seasons

11999675_10101713218713148_4070255769034594818_oOver the course of the past few years, I’ve really been leaning into the Lord and pretty much begging him for some pretty heavy things. And, expecting those prayers to be answered in my favor. I knew the Lord had the absolute power to do what I was asking, to give me & others the desires of our hearts and I believed that he was is the Giver of Good Gifts. So, I prayed for some good gifts.

I saw in scripture patterns of how the Lord blessed… I saw miracles happen… I saw healing and  mended hearts. Many of my prayers were no different than those of the Word and no more difficult than those prayed and answered in huge ways by friends and friends of friends. What I was asking was for sure possible.

One of my favorite Bible stories, one of the ones that interest me the most is found in Luke 1 when an angel comes to Zacharias to tell him of the conception of John the Baptist, then Gabriel coming to see Mary a few versus later. This glimpse into such a pivotal story is so sweet because in it is woven so much love and attention to detail that the Lord has for us. There is grace, mercy, community, promises fulfilled, and comfort given.

But, the best part of this story…. the part that I saw today totally stilled my heart.
In verse 20, the angel is telling Zacharias that he’ll be a mute for his disbelief (about a prayer he prayed… mind you) until the day the promises the Lord gave re: John the Baptist came true…. in their season.  Those three words are huge. The angel told of all the amazing things John would do – not drink wine or stronger drinks, turn the Israelites back to God, be filled with the Holy Spirit even in the womb… he would prepare the people for the Christ….. All of these things John the Baptist would actually do are promises made by the Lord… these things were the will of God in God’s plan for John’s life. But, they would each happen at an appointed time, in their own season… not all at once. (Also, keep in mind the Lord’s grace given when Zach was given his ability to speak after naming his son the moniker the angel said he would given to him…. versus the “until all these things would be preformed.)

When I think about where I am right now, this season of my life… where my babies are… the fact that I even have babies…. This time is abundant in answered prayers, promises fulfilled, and dreams come true. I’m grateful that even though the Lord’s plan was to give me the desires of my heart, he didn’t give me every desire all at once.

We are missing opportunities to worship the Lord and show gratitude for the blessings that are in season today because we’re so wrapped up in tomorrow. We’re robbing the Lord of praise, ourselves of peace, and the enjoyment of these blessings we’ve been given!

party of three

It’s easy for us to be in the season, yet focusing on the next. I mean, we have calendars, deadlines, and goals. Time blows by us so quickly… if we don’t stay on ‘top of it’, we’ll miss a lot and life can be impacted in a real way. I get it. But, in worrying about tomorrow, there are blessings and promises that  are ripe and fresh just waiting to be praised over today.

There was a time I begged the Lord for joy. I was so used to praying that prayer that I didn’t even realize that I had joy. I missed the blessing. There are answered prayers that were prayed so long ago prayed that we’ve forgotten what we’d asked for, yet it’s in our laps.

So, tonight … instead of asking for what I need or want next, instead of asking for anything at all…..
I’m going to thank God for this season and the blessings that are flowing from it. 

This season of motherhood is full of everything I’d prayed for… beautiful children (judge me if you’d like) who are happy. Children who are smart and funny, who are learning to talk and feed themselves, who love their mama and love each other. I prayed that they’d take care of each other and they do. I’m so grateful for that. This season of life I’m grateful for. It doesn’t look like what I’d hoped it would, but the Lord is answering my prayers and I see it. And, I’m so thankful. So, so, so thankful.. while certain blessings may not be complete, I see forward movement & preparation, so I’m thankful for the traction. That or I see my lengthened patience and I’m so thankful for that answered prayer.

In that story found in the first chapter of Luke, we read of a glimpse of decades long struggle with infertility, shame, disappointment, hurt, and loneliness. (No, this isn’t found in your Bible but Elizabeth was barren and she was a woman so I’m pretty sure she felt all of that at some point, in some capacity.) But, the conception of John was just the beginning of her prayers regarding motherhood being answered. There were many years and decades later that were overflowing with the joys of God’s grace and promises fulfilled in their season during her years as a mama. We have to remember that not one thing … the hard or  the highs .. will last forever. It’s a small moment in that will soon pass… inevitably to both better and worse times, but not matter what we also have the promises of the Lord as comfort and a foundation to stand on. When Gabriel spoke with Mary and when the angel of the Lord spoke with Zacharias, before giving them the most amazing news of their lives… he told them to “fear not”. Possibly because a freaking angel was standing before them, possibly because what they were told sounded completely ludicrous… but I’m also considering that he may have known that there would be some scary, difficult times to come. Maybe. I don’t know the extent of an angel’s knowledge of the Lord’s plan for Mary or Zacharias, but he came on behalf of the Lord and the Lord definitely knew. And, he knows the plans he has for you.

Fear not. Enjoy this season today.
Amen?

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keep adding to your story

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 Anyone who knows me, knows that I love t-shirts. This is one of my favorites.

The story isn’t over yet.

A simple sentence full of truth and determination. It screams tenacity and grit, endurance and sweat, achy muscles and tears and exhaustion. It’s a phrase of hope for the future. There is commitment and faith in what’s to come. There isn’t any weakness in this phrase, but total and complete strength.

To you….. the broken, the hurting, the exhausted, the lonely, the forgotten, the overlooked.
To you… who is struggling with what no one knows about, to the one who doesn’t feel like she can quite hold it together any longer, to the frustrated, to the weary one. To the who is shiny on the outside, but totally broken on the inside.

Your story isn’t over yet. 

You are becoming the person you are working hard to be. You will laugh again. You will be loved again.
You will pick up the pieces and create new goals and dreams for yourself.
This isn’t the end. This isn’t how it will always be.

Give yourself a break. Be gentle and gracious with yourself. Remember that in order for the next chapter to be written, you have to participate in the story. Your level participation determines the quality of the storyline. Accept what happened in the pages before… Accept your anger and work through it. Do the work in figuring out why you’re hurt and upset and forgiving that person. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not seeing it, for putting up with it, for allowing it to happen again, for not speaking up, for whatever you’re beating yourself up about…. then, let it go. Forgive the one who hurt you – whether they care or not. whether they have apologized or not. whether they know it or not. whether they intended to hurt you or not. Forgive them so your heart and mind will be free, so you won’t keep pressing replay and rewind on what has hurt you. Train your mind to think on other things and pray when something triggers negative or hard memories.

Then, move on.

Sometimes very hard things happen in our lives and we will not always understand why God allowed us to walk through such difficult circumstances. But, when you trust his sovereignty and his love for you, the difficult things are a bit easier to take in stride. I may have said this before, but I literally forgot that God goes before me. I didn’t even consider what that meant and how him walking with me as he/after he has gone before me is such a benefit. He has already been where I am right now, he knows what is happening, he has come to put things in place so that I will experience exactly what I need to in order to grow in him, bear fruit, deepen my understanding of who he is and stretch my faith. He is working the next moments, hours, days, weeks, etc out for my good as he walks with me through it. I think of it as the ultimate surprise…. how someone goes ahead of you preparing a surprise or sweet little search … they know where everything is. They probably know who you will respond to each stop, each fumble, every turn and hint as they prepare this surprise. Then, of course, they’re walking with you through it or watching you as you figure this whole thing out and sometimes give you hints. They steer you in the right direction when you’re going too far off course, they enjoy watching your anticipation, they hold on to you and guide you when you can’t see. Then, they wait for you as you near the end. They are standing right there as you put it all together, as you uncover your eyes, as you make it through the end. They’re right there to celebrate you, to celebrate with you. They are there as you look back at everything you went through, as you see what all was prepared. They’re saying “yes! And, you almost missed this… you bumped into a wall here… you did so good there… ” as you see how everything was put together from the end. As you learn why this was kept from you, why you weren’t allowed in this room…. as you learn the why’s of every detail of the planning phase after the fact. They are there. They were always there. There was forethought. There was understanding of you, your personality, your routines. In order to pull off the best of surprises, you had to be known. Well…. The Lord knows you. He has a plan for you and he knows exactly what you need to go through in order to receive his best, in order to grow through what you must, in order to become who he wants you to be.
Doesn’t that make you smile?

Yes, it’s hard now. It is difficult and heartbreaking but the Lord has gone before you preparing this moment to work together with every other moment for your good and his glory. We couldn’t avoid this or we would miss out on some much needed growth and a pretty amazing ending – becoming more like the Lord an serving his people…… in whatever ways the Lord has for you.

God has and will always offer us joy and peace. Two things that can remain in the midst of the hardest circumstances. But, one day you will wake up and realize how happy you are. No matter what decision you made, even if no one understands it, if you are following the Lord, he will keep you through the bad but will also bless you with the good. You’ll be shocked at the peace that resides in your heart. You’ll have good days and you’ll have harder days. But, understand that they’re just days – not your life. A bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life.  The days to come will be difficult, but soon, things will calm and your new normal won’t feel so mechanic and awkward. Your new routines will soon be habit and you’ll find yourself settling quietly there without your mind racing. Or…. you’ll learn to find some good in each day, you’ll draw closer to the Lord and as you grow in him your perspective will change. Joy, peace, and strength from the Lord will keep you. He will allow people to see that there is something in you that is not of this world, even when you don’t see it or feel it. You’ll walk with your eyes on the Lord which will make going through the difficult much easier that it would be if your eyes were on what is happening.

The Lord is good, y’all. And, he loves us. He has a heart for us.
A plan for us and will heal us.

He will redeem, he will comfort, he rejoices over us with singing, and he surrounds us with his unfailing love.

He who puts their hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and will not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

There are lines, paragraphs, pages, and chapters added to our stories daily.
We determine how they will read.
Trust in the Lord and be brave.

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feel the love, fill the home

13mos2I am so thankful I have twins, not because twins are just neat,
but because the girls have a sibling.
The girls are more fun than I ever imagined.. Their personalities are hilarious and I wish I could embed their interactions as their relationship develops in my memory forever. They’re just so sweet… God’s grace in diapers, you know?  One of my heart’s deepest prayers is that they have a relationship of depth and that they truly know, like, and trust each other. That they have a character and personality that encourages and invites. One of the other prayers I have is that the relationship the three of us share is one of not only depth, trust, and like but that we know each other. That the Lord continues to mold and shape me into the woman and mother that will be able to lead and guide, impart wisdom, and teach them well in every area of their life. My goal is that they leave my home well rounded and prepared to live on their own and be successful.
Our relationships are such an enormous deal to me because the Gospel is grasped, understood, and  lived out in relationships and I want them to get it early on…. in the comfort of their home… with people they have to endure because they aren’t old enough to move out. Or know any better. And, they’re going to like it.
Which is why my home is such a big deal to me. It’s a sacred space. So much happens within the walls of a home and my prayer is that I create a comfortable space and that I am who the Lord is calling me to be (kind & gentle before anything else).  All of our hopes, dreams, fears, success, and failures will be exposed and will either produce a confidence or brokenness.13mos
And, I know all of this may sound half control freak-esque, but I know that if I’m not intentional about what the Lord has put on my heart, I will for sure miss the mark. More than getting it right, I want to chase this passion the Lord has put inside of me.  I didn’t come from a home where all of this was a part of the fabric, so I have to be even more so intentional and aware of creating a space where relationship & Christ is the focus.
Joyfully, with peace and fun we will fill our lives with love and laughter. A serious matter but when the focus is Jesus we will smile wrinkles and memories that bring belly laughs and smiles across our faces. When you think about it, how huge of a deal is the day to day state of your home life when future generations are influenced by what is happening in your homes today? Our homes and are where we learn how to relate to the world. It’s within the relationships of those we share our couches with and pass in the hallways that we learn how to hold a conversation, how to stand up for ourselves, be forgiving, how to be love in action, and show ‘no matter what’ kind of love…. Our homes are where we learn how to compromise, share, work as a team, mentor, become teachable, work through issues, pray for others, ask for prayer, support, encourage, & serve.
We learn how to deal with conflict and how to celebrate… Our definitions of love, our ability to accept ourselves and others, our capacity to dig deep, our work ethic, and who we are is established in our home. one year shoot
While we’re still settling in and as I Clorox everything, I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed over our home. A home where beauty will be given for ashes, a home where healing and new beginnings will ignite life within the walls of this house we share.  Prayers about what will happen during our time here, prayers about my hearts goals and intentions, how the girls will grow…. prayers about how God will use us in this home are constantly thought, whispered, written, and spoken.
I know that the quality of their future deeply depends on how well they are loved, disciplined, and reared now. Parenting is the greatest calling that is a whole lot less about how great we are and how cute our kids are but more about how great our God is. So far, so good and we’re enjoying every moment.
Post Jam: I Get to be the One by JJ Heller
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