…quiet the noise

… in the event you were wondering, these people are not just two years old, but two and a half.
a whole half.
I’ve been a mama for 30 months… and, sometimes it’s still doesn’t seem like it’s fully sunk in yet. 

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Life is noisy.

With kids or without kids, with a spouse or without one, life is loud, chaotic and hard. We have so many things fighting for our focus. So many people vying for our attention. We are constantly distracted. Constantly pulled away. Forever engaged in a never ending battle of deciphering what’s important and what’s priority.

I am the teacher that can’t take a lot of noise…. makes for a really difficult day for everybody.  Tapping, running pencils over spiral notebook bindings, all of it drives me crazy. I literally cannot focus in a noisy environment. I don’t typically watch TV.. I don’t even have cable… but even when I did, I could go all day without turning it on. Unless there was a specific show I wanted to watch on at that moment, why is it on? NOISE! YUCK. vomit. Just turn it off. I can’t deal.

Unless there’s background music.

In quiet or chaos, background music somehow helps my brain balance the irritations and the focusing effect it has on me. It helps my mind to focus on something else besides what is actually causing me to be unloving, impatient, and on edge.  My students already know that there’s going to be music playing and they quickly learn the songs. It’s so sweet to hear them sing along (they have no  idea that they’re worshipping!) as they get to know the music on my Pandora stations. But, let me clarify what I mean when I say “noise”. We aren’t talking party noise or baby shower noise, not even chit chat before church noise….. Not the structured class activity noise or even the playing outside nose. I mean the bickering, the fussing, the I’m-not-listening-to-you-because-I’m-so-engrossed-in-my-noise kinda noise…. Not the girlfriends at dinner clinking glasses, laughing, and catching up noise. I mean the tearing down, the comparing, the trying to fit, the feeling unloved, the negative, the unloving, the judgmental, the unsupportive, the lies…

the noise cousins sun

The noise that I have allowed to overtake my Savior’s quiet voice. The noise that kept me burdened and feeling like walls were closing in on me. The noise that kept me from believing in myself, from seeing me for who I really was. The noise that kept me from doing what I love and “feeling like”doing much of anything else. The noise that kept me on this hamster wheel trying to be enough, do enough, be more than enough, special enough, and whatever else enough that would allow (or force or make or justify) me to be accepted, loved, pursued, wanted, cherished… all of that. It was noise and the noise was suffocating me. I couldn’t breathe or move freely. I couldn’t focus.

That soft, barely there background music is my peace and steadies me …. very much like the Lord in this crazy, hard world. When we are bridled with so much fear, hurt, rejection, and brokenness that the darkness of the night is the only place we sense enough safety to truly feel, when we are caring less and less for people but are going out of our way to do more to out do and hurt them, when we’re ignore their pain and choose not to care, when we need “something” but have no idea what that is….. we have a focusing problem. We’re distracted. There is too much noise. Just like outward noise can distract us and cause us to make mistakes and go off course; allowing the wrong things settle into our hearts and minds, it’s what is repeated over and over again. It’s what we eventually believe is important, it’s what we eventually accept as our own identities and put on as our very own qualities that can very well led us down the wrong path.

Unless we have background music.

...He will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will quiet you with his love.
he will rejoice over you with singing…
Zephaniah 3:17

When we are rooted and build our thoughts, minds, beliefs, and lives on something solid, on what will never crack, change, or weaken, we can withstand the noise. We can have something keeping us focused in the midst of the enemy telling us lies about who we are, people being their <intentionally & unintentionally> meanest selves, and our own minds struggling to believe the best when it may be constantly fed the worst. That solid ground makes it a lot easier for the junk to roll right past us. It’s easier to drown out the lies when you constantly have the truth resounding in your mind

The truth is
you can do it.
you are capable.
you can learn how.
you are worthy.
you are enough.
you are smart.
you will do it.
AND….
You are strong enough, patient enough, enduring enough, and brave enough to wait it out until
the Lord brings all of your needs + efforts + sacrifices + opportunity together at the same time
to create the right time.


rhy 30mths

Even in all of the busyness, doing, traveling, working, driving, and mom’ing so hard….. we get lost. We get lost in expectation, in isolation, in fear, in discontent, in frustration, in weariness and we feel alone. Our glorious imaginations (combined with tricks of the enemy) create so many elaborate scenarios that cause us to feel deep rejection when there is none… deep failure when success is on it’s way…. we feel guilt for doing what we know is right (anyone ever try discipling the cutest 2 year olds ever?) … yet struggle with believing who God created us to be and who he promises He to be to us. (He is good, he is good to us, he plans good things for us! and is with us when struggles and hard times come!)

It’s like the Lord is saying,
“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my sweet girl.
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my son.
Can you hear how loved you are?
Do you see how pleased I am with you?
Allow me to celebrate you, simply because I created you & am delighted in you.
Do you know how much I love you?
Do you know how much I value you?
shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….
Listen to me. Focus on me.”

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I wonder what would happen to our self-talk, to our mindsets, to our friendships and our families when we listened more to who the Lord says we did the noise of the world. If we allowed ourselves to be calmed by the voice and peace of the Lord rather than running around like a crazy person chasing down our fleeting feelings with temporary fixes. When we begin speaking life into others because of the life inside of us rather than using our words to respond with hurt or worse, not respond at all.

hello brokenness.

Wonder how much more fulfilled and confident we would be if we looked to the Lord and enjoyed listening intently on his rejoicing and singing over us… if we worshipped, prayed, and read a bit more and allowed the Truth to dictate how we felt and how we saw ourselves. How much more equipped and joyful would we be when the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy our children & their futures, our marriages and friendships, our hopes and dreams, our own self esteem and views of ourselves. I believe they could stand more of a chance……. and, if they don’t. When things are broken and people go astray, we would still be left laying, kneeling, standing on The Rock. Even if we’re crying (really bawling… let’s be honest. If we cry, it’s a bawl.), left alone, feeling empty, and at what we believe is the end of our rope.

Can we quiet the noise?  Sometimes. Not always. Can we shift our focus so that the chaos isn’t as loud? Absolutely. Noise is inevitable. There has been, will, and forever be an endless list of things and people craving our attention and competing for our love. BUT, when we are rooted in the one love that will never end, that will never push us to the side, or hurt us, it is so much easier to drown out the bad and hear the good and see what’s possible.

My prayer for you…. especially us single mamas…. is that we won’t get lost in the noise. That we won’t lose hope or forget how valuable and loved we are. That we will allow our hearts to be captured by the Lord and filled to overflowing with his peace and joy. That we allow the Lord to quiet our fears, sadness, negative thinking, disappointments and worry with his love. I pray that our background noise keeps us focused and able to be wholly who the Lord called us to be in this crazy, dark world. That we allow ourselves to hope and dream big… give those dreams to the most creative Maker of the universe then give him room to gives us the desires of our hearts.

Your mind feasts on what it focuses on (Lysa TerKurst) so focus on the those things that bring joy, happiness, a positive outlook, Godly perspective, and comfort…. those things that are right, noble, true, lovely, admirable, and excellent…..

focus and feast on the goodness of the Lord.

Signature

Oh, there you are…

For the past maybe…… 24 months, my life has been consumed with two little people who are completely epic. They are amazing and they become more and more lovable with every passing day. I miss them when they’re gone, can’t wait to wake them in the morning, & look forward to all of the new daily somethings.

Motherhood is my jaaaaaaaam. 

But, I’ve hidden behind it, afraid. It’s easily consumed me because I have two small people to keep fed and clean on my own for most day….. there isn’t a whole lot of time to do my own thing. Motherhood and swamped has been an iceberg of an excuse to not ‘have time’ to feel and it’s cost me. Writing has taken a back burner, writing with transparency has almost become a thing of the past… the idea of not writing at all anymore has crossed my mind more than once. Relationships have suffered and my own heart hasn’t been given the opportunity to heal as well it could have by now.

You’ve got to put your oxygen mask on first.

Words of wisdom sent from one of my girlfriends that seems so logical, but can also feel so selfish at times. Yet, to be the mama parent my girls need, I have to be authentically me and whole. We’ve all heard that you can’t pour out of an empty glass – and it makes sense. While I don’t feel that my cup needs to be overflowing and full, it needs to be at a level where there is something to give and some left over for myself. There needs to be time allotted for me to refill my cup, as well. I believe that the levels can vary depending on circumstances and that there are more than a few ways to have your cup refilled. The most important thing for me has been to find different ways to fill myself up and to learn how to operate/love/mother well no matter how much there is to give.

A couple of weeks ago, I scrolled through my social media and calendar to realize that Alaina was not present; she only had a half hour space allotted in my planner, & my phone was pretty much dead. Everything revolved around the girls and having ‘all my ducks in a row’. I literally just saw a meme that pretty much said, ‘My ducks aren’t all in a row but they’re in the same pond’ and for me that’s pretty much the something. A spotless house isn’t happening over here. Toys are everywhere and I kinda like it like that. Now, there’s organization but you can tell children live here and they’re allowed to live in their house………. and, that there mama has plenty other things to do than perfectly put away toys. Away-ish good enough. Perfection has been escorted off of the premises as I’d much rather just be. Life’s junk, my own insecurities/judgments, and a much too large concern over what people think won’t rule my thoughts.

I’ve pulled my head out of the sand and although I’m terrified to feel and deal with emotions I’ve successfully ignored and dodged, for my own healing, it’s got to be done. Part of that healing, for me, is taking time for myself to be Alaina as well as a mother.

Healing is taking place and this season of my life is so good…. it’s been hard for a long time, and single motherhood is not a breeze nor is it glamorous, it’s been such a great experience where I’ve grown a lot personally. I’m thankful. God has definitely been gracious to me and I’m clinging to him….. for peace, comfort, direction, and provision…… of all things.

My girls are only as happy and healthy as I am and there’s nothing that would make me more glad than to see my daughters grow up well loved and guided, courageous, happy & joyful, and strong with a heart for the Lord. While the Lord can and will use others to impact my children’s lives, I’m an enormous and great piece of their lives…….. I want to honor the Lord well in this role and that requires mental and emotional health, them seeing me have and maintain friendships, balance various responsibilities, and taking risks.  Everything we go through in life is a process and I’ve learned that if you’re thankful for the process in the circumstance you’re in, you can be a little bit more patient in it, more respectful of it, and more joyful as you go through it. These girls have got to see a joyful mama who has been through a lot but is still standing with peace in her heart and intact relationships  surrounding and supporting her. I want them to see a happy and joyful mama who does things she enjoys both with them and without them….. it’s good and healthy for us both. It’s struggle but the Lord is good and will show each of us how we should be manage these roles and self care…..every mama is different, each mama needs something different, and her children have varying needs as well. We can’t judge another mama, lest we are in her shoes.

Mamas, how are some of the ways you recharge?

Signature

on Wednesdays, we worship

20140528-131622-47782128.jpgDon’t know if we could ever truly become strong, brave, believers, faithful, or wise without hardships, heartbreak, and tragedy. We would never learn to thrive in the valleys and raging storms of life. We’d never know what we could accomplish, create, or become.

Life can truly be a bitch to us. I mean a real life, never ease up, angry for no reason a**hole to us. Ya know? Like a ‘why are you so rude?’ type of behavior. Buuuut, I’ve come to learn to not be bothered by such foolishness & people such as these. You can learn so much from them. They grow you up, they mature you. They teach you life lessons that would never be taught if your feathers weren’t ever ruffled and your abilities relentlessly challenged.

Life can make us feel as if we have been uprooted and in the eye of a tornado, like we’re being tossed on the waves by winds of hurricanes, and scorched by the unforgiving sun…. there are days that will make you feel as if you will never experience God-good…. And, the amazing that does come seems to only be for a brief moment, lasting long enough for you begin to enjoy it before it’s taken away.

But, then…..

Like beginnings of love, out of nowhere you’re overwhelmed with a realization that can’t easily be put into words. The rain slows, the clouds begin to part and light appears. A rainbow is seen. Puddles begin to dry, you hear the songs of the birds; it’s almost as if life begins all over again.

Receding waters and drenched gardens remind us of what we went through, that we were always kept, & that there will be a tomorrow filled with grace & reason to worship. New life, rainbows, & light testify to the facts that God is always true to his promises, that he sees us, and has a REAL plan to redeem everything we’ve lost.

To witness the darkness give way to light is an act of God that is incomparable. It’s inspiring. It’s beauty in it’s purest, most natural form.

I feel as if I’m walking outside after the worst of storms. Assessing damage, picking through the aftermath in the light & warmth of the sun. Slowly piecing life back together again. Grateful for the new beginning.
The chaos is over. The old is torn down, and foundation for rebuilding something seriously glorious and new has been set. Realizing that that foundation is the sum total of everything we’ve been through, that it is literally the “all” that has been worked together for our good.

God’s grace is more than sufficient, His mercies are unbelievably real.

We have been completely broken, but God has redeemed every piece of our past. He has rebuilt us. He has been with us the whole way comforting us, binding our wounds, wiping our tears, and holding our hands. He has been giving us glimpses of his power and ability, not teasing us, not pulling at our heart strings for his own pleasure; but He has taught us that when we allow Him to lead us, whether through hell & high water or fields of beautifully clothed lilies, He is taking personal care of us. He has never left us.

I realize this post is kind of everywhere, for that I apologize; it’s because my mind and heart are unable to process much right now but at the same time there is an unreal peace and calmness that has settled and left me in a place of disbelief, humility, & amazement.

On Wednesdays we worship because it’s because the faithfulness of our God that new life has begun.

Signature