Monthly Archives: March 2014

Don’t Beat Yourself Up


I cannot count the number of times I’ve had someone tell me, Don’t beat yourself up!

Apparently I’m not alone. There are many “people-pleasing” folk out there like me who are way too hard on themselves…and really for no good reason. I wish I could say I have a mild tendency to beat myself up, but I’d be lying. I am my own worst critic about everything- self-image, child raising, cooking, writing… I could go on.

I always knew this was an area of my life that needed to be addressed, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how much damage was (and is) being done. And it took a photo of Gideon to finally get my attention.

I love photos of sleeping babies (especially my own), but the one above highlighted something about Gideon that breaks my heart as a parent- the physical damage he does when he hits himself. In fact, just a few hours before I took this photo, he was self-stemming (hitting himself), and I actually said to him “don’t beat yourself up!”

As I looked at that photo and reminisced my own statement, I felt as if God was saying, “I feel the same way every time you beat yourself up.” It became clear that Gideon’s bruises were an outward reflection of my own inward beatings. Meaning the damage my son does to himself is visible; but over the years, I’ve done so much more invisible, self-damage with every harsh word and criticism.

Just like I don’t want Gideon to hurt himself, God doesn’t want us to hurt ourselves either. He created us in His image! Psalm 139 says that we were “knit together in our mother’s womb” and therefore we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Zephaniah 3:17 says he “delights in us… and rejoices over us with singing.”

Honestly, I’m not sure how we can stop Gideon from hurting himself. I can’t hold his hands down 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But I do know that, for myself, I can stop any further damage. I can replace Satan’s lies with God’s truth (Zeph 3:17 and Psalm 139 are great places to start!) I can re-read great resources like Lies Women Believe. I can seek guidance and prayer from some great accountability partners.

It’s simple, really. For those of us who don’t have a genetic disorder, it comes down to a choice. We can choose to believe what Satan thinks about us or we can choose to believe what God and His Word SAYS about us.

I think it’s important to also mention that little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. Our children know how we feel about ourselves. And studies show that our self image can spill over onto them. That concerns me for my 4 year old daughter.

It’s for that reason that I hope and pray that no one will ever again have to tell me, don’t beat yourself up!



Pleading with God

Please God, just let him sleep!!

I wonder how many times in the past 14 months I’ve said those exact words. If you’re a parent, chances are you’re all too familiar with that particular plea.

It’s the cry of my heart every time I put Gideon down for a nap or for the night….it was my plea today in the wee hours of the morning (2:30 am) as Gideon sounded like he was auditioning for a Soprano-1 part on Broadway.

I’ve told people recently that I’m not sure whether or not Gideon sleeps through the night any more. And up until this morning, that was true. But now I know he’s definitely not.

Last night I fell asleep with Laynie in her room…which is just across the hall from Gideon. Bad move on my part. You see, we’re mean parents at the Jolicoeur household. Since most kids with PBD have trouble sleeping, we have decided to turn the monitor off, shut the door, & turn on a loud fan…just so we don’t hear Gideon talk or cry.

In fact, I’m one sleepless night away from turning his room sound proof.

Sounds harsh, I know.

But when Gideon was about 10 months old I found myself in that “crazy place.” We moms don’t talk about the crazy place for two reasons- fear of judgement or because we’ve never truly been there. For most moms, the crazy place means that we understand why the nurses had to tell us “when the child is inconsolable, put him down and walk away…DON’T shake the baby!” If you can’t relate, then you had the perfect child- congrats to you.

So back to my early morning plea…God answered my plea at about 3:50 am but since my alarm goes off at 4:20 (for P31), I decided there was no point in going back to bed. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement.

Looking back on it now, I have to admit that my 2:30-am-self was angry with God. Even though He heard and answered my prayers, it wasn’t fast enough. He didn’t allow enough time for me to be able to go back to sleep.

Have you ever felt as if God’s timing is off? Sometimes in my pleading with the Lord I have to stop and read Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

Obviously the Lord knows something we do not. Therefore, we don’t get a say in the how-and-when-department regarding the plans of Lord. We have to trust that he’s molding and shaping us for whatever is to come. And if that means I conquer today on four hours of sleep, then so be it. His grace will be sufficient and I will lay my head down tonight (with ear plugs if necessary) and I will sleep then.

Maybe you’re like me and you know today is going to be tough- All the more reason to put your hope in the Lord now. Let me leave you with Isaiah 40:31-

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.



Rejoice in the Lord…Always?


Has someone ever spoken something that just broke you in the best way possible? I’m not talking about mean or hurtful words. I’m talking about truth- when God’s spoken word just breaks you and you know you’ll never be the same.

Last night was Growth Group- that’s what we call our Bible study group that meets every other week. We are currently watching a Matt Chandler video that is taking us through the the book of Philippians. If you’ve never heard of Matt Chandler, you should look him up. He’s the pastor at The Village church located here in North Texas, and he’s got an amazing testimony & passion for teaching God’s Word.

His teaching last night broke me. Seriously, crushed me to the core. So much so, that I almost got up and walked out. He taught over the following verse-

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:4-5 (ESV)

This is a pretty popular verse, chances are you’ve heard it. Let me explain why it crushed me.

During this video session Matt was talking about how this scripture calls us to rejoice in the Lord…always. Every second, of every day…rejoice. He said that’s easy to do when things are going well… but what about when things aren’t so great? What about when life falls apart?

He used the example of the time his son fell into a seizure. Barely breathing, he had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital. In the chaos of things, his wife hopped into the ambulance and Matt followed in his car. As he was trying to keep up with the ambulance, he fell behind and eventually lost them. Not knowing what hospital they were headed to, he called his wife and she didn’t answer. Basically he said he found himself sitting at red light, completely lost and completely helpless.

It was at this point in the video where he said, “In tragic situations like that, when there’s nothing we can do… How do we rejoice in Lord then?”

I can’t tell you how mad I was while he was preaching this message. I kept thinking, “What about Gideon? How am I supposed to rejoice in his suffering? How am I ever going to be able to stand at his funeral someday and still rejoice in the Lord???” Thankfully the Holy Spirit must have kept me in my seat, because the anger that was flourishing within almost made me leave the room.

Matt went on to say, that the key was in the last part of the verse. Let me show you-

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:4-5 (ESV)

We can rejoice, every second of every day of every week of every month of every year… because the The Lord is at hand. He is near. We’re not rejoicing because we are happy about our situation, but because the Lord is with us. In that horrible, terrifying, and seemingly hopeless moment, the Lord is right there by our side.

I’m sure you have been in a moment like that. Maybe you are there right now. Maybe you’re like me, and you know the storm is still a ways off, but it’s coming. The clouds are looming in the distance and the forecast is bleak at best. Listen carefully to God’s word- “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!….for the Lord is near!”

I love the rest of chapter 4 in Philippians. Take a second and read the verse in context. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

In the midst of my anger last night I realized that I may never understand why my son was born with PBD. But I also realized in my brokenness, I want to experience God’s peace over it, so I’ll rejoice. Not because the circumstances are great; but because God’s word tells me that when I rejoice, He’s with me. He is close to those who are brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and He’ll never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

And for that, we can rejoice… Always.