… thirty seven

[ t h i r t y – s e v e n ]

Before 2019 ended, the idea that my life was about to change could be felt.

Changes were made that I’d known for a while needed to be happen…….. but after major conviction, taking inventory of the past, & processing my feelings and what I’d like for my/my family’s future to looked like helped me to truly see what I’d been missing before:

Nothing is better than Jesus in a very real way.

That sounds super Jesus freakish & you probably rolled your eyes, probably wondering as a Christian why I’m just getting that, but as much as I love/d Jesus, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that he truly is everything that I need. I knew that, but never put everything down for him. This lightbulb… that came through a deeper, closer relationship with God, has completely changed behavior. Not rules, not someone saying “You should…” or “You can’t”, but being so close to God that anything that separated me from him hurt me.

A few things that I recognized…

Approval – his alone matters. periodt.

Acceptance – no matter what, when, or why he will forever search for me & welcome me, desire to be in relationship with me and be open to it even though I sin.

Comfort – He is the God of ALL comfort. Not cinnamon rolls, Chick-fil-a, wine or whiskey, or companionship. Just Jesus and once he is the first and only source of comfort, I won’t over prioritize, over value, or sacrifice who I am or standards to feel “better”.

Support – he gives wisdom in abundance if we ask, he leads us, he protects us, comforts, & is the safest, most intimate space we could ever ask for.

We truly need nothing else, but Him. And the most amazing thing is we often feel (or I quietly felt) that I’d be missing out on something if I truly gave everything up for him, if I truly lived sacrificially. I doubted and didn’t fully trust even though I knew that everything good comes from him, that there is no lack in him, that he withholds no good thing from us …… I was afraid that I’d be missing out on something. Ultimately something celebrated by culture (which likely contradicted The Word), something that would result in loneliness (which I was already feeling), or whatever I felt I needed. If everything I need is truly found in Him…… he is the ultimate source and then from trusting Him will come the very things I need except better. If I’m trying to fill a space based on my thoughts & feelings, I will lose every single time and still end up empty. Those choices will be fueled by fear, thoughts of lack, trauma, selfishness, sin, and cultural “goals” that will have me chasing after something that will never truly satisfy me.

I might be the only one whose lightbulb is just.now. clicking but I am so thankful it is. At nearly 40… feeling too late, too old, too weighted down with  life’s responsibilities… regardless of the feels, God is so so so good and nothing compares to Him.

2020 began with a whole new outlook on my Plexus business, relationship perspectives and goals, motherhood goals, career moves, & just how I wanted each day to look. The perspective I have is that everyday literally is going to create and lead to a week that turns into a month that turns into a year. If I.. when I focus on sacrificing and submitting day to day the life I want (which is the life the Lord has for me) will flow.

And one of the first things I knew I needed to change was the fact that I did nothing for myself in 2019. Nothing to very little for myself. Very little. I hardly hung out with my friends, didn’t go to any movies (which I love to do, until the end of the year), and was completely overwhelmed & growing resentful at what my days looked like. I couldn’t be the mama, friend, person, writer, speaker, provider, ministry partner, business builder I needed to be because I empty. Running on empty. fumes. and clawing to stay on my feet. It was exhausting and another year that way wouldn’t end well.

So, I committed to being more social – not for the sake of just being out, but truly pouring into, rebuilding, and establishing friendships and relationships that I’d neglected over the past few years….. and the last 26 days have been so much stinking fun. While I know exactly why I didn’t do it sooner, I’m wondering, ‘Why didn’t you do this sooner?’

I know the reasons I had were valid & real…… but they weren’t true. Tony Evans says that there’s a difference between truth and fact. I based decisions on facts, but not the truth. And we do it all of the time.

EX:
Mom: I can’t go, because the baby is too young.
Yea that’s a FACT, the baby is tiny….. but the truth is – you can go.
If you choose to…. choose to believe that we aren’t our kids end all and be all. Choose to believe that we can truly have a life outside of them and still be good mothers. Choose to believe that things will be fine if we aren’t losing ourselves to hold them and everyone and everything else together.

Y’all. I’m scared, no lie. Because I’m not sure. And, anyone who says walking with God in a way they’d never had before isn’t scary is.. lying. Hello, Moses, and everyone else who’d been pulled by the Lord and responded with a “Who me?” Then, you have those who came to the Lord for healing and you’ll see a few times he asked, “Do you want to be made whole?” umm.. of course, that’s why I’m here. Right? Like let’s not ask questions we already know the answer to. That’s annoying.

But, the truth is:
there are times we want something, but just not bad enough
to sacrifice and change our life for.

Not enough to truly be vulnerable for.
Not enough to stop being lazy for.
Not enough to stand up and be bold for.
Not enough to say “no” to everything else that isn’t that for.
Not enough to just do the things that need to be done for.

So…. again… do you want to be made whole?

So. It’s tough. And, scary.
Already 26 days in.
But, I believe deeply that while I have no idea what they heck is going to happen, I know that every day (a hundred times a day), I lay every fear that crops up, every desire, every choice, every opportunity, every move at the cross. And I trust that God heard me. Like the enslaved Israelites tears, fears, and desires – “…their cries rose up to God. God heard their groaning…” (Genesis 2:23-24) and because I am trusting the Lord and truly delighting myself in Him….. seriously enjoying worshipping, praying, reading the Word, talking throughout the day, I trust the promise of Psalm 21:2 that says the Lord will “give him his heart’s desire; you have withheld nothing he requested.”

And, my response before, during, and after is praise.
Not because I have what I asked for or even that it’s promised to me and I have the faith that I will receive it, but because I love God. And, God loves me and is worthy of my praise….. every other reason is extra.
cherries and whip cream and sprinkles on top.

Just like the children of Isreal were God’s special possession, I am, too.
Just as they needed him for deliverance, I do, too.
Just like they needed him for provision, I do, too.
Just like they messed up, I do, too.
And, he still heard them.
He still welcomed them back.
He didn’t stop being their God.
He didn’t stop being their provider.
He didn’t stop leading them.
He didn’t stop being who he was.

While the goal isn’t 40 years of learning while wandering….
I’m prayerfully grasping what they continued to miss:
 He is everything that we need.

And, if they had allowed him to be that everything all the time – even when they were afraid, even when they didn’t know, even when they felt alone – they would have experienced God in a way they never had before and would have seen what he promised and had stored up for them.

Lastly,
I posted on Instagram a few days ago that
we often trust that God will, but doubt that he is.
(At least I do… could be solo on that one.)
Doubt that in this situation right now, God is creating & establishing it.
Doubt that this situation right now is what we have been praying for.
Doubt that this could really be it.
Doubt that the first step in the plan, the steps we have to work hard to complete and sacrifice to accomplish, really will lead us there.

So we quit. We allow fear and “wisdom” and comforts of life and habits of our comfort zones to keep us from what God has for us.

Not this year.

And, because I really want a lobster & bacon grilled cheese sandwich for dinner tonight…. I’m going to get up and go to the store for Havarti cheese. Yes, one item. Because I want it that badly.

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… my sweethearts

If you know know me (which you do!) you know how much I love documenting moments – good and bad. with tears in my eyes or the biggest smile plastered across my face. the exciting or disappointing. with a hopeful heart or a devastated one. with the encouragement of friends or the disapproval.

I love to share. Revelations 12:11 says “They triumphed over him (the accuser…. our enemy… the Devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

I don’t love the perspectives of others or their views of what they think life looks like so much so that I won’t talk about publicly what the Lord is doing in my life….. in my health….. or in my body.

This space has seen the ups and downs of marriage, infertility, adoption, marital struggle, divorce, entrepreneurship, and now single parenting. It’s been a journey……. but if you could see my inbox, my text messages, the stories of random strangers I’ve come across in person who recognized me from this space….. you would encourage me to continue sharing. You would see how valuable sharing your experiences are with others. And, you may just be more inclined to share yours more readily & vulnerably. Maybe not as publicly as I do, but that’s okay. God calls us each to do our specially assigned work for the kingdom and our job descriptions don’t have to look the same in order to be productive!

Long sidebar short…….

When I got pregnant with the girls (jog down memory lane with me here!), their very non-professional photographer mama begged for a camera to capture the girls moments. Everyday moments in a beautiful, professional looking way! And, I got it! Yea!

We started off really well, but soon with chasing behind twin toddler solo…. I couldn’t keep up with them, all of their stuff, mine, a phone, AND a camera & camera bag. Wasn’t happening. So it was dropped. And, near forgotten.

While I’ve taken a few photos here and there for others, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I whipped out my Canon, dusted it off, dressed my three in casual Valentine’s Day cuteness, and drove us to a photo sesh spot. It was a lot. So was managing them, their moods, trying to get them to all smile at the same time while looking at the camera. Y’all. I dropped f-bombs. There were frustrating moments. I wondered why Logan had to Vogue pose with every picture. Why Dylan had an attitude for NO reason, and how to get Rhyann to laugh so she doesn’t use her fake smile.

All of it happened. Just not all at once.

And, I’m cool with it because you just scrolled through a dream come true – using a gift to forever capture my children as they are in February of 2020 with great quality.

That. Is. Life. And I’m so thankful for these people – through it all ….the ups and downs of life, choosing to love and see our people for who they are and value them where they are…… while giving them room to grow is where it’s at. It’s love. It’s how we not only maintain relationships but learn to enjoy each person as they are, where they are.

And, even when they frustrate you….. They won’t be like that forever.

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… until he moves

One thing I’m definitely not good at it is waiting…. but I’ve gotten a whole lot better. Like leaps and bounds better at waiting and it’s still an area I am working to improve in. No matter how long or short the wait, I want to wait well. Even though it’s hard.

Waiting well is a skill I believe the Lord has been honing in me for quite a while…. and while it’s hard, I appreciate it so much. Almost to the point of tears. How we wait speaks greatly to how much we trust the one we’re waiting on… much more, I believe, than what we’re excited about, what we’re anticipating, and what we need.

Waiting well doesn’t look like busy-ing yourself but still watching the clock.
Waiting well doesn’t look like rolling your eyes & blowing air everytime “something” happens but isn’t what we’re waiting for. (You know how we do when we’re waiting for that phone call or text.)
Waiting well doesn’t mean you completely push your desires to the back of your mind as if you have forgetten about it, but it’s still very much at the forefront.

It looks like trust. Trust looks like patience. Patience looks like discipline and dependence.

When I tell or ask my girls to wait… they have no idea how long it’s going to last. And, honestly, I don’t always either. But, I do know that I don’t expect them to try and go behind my back and do it themselves. My expectation isn’t for them to grumble and whine. Or pick fights between each other. It definitely isn’t to get into something else they have no business getting into simply because I’m ‘taking too long’.

I expect them to obey while they wait.
I expect them to exercise some discipline.
To busy themselves doing what they know they can or should be doing.
I definitely wouldn’t be mad if they decided to clean up their toys.
Or just patiently wait with me.

But trying to do what they’re waiting for me to do can cause a mess. Usually causes a mess.
Going ahead of me while I’m preparing so that we can move on together causes a mess and something extra that I have to clean up, they get in trouble for, and our fun experience isn’t so fun anymore…. and they may have missed out on a fun opportunity……… picking up what I’m putting down?

We are children, trusting an all knowing Father. A father who plans really well. One who has incredible things for us that he promises to give. One who has incredible Earthly & Heavenly rewards for our obedience…. and he will do what he said. At the right time. He doesn’t forget about us. He doesn’t make empty promises. What he has for us is worth the wait.

I’ve been praying for two things, two areas specifically for a year. Loosely for much longer than that. And, it’s hard. There have been times I didn’t wait well. But, I absolutely see the benefit it obedience during the wait. Even in areas that aren’t directly connected. There is benefit in learning to quietly seek God’s hand. To continue asking and knocking with trust, believing that he is working all things together for us. I haven’t seen what I’m looking for yet. Haven’t held what I’m trusting God for. But, I know he hears me. I know he is moving. I know that what I’m obeying by asking for what I need and the desires of my heart.

Questions I like to ask in wait:
What do you want me to do right now?
What do you want me to learn?
Where do you want me to grow?

…. asking questions that will allow the Lord to open my eyes and mind up to what he needs from me is definitely a way to wait well. A way to prepare us for what we’re asking for.
A way to learn more about our Father and his plan for our lives.

But, beyond asking… doing and moving as he leads. Obeying while we wait. Trusting where he is guiding us. Won’t always make sense. May seem harder than what we think we can handle. Or seemingly more inconvenient than what I really want to deal with. Will likely take some bravery and courage, some stepping out on faith, some imagination. and, support.
Discipline. Determination. Commitment. Dependance.

But whatever you need… in whatever capacity you need it… whenever you need it… the Lord will provide it.

…….. Until he moves.

Until then, we wait.

Until then, we trust.

Until then, we obey.

Until then, we serve.

We grow.

We learn.

We lean into his Word.

We pray.

We praise.

We thank.

We enjoy his presence.

We enjoy our family.

We give.

We pray.

We believe his promises.

And, don’t let up until he blesses us.

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