Friday, July 22, 2016

What I Have Learned This Week

What I have learned this week is a lot of things that I likely already knew but I was reminded of from real life circumstances. I learned that life is hard. I learned that letting go of things can be uncomfortable and tricky but necessary. I learned that when your figurative plate is full, you have a tendency to drop it and break it, shattering everything on it in the floor. I was reminded that those that love you the most can hurt you the most. I learned that the closer you get to God, the more satan attacks where you are most vulnerable. I've learned that just when you think you have passed through the valley and are on the upward swing, another dark cloud can come. Perception is key and pride can destroy almost anything. People feel loved and give love in different ways and it is important to know the difference. I've learned....well, I've admitted that social media is a major source of anxiety for me. I've learned that I CAN live without social media. When things were really tough at times, I ran to Jesus instead of my friends. That's the right thing to do. Jesus wants me to run to him. My friends wish I did less running to them. That's what I learned this week. I learned that sometimes I get too sensitive. That drives people away. It's a miracle I still have any friends. I learned that I am loud and obnoxious...a friend told me that today. I learned that sometimes it feels good to sit in the closet floor and cry...a lot. Sometimes it feels good to yell...really loud. And I learned that I am much more of an introvert than I once realized.

Above all, I learned that God is big. He's so so so GOOD!! He is working in my heart, in my soul, in my mind, through my sorrows, through my heartaches, despite my flaws, and He LOVES me! He wants me to trust Him. Fully, completely, above anyone and anything trust and depend on Him! He alone can fill and satisfy.

It's been an incredibly hard week but experiencing the amazing work of Christ...worth it. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Trust or Faith?

The definition of trust is: belief that someone or something is good, honest, reliable, and effective. It is the assured reliance on the characterabilitystrength, or truth of someone or something. It can also be defined as one in which confidence is placed. 

Faith is a strong belief or trust in someone or something. The dictionary defines faith as complete trust. The Bible defines faith as the "confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (Hebrews 11:1) 

Are these two things the same? Is one dependent on the other? That question may be for someone a tad smarter than me but I will tell you what I do know.

I know that trust does not come easy for me. I know that hurt has been a real part of my life. I know that I don't like it. I know that I have walls. Tall ones. I know that I have a tendency to be cold towards people and not even realize it...especially if I have even an inkling that I will be hurt. I know that even today...this very day, that satan has told me that I am not worthy of anyone's love and when others tell me they love me it is out of pity and obligation. Maybe it is. Who knows for sure. 

I also know that I have been protected from some ugly stuff in my life with a protection that is quite unexplainable. I was delivered from sin and convicted from a place so deep within that there is only one possible explanation. I know that tiny life was formed from nothing and was weaved and formed inside my body more than once. The product of those miracles now walk around my house and cause me more anxiety than I will ever experience again. Only one being can create that. 

My trust and my faith are in a God that created me in His image. He chose me and He loves me. He spoke life into my soul and He redeemed me from the very mess I created for myself. By faith I chose to believe that He lived, He died, He was buried, He was resurrected, He still loves today, and one day, He is coming back for me! 

My days have been very very hard lately. I cannot explain to you why, because honestly, I am not really sure. My emotions are all over the place. I'm closer to God than I have ever been and the devil is utterly aware of that. He knows my insecurities. He knows I'm sensitive. He knows I get my feelings hurt easily and he uses what he can to attack me. A lot of days, he ends up getting a good hold of me. Does he win? No! Because of whose I am! 

Do I trust fully in God? I'm trying. I feel like it's a process. I read something recently that asked if we trust in God like our life depended on it. Like a newborn baby trusts his mom. For everything. I can't say that I'm there...but I'm trying.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Somedays You Just.....

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose...that's how the saying goes, right? I think it is safe to say that someDAYS we win and someDAYS we lose...especially as parents. Y'all, if you are a parent you totally understand where I am today, I guarantee it. 

As most of you know, I have three girls - ages 9, 7, and 14...oops, I mean 4. My girls are such a treasure to me. God's grace is not lost on me, especially when I look in the face of my beautiful children. But being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. Ever. I feel ill equipped, unworthy, frustrated, and just downright defeated sometimes. How can someone so small have so much power over you?! 

The reason why we make ourselves crazy where our kids are concerned is because we want them to grow up and be decent, functioning people in society. I would love for my kids to become something productive one day...helping others and living as God would have them. It's my greatest desire to see my children come to the Lord and two have already. More than that, though, I want to be able to witness them living for Him, telling others about Him, and wanting Him to be the center of their lives. That's what I want more than anything. And let's face it, I would rather not know that they are sitting on a therapist's couch telling her what a horrible parent I was. It would break my heart for them to go to others for motherly advice, wisdom, and love because they didn't feel like they got it from me. was not a good parenting day. I feel like, somehow I failed my kids but I can't quite put my finger on how. The evidence? They were TERRIBLE!!!! I have not seen Hannah act and talk like that probably ever! Even Rachel ended the day in tears sorry for how she acted today. Lauren is going through a phase right now but was worse than usual today. It makes me sad. Yes, they are children and they will have days like this, but somehow I think I could have done better. Did they need more from me? Probably. Maybe they will forget today. I'd be okay with that.

My prayer is that God will help me love these kids He has entrusted to me like He does. They need specific things at specific times. I pray that He leads me to help shepherd their hearts and shape their minds to be more like Him. In the process, we can all grow closer to the Lord. 

His mercies are new every morning!  Praise the Lord! 

Friday, July 15, 2016


Even on the crummiest of days, God is still good!! 

He gives us people in our life to remind us that He loves us! 

Friends help us remember to laugh....even when all we want to do is cry. 

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve. Yes, today had some rough moments that reminded me that people are not always nice and that life is not always easy, but God is ALWAYS good!! I am so grateful for the friends He has given me. 💜💜 I love them dearly and I will NEVER take them for granted. Never. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

What If....I am Fearful?

Flying?  Nah. I like it.  It doesn't bother me.  Actually, it is even a little bit thrilling.  I mean, the take off...sometimes that can really be a big rush!  Roller coasters.  The anticipation might turn my stomach but it isn't scary.  It is exciting!  I love the excitement of the twists and turns.  Bees.  Now, my husband, he has a fear of bees.  Well, any flying, stinging insect, really.  Not me.  Just walk past them, and for the most part, they won't bother you.  If they sting you, it...well, stings, and then it goes away.  

fearan unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.  

I am afraid of spiders.  They are sneaky and creepy crawly.  I feel like they are just kind of out to get me.  Storms!  I am TERRIFIED of storms.  Fearful does not even begin to describe how I get during a bad storm, especially when tornadoes and sirens are involved.  I am scared of the dark, of huge giant roaches (I call them water bugs), of loud yelling, and any kind of fighting (adults) will likely cause me to get in a fetal position. 

I am afraid of losing all of my friends and feeling alone.  I am afraid of trusting people.  I am afraid of everyone that I love leaving me.  I am afraid of making people mad and of messing up.  I am afraid of not being fixable.  

Those are the things that I lay awake at night thinking about.  What if I said something today that caused that person to hate me forever? Will they ever forgive me?  Am I even worthy of to be forgiven by them?  I didn't deserve their friendship anyway.  I might as well just forget they ever knew me.  But then, they might tell someone else what I did and then that person will hate me too.  

Yes.  It is messed up thinking and it is insecure garbage but vulnerability nailed to the wall, this is me.  It is exhausting.  It is not from God and likely 98% of the time, my friends DO NOT think or do this!!!!  (I am guessing, as most of the time, I keep all of this nonsense to myself for FEAR that if they knew I was thinking all of that they would find me to be "too much" and drop me like a hot potato)!  

I have always said that I am not a fearful person but I am.  I am fearful of many things.  I think we all have some fears.  What do we do with our fear?  And what is it that we fear most?  Do we fear trusting God?  I read one time a quote that said, "When we don't trust God, we are saying that we think we can handle our problems better than He can."  

Three different times yesterday I had three different people tell me that "perfect love casts out fear."  That comes from the book of 1 John in the New Testament.  I was fearful of something yesterday that I shared with exactly two people, but for some reason, God laid me on a third person's heart and that verse was perfect timing from all three of these precious friends.  

It is interesting because until yesterday, I would tell you that I am not a fearful person.  I don't panic much.  I am not a helicopter mom to my kids and I am not in constant fear and worry about what might happen to them, but I worry about other things.  Some may say silly things...and perhaps they are.  The second part of that same verse in 1 John says, "the one who fears has not reached perfection in love."  I have not reached anything...even in love.  

So, what if....I am fearful?  God has an answer.  The verse right before the one above says, "As we live in God, our love grows more perfect (or complete)."  No, I have not reached perfection in love, but as I continue to live and grow in God's goodness, my love will grow more perfect....not because of anything I have done, but because of God alone.  For God's love casts out fear!  

Starting to read this book this week by Angie Smith.

 I'll let you know what I think!  

PS:  Anyone who would like to join me in some type of summer reading club - and NO I have no idea what that looks like - let me know!! I love to read and would love to exchange books and talk about the books we read.

17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

1 John 4:17-18

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Am Saying, "Yes"

Sometimes when it is almost super late-30, your FitBit is screaming at you regarding the fact that you have registered nearly 16,000 steps, and your alarm went off at 4:00 am summoning you to work out, the logical thing to do would be to go to bed.  Yes, that is what seems like the smart thing to do, but sometimes God lays a message on your heart that you feel like you need to share. **Besides, I was waiting up to see my friend, Candace, AKA ChewbaccaMaskMama, on The Late Late Show!!!  Is she not hilarious?!  So happy for her.**

I cannot express how incredible the past few months have been for me.  There have been days that were so incredibly painful that I did not want to get out of bed, much less talk to anyone, but persevere I did.  No, nothing major has happened but I have struggled with emotional days that I cannot explain.  What keeps me going?  Joy that only comes from Jesus Christ.  My daily walk with God, my quiet time that speaks to my heart and mind more than I can explain, and my beautiful friends that pray with and for me.  

I have never been an incredibly devoted Bible studier or prayerful person.  There have been brief periods of time where I would read the Bible for a few weeks but nothing incredibly consistent.  I am known to my close friends as one who does not finish Bible studies.  I have traditionally been one of those people, yes, those people that I get really irritated with that say they are praying but really aren't.  It's a good "Sunday school" answer.  That isn't exactly fair.  I mean, I always have good intentions but the follow through was where I lacked.  I have changed.  God has changed me.  

I shared on my blog recently that in the early fall last year, God rocked my world, asked me to put my big girl panties on, and really deal with grown up stuff.  While it was (and still is) painful, I will be forever grateful for what God is doing in those situations and in my life, personally.  As I type this, I get tearful, because I cannot grasp how wonderful He truly is.  He changed me.  

Beginning the first of this year, I made a commitment to read my Bible every day.  I knew it was something that would be hard for me because of my schedule and how busy I was, but I also knew that it HAD to be a priority.  I found a blogger mom who posted calendars with a verse on each day.  The goal is to write the Scripture verse and then journal about.  I did this for about 3 months every day.  Then, I started a Bible study, then another and my heart and mind changed into something different.  I no longer felt the need to read my Bible daily, I wanted to.  I cannot wait to find out each day what God is going to teach me through is Word and by talking directly to Him about my desires, wants, needs, praises, requests, thankfulness, etc.  

I no longer do the daily calendar verses because I am doing a study in Hebrews as well as a study with our women's ministry in 1 Peter.  We finished up the last women's ministry Bible study and took a 2-week break.  I did not want to take a break and the reason was two-fold.  I wanted to keep reading God's Word, and I knew that on my own, I might not be as faithful as I needed to be at that time.  So, I downloaded the Hebrews study and started it on my own with the intention of stopping when we started the 1 Peter study.  In those two weeks, I had already gotten to about the 3rd week in Hebrews and I could not stop.  I was LOVING it!!!  So now, I am one week away from finishing Hebrews - a 12-week study and two weeks away from finished 1 Peter - a 7-week study.  

I plan to blog about what God has taught me through these studies - well, a glimpse anyway, but for today, I am moved to discuss what I have learned the last few days.  In short, I have realized that I can trust God with my everything.  I know, truly know, that God is faithful.  I know that, if I believe God is who He says He is, then I have to put my "yes" on the table in obedience.  I know that He deserves my whole self as an act of spiritual worship, as that is the only thing that is acceptable to Him.  

When I got to Hebrews 11, I knew the passage pretty well.  The interesting thing is that when I started actually reading it, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I remember just sitting in my car in the parking garage before work sobbing after coming to the realization that all of these people I was reading about were faithful, yes, but they were broken.  They were sinful.  They were not perfect but GOD USED THEM!!!!  Not one of them was worthy of what God did in their lives but He did it anyway.  Why?  Because He is merciful and He is full of grace.  This was huge for me coming off of the recent revelation that God had given me several weeks back - that I am to seek His approval alone, not anyone else's.  I am not perfect but God can use me.  I have never felt good enough.  I measure myself against friends and peers.  I compare myself to those that I find, in my small mind, to be worthy of whatever it is I am seeking at the moment.  In the car, that morning, I realized that I am just as worthy as those "greats" that I have been reading about all of my life - Abraham, Noah, Sarah, David, Rahab.  God loves me just as much as He loved them and I can be used.  That morning, I said "yes."  I told God, "Whatever it is, even if that means going to another country to proclaim your truth, I will do it."  

Sunday morning, my Bible study included the verses, "Since we are receiving a kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe.  For our God is a devouring fire."  Hebrews 12:28-29.  I wrote that morning, "We should have a heart of worship that is acceptable to Him."  Later, that day during the sermon at church, Bro. Tommy preached from Malachi 1:6-14.  The jest of it was that Israel was bringing to God their leftovers.  They were honoring others and there was no honor left for God which left him asking, "Where is my honor?"  This automatically made me think about the verse I had read earlier that morning.  "Let us worship Him with holy fear and awe."  The Israelites were trying to get away with the least they could in terms of worship towards God.  That is quite the opposite of what He has commanded us.  My favorites verses of Scripture are from Romans 12:1-2 - "present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your spiritual act of worship."  He wants us - ALL of us - our everything.  That is our sacrifice, not what everyone did not get first.  He wants us - that is acceptable to Him.  

Today, God continued to teach me more on this topic.  I always feel like that if God is repeating something to me that it is either because I did not get it the first time or He really wants me to know what He is speaking to me.  Like, He really wants me to not only get it, but LIVE it!  I finished another week in Hebrews and today I listened to the podcast by Jen Wilkin, like I do every week.  She said SO MUCH good stuff this morning, I have two full pages of notes, but on this topic specifically, she said, 

What is acceptable worship?  Acceptable worship is offered out of gratitude.  The joy of our salvation should drive us to right worship of our Savior.  We should worship with awe and reverence which gives recognition of who God is.  Romans 12:1 says to present your bodies as living sacrifices - that is what is good and acceptable - a reasonable act of worship.  We are to lay our lives down daily, setting aside our pleasures, and look toward the finish line.  We need to take inventory of those things that we place our daily comfort in, think about what things are fleeing, and where I am so consumed with myself that I miss others' needs.  The Father that disciplines me is infinitely good and infinitely able, and He will bring me to the Kingdom that is unshakeable.  

Over and over again, God has spoken to my heart about this idea of worship.  I can trust Him.  He is faithful.  I have such a strong desire to walk with Him daily and seek His face that I cannot wait to worship Him.  

There are few things in my life right now where I feel God specifically speaking to me.  One is about my career and one is about my place in ministry.  Where those two come together and where those separate is what I am still seeking His face about.  I am incredibly happy at my job, but is it where God would have me?  I want so bad to devote more time to ministry but what does that look like?  Will you pray with me that God reveals these things more clearly to me in the coming days, months, and years?  

I am not perfect but God can and WILL use me...if I allow Him to.  I want nothing more.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Is It Worth It?

Sticky fingers, digging in the dirt and giggling about the things of the day, two little curly headed girls run around at recess. It wasn't long ago that they begged their mom to buy matching outfits and the heart necklaces that have the jagged edges with "Best Friends" etched in them, one for each to wear. That way the whole world, well, their whole world, would know that they belong to each other. She is the other's "person." Who knew a tiny girl needed a person? What are the odds that those two darlings will remain friends for a lifetime? Is the investment at such an early age worth it?

Whispers of true love. Who is taking who to the prom? Notes being passed in the halls, or these days it is more likely texts exchanged. The excitement fills a young girl's heart as she shares her deepest secrets to her best friends. The teenage years, such an awkward time and a time when friendships are so very important. Endless sleepovers, Friday night football games, movies, school dances, multiple things done with best friends that everyone regrets as adults....both cherished and wished they could forget. Fights, arguments, girl drama, horrible heartbreaks, and all of the yuck that comes from the teenage years, was it all worth it? Some of those friendships are still intact but many of them are gone...were they worth it? 

Hearts fluttering, true love has been found! Who is the first one to call? The best friend of course! "I'm getting married!!!" Bridesmaids are chosen, perfect dress fits like a glove, you walk down the aisle and your friends then become a secondary thing as your best friend is now this man (what???) that you will spend the rest of your life with!! When did everything change??  All of a sudden the heart is divided. There is this person that no one could love more, who will now see you at the very best and worst of times...always, and the person who just stood there and straightened the train of that incredibly over-priced dress that will never be worn again....and gave the amazingly heart-warming speech at the rehearsal dinner because you haven't cried enough. Two people that are loved.  Incredibly loved in two very different ways. One that will remain in your life forever and one that, honestly, may not. I had five bridesmaids in my wedding. Three I never talk to. Two, I talk to occasionally, and that includes my matron of honor. She was my very best friend. I stood beside her a month before as her maid of honor. Was it worth it?

Positive. Of course the first person you tell is your husband but then? Of course, your best friend!!!! A baby?? How do you take care of a tiny human? Who knows until it actually gets here. The friends that share these days are priceless. Doing life with friends in these precious times are quite possibly the ones that I count the most least at this point in my life. Parenting is hard. Those sleepless newborn nights are painful and when no one else understands, that girlfriend certainly does. Pick up the phone and cry and she just knows. She knows because she was just there the day before and you helped her. You talk everyday about everything and nothing all at the same time. Her baby gets sick and you drop everything to go running to help. Births, illnesses, baby showers, baby dedications, field trips, things no one else could possibly understand...she is your person. And this friend, you argue but it's deep rooted hard arguments that require out-of-town trips to resolve and in the end you are closer because of it. Then, one day, you get the call that she wants to meet you for lunch but it isn't the happy call. Something is different because you know her. Something is different and not good different. Her husband is in the ministry and everything your gut told you is true...they are being called away. Your heart is broken and your friendship will never be the same. Was it worth it?

Life is different. While before friends were many and life was shared with lots of people, it is becoming evident that God is changing circumstances. In a nutshell, being a grownup has proven to be a little more difficult than you want it to be. True friends are few and far between. Trust has been put to the test and failed. Hearts have been shattered many times over and walls have been built. God has placed some incredible people in the path to be friends but they are not plentiful. Coffee shops, late nights, hospital waiting rooms, women's Bible studies, and life's most difficult circumstances are where these friends have been present. God has proven himself faithful yet again but it just looks a little different. There are fun times too like painting parties, weekend trips, vacations to magical kingdoms, and lots of laughter but life is just different these days. It is still filled with drama, heartache, and pain but some of the most precious times have been spent talking about what God is doing, how He is moving, what we are learning through the trials, life stories through things like adoptions, marriage struggles, and at the end, how we are better because of it all. I have never loved and cherished my friends like I do in my life right at this this season. The thing could change in an instant. People move, tragedies happen, and change is inevitable. Is it worth it?

Is it worth it? Was it worth it? The simple answer is yes. Yes, it was, it is, and it always will be. In each stage of life as portrayed in this post, life throws us challenges and beauty. Why walk it alone? God gives us people for a season and in each season of my life, I can pinpoint people who have been a special part of it. Some of those people I still talk to, some I don't. In the end, I think that it is important to recognize that we are shaped by the experiences that we have and part of that is the people we choose to let in our lives. Yes. I have been hurt and I have caused hurt. I have single-handedly caused friendships to end and I hate it but I have also learned from it. Today, I have some of the best friends that I have ever had in my entire life. Ladies that I can pick up the phone and call for prayer, to cry, to pick up my kids in a crunch, or just to vent to and they are there. I would do the same for them. Tomorrow if that all changed, I would be heartbroken but it would still be worth it. It is worth it!

"A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17

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