what people think (series on maturity part 2)

I remember one day when my husband “fired” me from wondering what other people were thinking. I was like “but I need to think about these things so that I don’t fail, so I can be in control, so I won’t make them upset, and so that I won’t be rejected.” Okay so I didn’t have that much clarity when he “fired” me but NOW I know some reasons why I wanted to think about what they thought.
The fear of man and fear of rejection ruled so much of my life growing up. I wasn’t necessarily the most popular or confident girl on the block. I struggled so much with body image and fitting in. It was easier to just step back and look in on other people’s lives hoping to be included at some point.
I am not sure when I started worrying about what other people were thinking. Goes something like this. My thoughts, “if i do this, they will think this.” “Hey babe, if I do this then this person is going to think this…” “Okay, how do you know?” “I don’t know I just think that is what they will think.” Are you laughing yet or can you relate?? Or is that why you are laughing. Well, he thought this whole train of thought was pretty exhausting. And he was very patient and told me that I was “Fired” from thinking about what people are thinking. Fwew! I feel so much better now. Seriously, I set my mind to not thinking about it. Like a blank slate. It doesn’t mean I don’t care but I don’t need that anxiety in my life!
I took his advice and man growing up is hard to do. But someone has to do it!  Honestly it is easy to slip back into that way of life. But I have to say no to myself and “let it go!” (sing Frozen song here). I get to live my life asking God what he thinks. In a society where other people’s thoughts are readily available in print (aka the inter webs) its hard to avoid them. But I really want my motive to be from a place of freedom and seeking peace. I feel like these past three years my biggest battle has been anxiety (a fancy word for fear). The “what if’s” have crept in and plagued my sub-conscious.  I have a serious desire to defend or “Explain” myself or apologize for too much. So I stop. Like sit on my hands stop. I tell myself NO. Kind of like a fight with a donut when you are trying to lose weight. No Michelle, you have to walk away. You don’t have to explain yourself.
I love what my counselor’s friend once told her. She asked God one day about something she was worrying about. “God, are you worried about this?” Crickets. Nope He wasn’t moved or stressed out at all. Cool as a cucumber. Great. Now what? Sometimes I like anxiety. I like to worry about something or act like it is the end of the world. Now that I don’t get to, now what do I do? I would like to official throw a fit that I no longer get to fill in all the blanks for every relationship or thing that I am worrying about! I get to be at peace over here not knowing OR I get to ask more questions in order to find the real information. This is probably the root of so much of it. Growing up looks like asking questions. It looks like being fearless and not worrying about what someone else will say or do. 
It looks like God being our place of peace and the Holy Spirit leading our actions.
One of the biggest things that has changed in the past four years in my life is getting married and becoming a mom. I remember within days of getting engaged the advice began. I do not function well in a SEA of opinions. Its like my least favorite thing. I am growing in it but I really have struggled with it. Then within a month of being married we found out we were pregnant (honeymoon baby on purpose!!!;) and then began a new level of advice and opinions I was NOT prepared for. So many opinions.  And so many options. A girl like me can just wanna run and hide in the midst of this! And because the decisions were so new to me and so foreign (new mom!) I became more insecure than I had in years. Thus began the exposing of the quiet anxiety I had dealt with for years. The sleep deprivation, (especially having two babies in 20 months) oh the sleep deprivation made it impossible to hide any longer.
I was vulnerable and I honestly didn’t know it for about a year. Then it hit me. Wait…. I am 35 (at the time) years old. I have done many things and know a lot. Yes this is new to me. But I am not new to me. God, Help!!! So I reached out and started going to counseling.  And finally I felt like I could breath again. I am not a new human just starting out in the world. And the other part hit me like a ton of bricks (did I already say that phrase, sorry). I don’t have to know. I don’t have to do it perfect. This thing called life can be fixed even if I mess it up. These boys God gave me are His as well and my husbands and I am not alone in this. All of these opinions and advice and decisions don’t have to be answered right now or ever.
Wow the whole perfectionism and control and all that is another blog for another day. Okay take a deep breath (me not you, unless you need to).
Anyways. People are always thinking. But you do not have to fear or think about at all. You too can be free! Or get fired or whatever helps you to know you do not have to do it anymore. The end.

are you behaving? (a series on maturity)

What would happen if someone “bugged” your house? Like microphones and all that. They were listening but you didn’t know it. What would they hear you say? Would you be embarrassed? Would you be proud of yourself? Are you behaving?

I have thought of this several times this past year and knew that I personally would be embarrassed of what would be recorded and heard. In this past year I have felt very exhausted for multiple reasons and my mouth (often spoken of as my greatest blessing and my greatest curse) runs rampant when I am “tired!!” I made a conscious goal in my heart that I wanted to treat those in my house better than those that I see outside my house. I wanted to behave better at home than in public. If being home is permission to behave badly then I have a very skewed view of love, commitment, and family.  But, for reals, there is this unspoken clause in my subconscious that says its okay to “let loose” at home with those who love me most. That is where I am safe, where I am most forgiven, and so when my guard is down I love big!! And then I also misbehave. big.  I take my stress out on my husband and often my kiddos. Its not like I do it completely on purpose but it has caused me to re-evaluate why I do what I do.

I am not talking about being perfect. I promise I do not expect that from myself anymore. Because honestly that is IMPOSSIBLE. I have spent the better part of the past year trying to understand that fact. And it has helped so much. But I wanted to take it to another level. I wanted to see if I was the only one. Something has told us that we get to “be ourselves,” “let go,” and “get it off our shoulders” in these intimate relationships inside our home. We get to respond more harshly or vulnerably because they are our “family.” But I would venture to say that is a sign of immaturity and selfishness. I get to say “no” to myself and find more constructive ways to process my thoughts and feelings. But in the moment it is so hard.

Sing this to yourself. “Growing up is hard to do!” Because it is. Choosing to love those that live in your home and consider them above yourself is hard but you will reap the rewards. If you have given all that kind of love to everyone else outside your home and you have nothing left to give your family that is another issue altogether. We need to have boundaries with our energy. Your family doesn’t deserve to punished for your exhaustion and lack of saying no. I know I am preaching to the choir here of course. But I am taking a minute this year to do some soul searching and cancel my pity party. How can I love my three men more this year. I know I won’t always ACE that test but I know for a fact I can do MUCH better. I can behave better than I have and say no to the mentality that home is where I get to act however the wind blows that day.

Philippians  2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

I feel like we excel at doing this when people are watching or listening.  But in reality someone is always watching and listening. He is the teacher, leader, and helper in these times where we are tempted to “let loose!” He inviting us to ask for help and then we can excel in doing this in our homes, minivans, and when things are working out the way we thought. We get to behave and then we have peace in these relationships where God does His best work!

Untold Stories released!! Story behind the song “Believe!”

My very first CD, “Untold Stories” was released on November 15th, 2017! The response was so encouraging to my heart! I am so excited to get this music into your hands and ears to strengthen your walk and lift up your heart!

The first song, “Believe” came out of the season of grief after I lost my mom to a sudden car accident in 2006. She was such a huge part of my faith, life, and basically my best friend when I lost her. I was 25, single, and had just returned to America after two year working in missions overseas. She was my grounding in the world and in an instant she was gone. I felt so challenged to sing after I lost her. I sensed that God promised healing if I would do one of the most painful things I could think of. Sing. Seems so simple but that act of obedience was the most challenging one in my life to that date. So I would pick up my guitar and play the few chords I knew and I would sing. Sometimes I would sing a scripture that I felt in my heart and other times I would just let words come out of my heart. This song was one of those. After tragedy we often find ourselves questioning our faith, pushing against the God that we once simply trusted. I was honestly surprised that I found my grief drawing me closer to God not further away.

When I was a little girl my mom taught me to talk to God. I would get up in the night scared in my room and my mom told me to tell Jesus when I was scared. This began an innocent friendship with Him that continues to this day. God I am scared, God I am sad, God I need help. My prayers poured out year after year. Our conversations have always been my strength in hard times and biggest JOY in the good ones. I think in that moment my mom gave me the greatest gift she could have given me in life. Friendship with God. And that is exactly what helped me through the hardest time in my life. Losing my mom. So in this song I pour out all that I have. My belief. My faith. My hope. God it is yours. You can have it all. All of my heart. All of me. No matter what happens. I will continue to be your friend. I will continue to believe you. Even in my darkest time. The things that I thought would shake me the most. I still believe You!! That is what tumbled out of my heart one day. And as I sang that song my resolved strengthened.

I hope and pray that you feel encouraged in your resolve despite hardship and that you also find a friend in God. He has been my closest confidant in the midst of the biggest storms of my life.  And it all began with my mom stepping out in faith to teach my little heart. And that made a BIG difference!

Want to listen for yourself? Here are a couple links to help you!

iTunes        Amazon

Buy a physical copy? michellewick.com/product

Interested in reading more about my grief process? Here are the blogs I wrote in 2016 about it. The 10 year anniversary of her death.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

it doesn’t have to be perfect

Have you ever just wanted everything to fall into perfection? I understand that feeling. The success you feel when every single thing works out “just right!” That is mostly not normal life. I have been noticing that more and more as I get older. That expectation often leads to disappointment and frustration! 

I have spent the better part of the past year getting free from a false standard in my head that is not attainable for me.  In the midst of the that freedom I have found myself rising to accomplish things that I never thought possible! I lost weight, I forgave, I laughed more, and I avoided a lot of anxiety attacks. Releasing myself from having to be “perfect” was the very best thing I could have done. Even as I set out to release my CD there is nothing about it that could even be remotely perfect. Its been four years since I recorded it, I have two small children, I have a terminally ill father, and a challenging situation with my brother.  I don’t even personally have the band-width to “have it all together!”

I remember a day in my childhood when I realized last minute that I had a 4-H talk to give that night. My mom and I scrambled to pull together a talk about edible play dough. I think my mom was rather impressed that we got it read in time but the “honest engine” that I was told every one during my talk that we had just “pulled it together that night.” She was obviously embarrassed later when she told me that “we don’t have to tell everyone everything.” My response was “why not?”

We are set up in this world to worry constantly about what people think, what they might think, or trying to avoid them thinking about it all together. We are plagued by their maybe opinions, whoever “they” are.  You actually might know who “they” are. They have already made their opinions known and very apparent. Maybe a kid at school years ago who said you were fat, or a coworker you overhead talking about you negatively, or a fight with your sibling who said all the awful things you feared. We are not defined by these moments. We are not defined by the likes on our posts or the lack thereof. In the stillness there is an opinion that is spoken and that is honestly the opinion that has been changing my life for years. These quiet moments, when I let myself slow down and listen, these are the things that change me. More recently I have heard Him say that I am “precious”… this is not a word I have labeled myself with before.  I have many other opinions of myself.  So I let that word affect me. Precious. Cherished. Loved. Wanted. Seen. Known. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I am still in process. But through that whole process I am precious and loved. There is something about that knowledge that changes how I live, how I go into my day. But then I forget and I try to control. All because I still believe it HAS to be perfect. It has to fall into the lines of life and leak into the outsides. No spilling over here or… or what? What will happen if its not always perfect? Someone will find out that I don’t have it all together? Well I guess then now they have permission to ALSO not be perfect. There. Now we have fixed the worlds problems. Giving each other permission. Permission to be themselves.

Permission granted. Just be you. See what happens. Because we are all in process!

CD is coming soon!

Okay so its happening, finally! “Untold Stories” EP will be in your hands very soon. Thank you for waiting! Thank you for praying and for giving to this project! I can not tell you how much it means to me. I am so excited to share it with you now.

In May of 2013, I sent out my support letters to begin this project. So many of you faithfully gave to it and prayed for it to happen. I remember the tears I shed before I went to the first meeting to share my songs with my music producer. I believed the lie that my music wasn’t worth making a CD with. I lived with the fear that I am “not enough.” But I pushed through it and we made an awesome EP with songs to share now with you and the entire world. I couldn’t thank the producers or the band enough for this beautiful cd! I am so blessed to have worked with the greats in my book!

The CD itself was finished four whole years ago and I had full intentions to release it by Christmas 2013. And then my life got a bit turned upside down! I fell in love with this amazing man and everything else got put on HOLD. For reals I am not normally one who just lets important things go but engagement and planning a wedding became the most important part. And then it seemed to me in my heart and spirit that it wasn’t just my full life that was putting this work on hold. God was holding this back until the perfect time. I can see that now. I have had the chance to have two beautiful baby boys in the meantime and give my whole focus to them. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the world! I will continue to stay home with them but hope to spend more time doing music somehow! There is something special brewing in my heart and more songs to come.

I am so thankful for the chance to share it with you! I will keep you posted and also be looking for a new website. I am almost sad to say goodbye to my good ‘ole blogspot but the time has come to move on!

Even in the midst of everything going on in my life in the past six months I could not be more grateful for this season to be hearing the Lord encourage us to SING and to release music that was birthed in a place of worship, pain, and love for Him. I can not think of a better way to respond to trials! To consider it pure JOY like James says. A heart response that says I am going to turn away this pity party and make it a praise! That has been my question in the midst of this time. God how do I consider this “pure joy?” How do I do that and what does that look like? Well this is starting to sound like another blog for different day! Praying all is well with you!

Blessings and love,

Michelle

self love and Brene’ Brown

My counselor let me borrow her copy of “Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene’ Brown last month. I had honestly not cognitively heard of her before this point. I am usually the one dragging my feet to read or listen to the latest person i am “supposed” to read or listen to. So here I am. I would like to say that she should come with a sign that says “Enter At Your Own Risk” and lots of orange cones because this is not the type of information that you can just read and skip off happily away from. This is deep.

I knew it was going to be heavy so before I could even open the book I watched a couple videos of her off YouTube. Go ahead google her, you will thank me later! I think I watched 3 or 5 of her videos and then I felt like we had become friends or I had least heard her voice enough I can now hear it as I read the book. That helps me allow her to take me into these deep waters! And I told a few friends about her her too and texted them the videos! So now I have them on my page too! I didn’t really want to do all of this alone, now I have a cheering squad.

Here are my favorite videos so far:
Her first TED talk on vulnerability: https://youtu.be/iCvmsMzlF7o
Her second TED talk: https://youtu.be/psN1DORYYV0
About her daughter: https://youtu.be/h-JBMD4ok-8

Self hatred and rejection have long been something I have battled with. Perfectionism. Running from my story. Longing for another one. Any other story. Wanting to just control one part of life so I could keep it in order so I could feel safe and secure. Or the classic, “I will be who you want me to be so I can belong.” Maybe most people wouldn’t recognize these things in me, probably because I am being someone you want me to be. I don’t know. Mostly because I haven’t shared a whole lot about my past. It becomes challenging when the people involved may read this or be exposed by the writing of it. I am not sure how other people write about those personal things but I am not ready for all of that yet. 
So basically I am saying I don’t have the answers, not even one at this point. Just questions mostly. 
Do you know that if you don’t love yourself you actually can not love others? Not really. The limitation put on my heart to love others stops at how I treat myself. I almost just deleted this whole thing. lol. Well everything after the first paragraph. Oh well. 
“Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves.” (GofI pg 27)
What makes me worthy of love and belonging? What makes me worthy? or valuable? Do I think I am worthy? There are days I hate that I still struggle with these questions. Vicious cycle for reals. Let’s settle the question. You are worthy always, no matter what. (GotI pg 24) No. Matter. What. 
I am choosing to be courageous and ask these questions. I am setting aside all the other things that I could be doing or distracting myself with to take a look. 
What does it look like to be affectionate with myself? How would loving myself change my marriage, my parenting? The way I trust and love others? 
I want to at this point explain myself so people don’t think I am depressed lol. But oh well. Even if this is messy I am going to talk about it and do it. We don’t actually have to have it together all the time. I want my two year old and ten month old to understand that. To experience that. To know love and belonging and worthiness deep on the inside of themselves. To not apologize for who they are and their story. How do I make that happen because if I could control it I know I would!! Its this crazy thing called self-love and practicing it. Its more than a break to a coffee shop and buying myself a new tube of lipstick. 
Its the daily conversation inside my head. Its fighting for myself like I know my mom would if she were here. I am worth it. I am letting go and choosing to love me. No matter what happens. Vulnerable and fearless I will be. 

missing make up bag

Okay so about ten years ago the Lord really challenged me to do a “makeup feast” where I wore make up and did my hair and all the works every day for an entire month! It was a success and from then on I really started taking better care of myself and also started thinking more highly of myself. I had always struggled so much with self hatred that it was a needed time of heart change! 

So…as a mom it’s been hard to keep that positive outlook on myself. I have had two babies in two years and my body has changed in crazy ways not to mention it’s so challenging to keep myself showered or prettied up at all. Not all moms struggle with that but this mom does. And the hair just keeps falling out!! Yeesh! Since my second baby was born I have just kept my makeup in a bag and thrown it in the diaper bag or in my van and put it on in the parking lot before running into somewhere. 
But about ten days ago my makeup bag disappeared. I have searched pretty hard for it. And so now I guess I am on a makeup “fast” lol. After ten years I am completely make up less. And honestly although I am afraid my exhausted face may scare someone I am kind of happy. I do miss it. But there is a freedom in not wearing it right now. These past almost three weeks have been very stretching for me and the last thing I need to worry about is what someone thinks about my face. So I took this picture and did not put a filter on it just to show that I don’t look horrible! 
It actual proves in some ways that I have grown even more than I realized. I am beautiful in a way that I hadn’t been aware of before. Deep deep on the inside that shines out. God did an amazing miracle for me and saved my brother from death almost three weeks ago. I have such deep feelings of gratitude and love in my heart and it’s changing me. I don’t know how and I know it can’t be measured but something has happened. And I can’t go back. Our story is changed forever. Praise God! 
#makeupfast2017
Oh and since this happened it’s a perfect time to buy some organic natural make up to replace my bad-for-me CG and whatever else stuff. So leave some suggestions in the comments!

I’m back! I promise it doesn’t have to be Perfect!

Wow its been a while! I usually just jump in and post no matter how long it has been but it feels like this merits mentioning! My amazing husband is tending to our boys as well as cleaning up the dinner dishes and sent me to our room to “do whatever I want!” God Bless His sweet heart! I love him! Our youngest, Jonathan just turned 8 months old! Seriously feels impossible but yet my tiredness definitely feels like it is mostly possible! lol! Our oldest, David, is saying so many words right now that I have lost track and feel like I need his baby book at my side constantly to keep up with all of the developments! Yesterday he looked at me and mostly clearly said, “Momma can we go home now?” Wow, I was floored! His longest sentence to this date and it was in a very honoring question versus a fit or demand! There is hope that we are doing something right with these precious ones! I think it is a good thing for parents to stop, take a step back and congratulate ourselves! “We are doing a good job!!” Okay now carry on and clean up the mess they just made, lol!

My friend was telling me yesterday about how mommy blogs can be frustrating because when they give their ideas they say it like there is only one way to do something, like its law. I totally related to her frustration. I remember the day I realized that my pediatrician didn’t live at our house. I know it may seem obvious to you but I didn’t always want to do what she said and I was scared she was going to find out. But guess what?? I am a grown up and even though I haven’t ever raised a human previous to having kiddos I am figuring it out (with lots of help) day by day! And I am so thankful I am not alone. And I am so thankful for google but still its so challenging with you encounter advice that seems like a law. I really believe that it would be impossible for there to be only ONE way to do something or to cook or to care for children! We are all made so different! I don’t think the world would ever be what it is if there was only one way to raise babies, diaper, … you get the point.

I remember going through baby clothes and realizing that I had opinions about the clothes I put David in. I am not sure why that was such a big deal but right then I just made a stack of stuff I didn’t care for and put it in a bag and passed it on to my friend who was due soon with a little boy. Maybe she would like it because we were different people.

I think that life is just that. A process of discovering what we want and then walking it out. And realizing that it doesn’t have to be perfect! That sentence pretty much sums up the last year for me. I finally got really honest and found out that the expectation I had over myself as a wife and mom was PERFECTION. Nothing short of that would do! I was failing so much that I was getting very discouraged. I tried to explain to myself that an expectation like that was impossible but honestly I just was STUCK! Seriously. But at least I was out of denial! Here I am a complete failure because I couldn’t really get anything done ever! Alas that is the little years! So frustrating at times. But somehow through some honest processing and a few counseling sessions I have more peace. I am okay with the progress versus the perfection. God has massaged my hard heart and given me love in my heart for this Momma! There is a deeper sense in my heart right now of God’s approval than I have ever felt.

I am excited to see more lies get blown out of the water this year! What other places in my heart need uprooted?? Parenting is good for that! A great mirror for me. I pray I won’t look in the mirror and forget what I see!

Introducing Jonathan Daniel Wick!!

July 8th a whirlwind of Joy came into our lives and we are permanently blessed and changed forever! Introducing Jonathan Daniel Wick! Yes its a belated intro but anyone who has had two babies in two years will explain it all to you! 🙂

Jonathan Daniel is a joy bomb! A force of happy that is definitely to be reckoned with! He loves his brother and turns to smile at the sound of his daddy’s voice and is forever searching for that momma voice! He has certainly turned our world upside down!

His name Jonathan means “gift of God” and Daniel means “God is my judge!” I like to sing a little song to him that says Jonathan Daniel, a gift of God revealing His justice. He gives lots of mercy to his brother who is in a stage of wanting to lay on his brother, placing the full weight of his awesome 30 pounds upon his brother! Our house is a bit wild now and its just the beginning from what I have heard! We are just in love with both of these boys but covet your prayers as we raise them up in the fear of the Lord! There is no other place we would rather be right now in life but I will say it has challenged me more than I expected! But then again I didn’t really know what to expect and decided to not fear what I did not know and I had not yet done!

I get to stay home with both of them while my husband works full time and although we miss daddy each day I am so incredibly grateful to get to stay home with these sweet boys! David loves to climb up in the crib each time Jonathan wakes up from his sleep. He points at the mobile which I turn on and he snuggles up right next to Jonathan and wiggles around until I get the blanket “just” right. This has become our routine. I make sure I stop and let it happen each time, well until he get rowdy and decides its time for a doggy pile lol! Jonathan, like I said, is very forgiving as mommy rescues him!

These boys are both a Gift from God! We are so blessed!
We have also added to our number in the pet arena! We have our bunny Goodness, her new friends Buck and Little Girl, both also bunnies! As well as our new kitten Earl Grey Wick! We call him Grey! He is a cutie that got his first bath last night as well as a much needed nail trim!

Okay so that is us! The Wick family is growing and we love it! We will keep you posted!