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Let's make a difference together by speaking words of life.

My Story

I love hearing other people’s stories, and I hope that my story encourages you as a mom who wants to think right, speak right, and respond right for your own life, your marriage, your parenting, and in your work or business.

Andrew and I have been married for eighteen years.  We met while I was in college in Florida. We dated while I taught high school in Pennsylvania. Then we got married and he brought me to Canada.  I love calling the USA and Canada home.

Andrew and I enjoyed five years of marital bliss.  We had lots of fun trying out businesses, attending real estate investing conferences, and just being together.  We both had great jobs.  We lived in a nice townhouse, owned our two cars, and didn’t have to think twice about what we bought or how much we spent.  Life was good. 

Then we had Charis, our first baby and that was a whole new territory for me. I had a hard time giving up my independence.  Now this sweet baby needed everything from me.  And I was a little shocked when Andrew was needy, too.  We didn’t know how to communicate well through this baby transition.

I don’t know if I realized then, but I know now that I had established some expectations over those five years about our always clean and tidy house, the ample time to spend together just the two of us, whose responsibilities were whose…. All of that got messed up and somehow we didn’t have the maturity to deal with it properly.

We upgraded our townhouse to a big, beautiful home because our baby needed a backyard to play in.  We upgraded our car which meant a car payment, I stayed home with Charis, and we began to feel a financial pinch.

We were still pursing our business and real estate goals, but a long story short, we were struggling. Remember, we looked good on the outside, but it was a different story on the inside.

I was stressed.  Overwhelmed.  Always saying I didn’t have enough time.  Working so hard and seeing very little results.  I didn’t like it when I shouted at my kids.  

I was short with Andrew, judgmental of him.  It was like he couldn’t do anything right and wasn’t good enough.  But I was feeling like I wasn’t getting anything right either.  I wasn’t good enough either.  I was just passing that frustration on to him.  How we hurt those we love the most.

My Story - Kimberly Muhtar - Renewed Mama Podcast Kimberly with a mad look on her face

Too Much Negativity

I let the spirit of negativity, judgment, and criticism take up residence in my heart and my mind.  I wanted things to be perfect.  It was unrealistic to think it would be. 

I focused on the overwhelm, the stress, the feelings of not good enough, always behind, running late…I listened to those lies.  They filled my thoughts and became the words I spoke out. 

I fed this critical spirit whenever I didn’t know how to calm the temper tantrums, whenever I couldn’t get everyone out the door on time.  Whenever, I couldn’t communicate with Andrew or my girls.  When I couldn’t keep the house tidy.  Even the little things set me off. I didn’t like the mom and wife I was becoming and I didn’t know how to change that.

You and I both know that what you focus on, you will have more of.  So my wrong thoughts became what I spoke out loud and how I responded. 

A Turn Around

We had our second daughter and some friends told us about a business conference they had been to. Andrew came back from that business conference a changed man.  He apologized and took responsibility for the mess we were in.  He wanted to make changes for the better.  I said, “Whatever happened to you at that conference, I like it and I want it, too.” 

We didn’t just learn about how to grow our businesses, we learned communication skills, we learned time management, about each other’s personalities and how to honor each other. 

It finally made sense how in our stress, overwhelm, and financial pressure we were responding from our own place of safety and security which was opposite to each other so we were actually clashing and not humbling ourselves enough to understand why.

We acknowledged how we let ego and pride have first place in our lives.  Remember wanting to look good on the outside, like we had it all together?

We got teachable. We listened and we followed directions. We made changes and we did it together. 

It didn’t happen overnight, but little by little we made heart, attitude, and mindset changes for the better.

God reminded me that “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”  Matthew 12:34.   “As a man thinks, so is he.”  Whew!  I knew those verses, but now I understood what they actually meant. 

When I stopped and looked at the fruit in my life like a fly on the wall, looking in to my life, what was  being playing out in my actions, how I was responding, how I was or wasn’t succeeding,  I realized the main problem was in my thoughts.

My Story - Kimberly Muhtar - Renewed Mama Podcast Kimberly holding cassette tapes with a tap player

The Problem was My Thoughts

My thinking, the words I was repeating in my head like a broken record, was all wrong.  Again, my thoughts were full of lies and defeat. And it was coming out of my mouth and spilling all over my sweet children and husband.  It wasn’t good.

God and I journeyed through His Word, and I became very intentional with my thoughts, the words I was saying, and how I was responding.  I acknowledged them and then said, “How can I change this God?”  What does Your Word say about this?

It was a slow but good work of changing my default thoughts, words, and how I responded to MIRROR what God says in His Word.  To focus on truth and not how I was feeling, especially when I felt overwhelmed or not having things under control.

When a situation would come up that was a trigger, I stopped and said, “Wait!  What’s actually going on here?  What does God say about this?  I can think right in this moment.  I can speak right.  I can respond right.  I want to.  I worship Him when I do.”

Many times my kids would say, “Mommy, why are you looking at me like that.”  It was because I was having this dialogue in my head.  “What’s actually going on here?  What does God say about this?  I can think right in this moment.  I can speak right.  I can respond right.  I want to.  I worship Him when I do.”

If it involved my kids, I would also think, “What do they need to hear in this moment?  How can I help them?” The goal is to help them to grow, too. To help them to think right, speak right, and respond right for themselves.

I encourage you to listen to two episodes of the Renewed Mama Podcast:

Episode 1 What’s in Your Word Bank?

Grab the free PDF WORD BANK and do the work of intentionally writing down the words you are thinking and speaking like I did.  Evaluate them even if it’s painful or eye opening and decide what you want to keep repeating and what you’ve got to kick out and replace with truth.

Episode 11 What are you SAYING Again and Again?

I talk about words that you are repeating again and again without even realizing it and how that is affecting you.

My Story - Kimberly Muhtar - Rnewed Mama Podcast Kimberly looking over book

Intentional with My Words

During this time, I was tutoring.  Students would come in and then leave and when we wouldn’t get the breakthrough I was hoping for.  I sensed that something was off.

I’d review the session in my mind and ask God, “What does this child need to hear?  There’s more to life than just math.  What truth do You want them to hear, God?” 

I’d write down in their file folder what I thought I should say during the next session.  Then I’d think, “When should I say it?  At the start when they walk in the door?  When I give them the math or reading page?  At the end before they leave?” 

I became super intentional with each student not just with the individualized activities or exercises we did but also with what I said.  Before they came in for their next session, I’d look over my notes to remind myself.  I’d pray.  And then I said it.  It worked!  Their beliefs changed from “I can’t do this.  Why do I have to do this?” to “I can do this.  I’ll keep trying.”

Parents would say, “I don’t know what you said or did, but she left your session a different person, so happy.”

Speak Life Badges Kimberly Muhtar and  daughter smiling

Speak Life Badges Began

Then in January of 2017, while attending a conference and asked God, “What can I do for You?” I had the vision of the Hello, My Name Is stickers you wear at meet and greets. 

But I knew God wanted these stickers to be for children and needed to speak to their character, their identity, who God created them to be by saying phrases like: I am brave, I overcame fear, I am kind, I can do the hard stuff, I use my energy to do amazing work, I am loved, I am a winner, I am wise, I speak the truth, I share.

Before I left that conference I had all of the sticker badges written down and was already writing the scripts or suggested words for parents and teachers to say to the child as they awarded them with the Speak Life Badge. 

That’s how Speak Life Badges began.  I went home and printed off Avery stickers with the badge phrases and began using them and the scripts on my children and tutoring students. 

Parents began wanting the stickers and scripts so that they could give them to their child and speak a better word over their children instead of being negative or defaulting to shouting.

Stories like Annie’s is why I do what I do with Speak Life Badges. 

Still on this Speak Life Journey

You know, I’m still on this Speak Life journey myself. Each day, I have to stop myself and check in with what I am thinking, what I am saying, and how I am responding in each area of my life.  It’s not a one-time thing.  Sometimes, it’s a moment by moment checking in. 

You and I both know that one minute things can be going along just fine and the next moment we’re all upset, annoyed by the kids, and responding in a way that makes us feel guilty.  And we need to go back and ask for forgiveness.

That’s why I began the Renewed Mama Podcast.  To help us to stay Renewed Mama’s together, not the roller coaster mama, up down, all around, but steady, strong, intentional, teachable, willing to humble ourselves and make it right when we mess up….and thriving all because we think right, speak right, and respond right even in the midst of the spilt milk, temper tantrums, and up in the middle of the night moments.

Austin's Kids Club Dad and Son getting a postcard out of a mail box

Austin’s Kids Club

When the world was told to stay home, Andrew and I said, “Why don’t we take Austin the Hedgehog, our mascot for Speak Life Badges and have him send postcards and mailbox surprises to kids? We can send them fun activity postcards in the mail that teach them life lessons without screen time.” That’s what we did and still do. We send postcards all over the USA and Canada.

When parents say that their children keep Austin’s postcards in their special box or drawer, or that they want to make a scrapbook out of them, or that Austin’s coloring pages are hanging on the fridge that just fills me up.

So That’s My Story

One time, my daughter while giving me a big hug shouted, “You are the best mommy ever!”  It was because I had just given them extra IPAD time! I said, “Oh, that doesn’t make me the best mommy ever. Tell me I’m the best mommy ever when I think right, speak right, and respond right.”

I bless you, Mama.  I John 1:16 says “Of His fullness, we have all received and grace upon grace.” From Jesus through His death on the cross, you have received His Kingdom fullness (that’s salvation, health, provision, favor, victory, wisdom).  II Peter 1:3 There was already grace for you through Jesus Christ and He keeps extending more and more grace and favor. Do the same for your husband and children….extend grace upon grace in how you think, speak, and respond.

Now it’s Your Turn

I would love to hear your story.  Tell me about you, what you do, and why you do it in the comments below.

All of my love to you.  If you have any questions about thinking right, speaking right, and responding right, I am here to help. 

Ask your question by sending me a voice message using the recording app found on the main page of speaklifebadges.com.  Or ask your question in the comments below.

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