Friday, October 1, 2010

"Filing" Criticism.

A year ago, I decided to start this blog, and didn't have much of a purpose except to get some feelings out that were holding back single moms, and to change some minds. Alaina Sheer, also known by the pseudonym Ms. Single Mama, encouraged me on this first post, and later added me to her list of "Approved" blogs, which was one of the things that actually kept me writing. There were so many times I wanted to quit. Having 20 readers was discouraging, because I felt like my voice didn't matter. But, as the blog has evolved, I have felt it was most important to give encouragement to single mothers, regardless of who read what I had to say. Just openly sharing my daily experiences, showing that as imperfect as our lives may be, we CAN make something great of what we have and give our children our very best became my heart's desire.

I've learned through much trial and MUCH error, that it's the voice in my heart that matters most. And, as long as that voice is directed by God's principles, for me, I've had wonderful peace to enjoy as a result of making choices that have "purpose". Not just aimlessly weighing pros and cons of each choice, trying to reason out what would be the "smartest" course, but truly going where my heart for God and passion for His purposes both take me.

People often ask how I accomplish everything I do during any given week. One of the answers is that I'm not obsessive about how clean my house is... and if you'd visit me you'd likely find the living room strewn with toys and dishes in the sink. That's reality. I'm not perfect, but I'm living MY life to the best of MY ability. Choosing MY priorities. I'm gradually easing myself into total self-sufficiency, and have a great deal of blessings and wonderful people who help get me there. My family, friends and people who have had spiritual influence have all contributed to what I've achieved, and nothing I've done would have even been possible without them. One step at a time, I'm gradually improving my heart and my life after devastating loss. "It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security."--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I've been criticized over the years, and told by MANY outsiders what I "should" or "should not" do, and for a long time I berated myself and stopped believing in what I was capable of due to these influences. I've been told everything from, "You should give up your twins for adoption," to "You have such a beautiful family, you are very blessed" (from people who don't know I'm single) "You should home school your kids,"to "You should have them in daycare all day every day and get a job," to "You should never date" or "You'll be married in a year, I just know it!" to "You should never accept help, it shows your weakness," to "God is providing for your every need, don't feel needy, feel grateful." Every different end of the spectrum on every different topic concerning my life. I welcome advice, mostly because I'm curious about the true thoughts of others (which is often revealed through so-called helpful advice) but it can be overwhelming to process. Where to file it, if you will.

I've learned to take 90% of the things that come out of the mouths of others and file it in the "circular bin".... the trash. When it comes to the complexity of each human life, what shapes us and drives us, how could ANYONE truly understand us in a deep personal way (except God) ? Our strengths, weaknesses, secret prayers, goals.... these are all things that get muddled with changing circumstance. Yet, there is something of permanence inside each of our souls - something that DRIVES us in a larger sense. Something so unshakably true that we ARE this something... whatever that may be. The quieter we are, and the more we listen to this deep, personal part of our heart, the more we live from our heart instead of our flesh (or our simple reactions to our environment and history). That other blessed 10% that is heartfelt, Godly wisdom meant to help us improve or see things we don't see ourselves, I file in my mind to evaluate when I am ready. I'll have quiet time with God and just let Him direct me to the solutions to these "problems".

One of the sources I find for increasing the peace in my daily life has come from books. One of the most influential people in my life (next to the members of my own family) has been Daryl Kraft, who has become like family to me. At times in my life that I couldn't even breathe without feeling pain, he and his wife Sherryl took it upon themselves to help me to see the hope in my circumstances, and the glorious gifts God has given me. As a successful business owner and his wife who is actively involved in the community, they had so little free time, but set aside time to help me in my worst, and laugh with me during my success.

If I had listened to my critics, I wouldn't have this blog with over 300 dedicated readers and hundreds of page visits daily. I wouldn't have my darling children that I love more than life itself. I wouldn't be in school. I wouldn't have the boys in preschool, which they LOVE and has been such a help to my parenting. I wouldn't be exactly where I am today, and I'm SO thankful I listened to the voice in my heart instead of outside influences.


  1. Wow! I can't believe that someone suggested that you give your children up for adoption! That's a HORRIBLE thing to say!

    Thank the Lord nobody ever said that to me, as I had my daughter out of wedlock. A couple of people had insinuated that should I consider terminating my unplanned pregnancy for sake of convenience, but I would NEVER, EVER do that, as it is one of the worst things a person can do!

    I commend you for sticking to your guns and disregarding all the bad advice out there. You are one smart momma!

    By the way, I'd love to have you guest post on my blog, if you're interested. :-)

    Take care!

  2. Good for you, sticking to YOUR guns, too! I bet you wouldn't change a thing, either!

    I'd love to guest blog for you. Shoot me an email and we'll figure out what direction you'd like to take and make it happen. :)

  3. I am truley thankful for my children. Through everything that has gone on in the past few years. They have been my strength to forgive & to move truley live & enjoy everyday! :)

  4. Erin you really are an inspiration to me & so many!! Watching you grow through this time in your life has been amazing, I can really see where the hand of God has been on you & the boys.

    As for me... I'm thankful that God has blessed me with this pregnancy. Being diagnosed with PCOS at 19 and being told it was the leading cause of infertility scared me that I'd never have a baby (the only thing I ever wanted to do). We weren't trying or even planning on this right now but God knew what He was doing & I'm so blessed that I am 6 months pregnant and am excited to meet this little one He has blessed us with.

  5. Erin, I'd love to have you guest post on my blog on any topic you want to write about!

    I'll shoot you an email today.

    Thanks so much! :-)

  6. Jennifer LoveOctober 05, 2010

    I truly understand what you are saying.. I have felt tugged by "helpful criticism". To have my son or not.. Even my own doctor telling me to not have my child, because the pain the pregnancy would put me through. How I should raise him alone by myself.. Whether I should ever date again or not.. To be less obsessive compulsive or to spoil him less... Or what ever it may be.. But, when I sit down and talk to God.. It's peaceful.. Not loud chatter and useless opinions.. It is direction and guidance.. And sometimes not even the answers I may have been looking for, but still came peacefully! That's how I knew what to listen to!
    So, what am I most thankful for?
    Testimony! Mine, Yours, My sons.. and many others.. The talks with God and struggles, battles, successes... The doors closed that opened new ones. The ability to stand up and say.. Thank God! He shall provide all my needs!
    I of course am thankful for my wonderful gorgeous son, my supportive family (mother and sisters) my wonderful boyfriend... my pain Dr... Not to mention that awesome support of my church family, my boyfriends church and his family.. There is so much earthly stuff to be thankful for... But only through God himself!

    And I am thankful for you! :) Someone I can read a blog from, and shake my head in agreement, so many times per blog that my boyfriend begins to question what I must be reading.. The ability to feel not alone in my battles and struggles.. some may not be identical but all have similarities...

    Keep up all you do! You inspire, reach, and touch many lives with such a positive hand.

    ~Jennifer Love
    St.Paul, MN

  7. Traci and Shanon - children are the most incredible blessing! I'm glad you're both as thankful for your babies as I am for mine!

    Jennifer - what a heartwarming comment! You absolutely made my week. It's so good to know that "putting myself out there" has impacted you in a positive way, and that my testimony has been useful for you to hear as well. I am so blessed by the advice and encouragement I've received... even more so by the ability to pass it on!