Greater than…

I have said these things to you, so that in me you will have peace.
In the world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.
– John 16:33

Sounds like a whole lot of doom and gloom but this is a message of hope, opportunity, and assurance. This life isn’t easy. It is full of pain, disappointment, and hard things but the remarkable thing about having a savior who offers hope and redemption is that this life isn’t our focus. We don’t have to allow life’s circumstances to color our world view and perspective. Why? Because this life and all of it’s brokenness isn’t our focus. It isn’t our end.

I know spiritual warfare is real….. But, I’ve always thought of it in terms of what is happening outside of myself. The brokenness in relationships, conflict, confusion, etc was spiritual warfare. And, although I knew that the Devil was after souls, for whatever reason it never dawned on me that he would be after mine. But, he was. He was after my gifts, my voice, my mind, my hope….. and, it was battle. Y’all… a battle. I would cry to the Lord asking who was interceding for me knowing that that was Christ’s and the Holy Spirit’s job…. “Why aren’t you battling for me?” He was, but he wasn’t going to pull me out without my permission. I had to believe that everything that was going on, that was breaking my heart was not because he didn’t love me. It wasn’t because he saw what I was going through and treated it like the mound of laundry on the couch. He wasn’t going to get back to me and at another time. He was there with me, but he wanted me to choose him. I was frustrated because I was carrying this backpack full of boulders and I couldn’t do it anymore, it was taking me over. But, it was my choice to carry that load. He wasn’t forcing me to carry it. Therefore wasn’t putting me in a position to be weighted down in the way that I was.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you….
– Psalm 55:22

I struggled in my faith and I had a hard time believing the Lord for the things that he promised when at the end of the day it was simply because I was focusing on the wrong thing. A lesson that has been on the agenda for quite some time…… yet I’m guilt free about.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me to feel guilty about struggling with the issues of life. Unpacking all of the crap that was weighing me down – legitimate, hard crap – allowed me to see more of God’s character. I was able to learn more and more about him and honestly, I’m thankful that I get doses of lessons instead of one overwhelming lesson all at once. There’s too much Jesus to understand to get it all at once. Sometimes those lessons are harder than others, other times they’re easier to grasp but I’m thankful that they all drive me to my knees.

This time…..
I learned that God is greater than any feeling, emotion, physical pain, goal, and I have and any circumstance I find myself in.
He is bigger than any wrong I could ever do. That he is greater than the highs and the lows. 

And, that truth brings me to my knees.
He can take my anger towards him, my fears about the unknown, my disappointments about life… and not take it personally.
And the freedom for me is that it doesn’t mean I love him or believe in him any less.
And, he isn’t going to be angry or passive aggressive towards me for how I felt.

I learned that while everything I need is found in him ALONE – all of the acceptance, credit, joy, love, peace, happiness, reward, rest… it’s all in him. There is no one person that can love me or allow me to rest better than my Heavenly Father.

And, I saw that one of the greatest blessings he has given us is people. He created us to be relational and he blesses us with keepers, with people who love like his does. Who served like he did, who accept, teach, and welcome as he did. He surrounds us with people who pour into us and teach us. He gives us physically what he also offers us spiritually. Then, he builds us up enough to be and do that for others. Circle of faith?

Thankful for the war. Thankful for the renewed faith.
Thankful for the love and grace.
For the highs and the lows that keep my feet firmly planted on the rock of my hope and salvation.

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Quick thought ……. 

I love this. It’s so encouraging and empowering…….. But I’m wondering if we’re applying it wrong. 

What will “she” (you! me!) not fail at?

Our plans? Our goals? Routinely checking off the items of our to do lists that we may or may not be doing in love, as unto Christ?

Or…..

Will we not fail at actively loving others? Being forgiving? Patient? Kind? Will we not fail at serving others? And, accomplishing the Lord’s will for our days? 

Our sinful selves are so selfish and I’m thinking that the successes that woman accomplishes has nothing to do with her, they aren’t for her. They’re for the glory of the Lord as she serves others. Now, will she likely receive some sort of benefit? Sure. But the motive & focus is God focused versus self focused. 

….. And, when won’t I fail? Certainly not tomorrow. Somethings can change in an instant, others require lots of focused effort and a change of heart/mind/habit. Not sure if this task will be perfected at the second coming or if the Lord will help me perfect it on this side, but either way….. I’m faithfully trusting the Lord for this change, this success, or improvement. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Give yourself some grace. And, others. That lady over there is trusting the Lord with her success just like you are. 

Just my take on it. What do you think?

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Hot mess express?

So, while I fiercely reject the term “hot mess” when it refers to mamas, I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. 

We are have gone, are going, or will go through something incredibly hard. 

While I’ve learned to find the good in every situation, doesn’t negate the fact that hard comes. And, sometimes stays awhile. For many reasons, I am not one who believes in not allowing anyone to see you cry or anything like that out of pride. Yes, keep it together when you have to, but when you don’t…….. Be. Be sad, cry, & feel. We aren’t machines or robots. We feel and I would personally prefer to feel than be hard. 

Been there, isn’t productive. It’s so much better to feel and get it over with rather than trying not to and dragging the process out. Plus, you’re a lot more “you”, ya know?

In so many ways the little life me and my babes are rocking out is perfect. I mean, these little people light up my entire world and I’m grateful to be the healthy mama I am for them. Then, there are days when single mamahood takes its toll and they’re in their room crying and I’m in mine crying. Because it’s exhausting and isolating in a lot of ways. You don’t realize how much your life is different than when you talk to another single mama and the idiosyncrasies/frustrations of mothering solo are understood completely. It clicks and it’s nice for someone else to get it. 

It’s the easiest most difficult thing but it’s so worth it. Mentally, physically, & emotionally exhausting….. Only by the Lord’s strength & grace, yea?

So. I talked about ‘a keeper’ today over on Instagram. They’re so good. You know the ones in your life who allow you to be who you are at any given moment with understanding and grace? They get it when you’re crying & talk you through it, and they get it when you’re at your absolute best. One of those keepers I cried with today and shook my head at “people would never know how strong you really are. Yea you look like you have it all together but very few people really know……” People don’t ever know what you’re really going through. Some of our days are absolutely fantastic and others you just barely get through. It’s okay. Literally okay.

Just want to encourage all the mamas, all the everyones (y’all know I will make up a word in a minute. Just roll with it) to be and breathe. You aren’t a hot mess …. Speak more highly of yourself. If you even categorizing yourself as that, it’s because you’re working/serving your tail off for your family… It’s because you’re making things happen. That’s amazing. Not only is it totally negative (let’s not get on women empowerment & self image & positive self talk today) but it puts you in a negative head space. 

You’re doing it. Everyday. Even as you say “I don’t know how I’m going to do it” you’re literally doing all the things that make your family’s world go round. And, if you really think about it…. Things are going pretty well for you, too. Even when it’s hard. The pruning process hurts and is hard, but so beneficial in the end. All things work together for our good…….. Usually because we’ve matured and developed along with things going well. When our perspective changes, our world view does, too. 

No need to compare yourself, mama. We’re all exhausted people eating leftovers from our kids’ plates, scheduling lives and making things happen. It looks easy for the mama next to you, but she’s working just as hard as you are. If no ones told you, you’re amazing and you’re doing a good job. Don’t believe me? Pay a bit more attention to your kiddo’s lingering hugs, their random kisses, and their desire to be close to you…. It’s because you’re fantastic. And you matter. YOU. Not only the things that you do, but YOU. YOU, your person, personality, perspectives, skills/gifts matter. 

Enjoy your night. Sleep well(ish) & wake up renewed & worthy of a second look and a thank you. You deserve it.

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