Ronda was my next-door neighbor in Virginia. She and her husband bought their home shortly after we bought ours. Our oldest two kids are the same ages and in fact, both of our 12-year-old’s are redheads. So fun! Ronda was the best neighbor. She always invited us over for holidays and other events. She and her husband Jason are such good people. Here’s the deal though, I never got to know Ronda on a deep level. I was so wrapped up in my busy life of two little kids etc. that I never asked her deeper questions. I never took the time to really get to know Ronda. I regret that. I’ve changed a lot since my struggle with depression etc. I value relationships more. I’m grateful Ronda and I still keep in touch through social media and I’m so so grateful she was willing to share her story of finding peace in herself and with God.

Ronda’s Story:

Hi, my name is Ronda. I am a wife, mother of 3 wild boys, and work in the SPED department at a local high school. I am originally from California, but have my current residence in northern Virginia. I have a big heart, and I am a people pleaser. As I get older (almost 45-years-old now) I am re-learning my worth. Also, since late in my teen years, I have longed for a place that felt like home. Can anyone relate?

I was raised in a what seemed like a perfect Christian home. I went to church with my family and went to private school until 6th grade. I never thought divorce would occur in my family. Fast forward to when I was about 19, and yep, my parents divorced. The only place that seemed normal was Grandma’s house. She and her home were exactly the same. It was safe and warm. Comfort at its finest. 

I decided when I was 24, I needed a new start, and moved to Louisiana. This is where my mom moved after the divorce and where my mother’s side of family lived. I thought for sure home will be there. Nope, not a fit. Wonderful people, but not a place for me. 

Fast forward a few years, and I move back to California. Met my husband and had our firstborn son. He got a call for a new job in Northern Virginia, and off into the sunset we went. As I sit here today, I cannot say Virginia has been bad. In fact, we have had 2 more sons, bought a house, and we both have fabulous jobs. Being in a new place and having young children I yearned for friends, other moms to hang out with and understand me, a place to feel my worth and to feel validated. So, I joined our elementary school PTO. I even eventually, became the PTO President. I am shaking my head at this right now. If you are looking to feel validated and worthy, the PTO is NOT where you will find it! I am in no way saying volunteering for PTO, or any organization is bad. In fact, I feel is necessary. Just not to the point of giving yourself away, to exhaustion. I really wanted to just share my time and talents. However, with the good comes the bad, and my people pleasing was in the forefront. I did learn and grow during this time and my PTO board and I were very successful, despite the heavy criticism.  We worked our tushes off! The only good thing to come from that experience was the close bonds of sisterhood I developed with three ladies, Becky, Amanda, and Letitia and the support we helped provide our children’s school. I already had about a handful of friends in another city 15 minutes south, but having sister like friendships 5 minutes from home was what I like to say was a divine intervention. God sent them to me. 

While I was PTO President, as I said above, I had severely depleted myself, in every way possible. I gave it all away and had nothing left for myself. With the help of my sisters and husband, I realized I was in desperate shape. January 2018, I made a change in my exercise and diet and realized I was worthy of better! And I then reached out to my step-sister in Utah. I needed an adventure! Nature was calling.

A few years ago, my husband, my boys, and I got a Groupon for a cabin in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The Smoky Mountains look and smell like Heaven on earth! I have never felt so much peace in my life! It felt like I was home! We have since been back twice. Once for our 10-year Anniversary and again with my father and family for Thanksgiving. Every time, it felt like home. If you want to make me happy, take me to the mountains. I never knew this about myself! Ronda, a mountain girl!

So, after I finished my duties in 2018 as PTO President, I knew I needed mountains. I traveled to Utah, Idaho, and Yellowstone, and visited with family and friends. I went white water rafting in Yellowstone. I went trap shooting with my dad in Yellowstone. I was home once again! Side note, I went without my kids or hubby. I needed time to be me. It is not selfish, it was necessary.

Long story short, I found my home in GOD! He gave me the friends my soul desired. He gave me the family that I needed. He has built this beautiful land for us to restore ourselves! He shows us we are worthy. We never need to question that! When we seek the worlds approval (PTO, friends or family who gossip, bad jobs, keeping up with the Jones’s, just to name a few), we will never find that validation. We will never find peace. You will never find your home. 

God never asks us to give more than we can give. We take that on ourselves. If we sit patiently, and we are rested for His work and needs, we will never be put out or tired. In fact, I know it is from God when I am full of joy and peace.

We are worthy and loved. He will supply all our needs. He will restore you! God is our home. Our comfort and peace. He will send you His best in friends. Most times, when God sends these special friends, they become family. You find comfort and understanding. You never have to fight for their attention. You never have to worry for their approval or if they will talk behind your back. When God sends his best, know your soul will feel complete. He will send you that perfect job! He did for me, and that is a whole other story!

And mommas, or daddies, when you need a moment to yourself. Go for that drive! Go to your place of peace. Smell that open air. You are worth it! You need that peace to be a complete and healthy person. You need time rest and restoration. You need HIM!