Remember though, dark chocolate is also referred to as bittersweet and to be honest it’s absolutely my preference.

We never know why we’re given circumstances in life. Why are we granted this test, or that challenge? I’ve watched as the money in the bank depletes itself. I know that I have to work. I also know that there is good to be given to the world through my doing so, at the same time as my little guy is needing his mama. So you know what I’m telling myself?

If the Good Lord has brought me here, and given me what seems like the dark chocolate, He will make it bittersweet. If he wants me to work, it is because it will benefit me, showing me strengths and my flaws. I will grow. As a person, and as a mother, I will grow. I will savour the precious moments will my little guy, and appreciate the quality, making each day count to the best of my ability.

I will strive, and I will thrive.

Moms out there, you are doing a fantastic job. Every moment you spend with your family is a chessed. You are growing these little beings, and shaping them by the very essence of your being. Whether you work or you’re home, know that it is what He wants of you, and He has given you the capability and the circumstances to see the situation as sweet.

Note: No chocolate was harmed in the writing of this post. That’s to say nothing of the chocolate that may be consumed after I hit publish.

Life is sweet. Savour the moments.

What Makes a Mother

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Have you ever thought about it?

Each of us is created of a partnership: G-d + father + mother = life.

Whether we have grown up with a mother in our lives or not; whether we have had a close, nurturing relationship with our mothers or not; whether we have known a biological mother or not, now is our time. It’s time that we take hold of this opportunity to become the best mothers we can be.

Mothering is not about perfection – it’s not about having doilies on dustless furniture like our Bubbies had, or about having dinner on the table every night at five o’clock before the kids go bouncing off the walls. And let me share a secret, it’s not even about having professional photos of the most adorable smiling faces all in matching outfits.

Being a mother is about being the nurturing woman you are, with the capabilities the Good Lord Above has blessed you with. HaKadosh Baruch Hu has given YOU strengths, weaknesses, talents and shortcomings that make you unique and valued as a member of the klal.

What we hold within us is incredible potential. We are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends, and we are changing the world one step at a time. Perfection is not measurable. Perfection is being you.

Now go be YOU and love yourself for it.