it’s all for his glory

One of the most beautiful things about the love of Christ is how he transforms our lives.
It’s beautiful how he will literally breathe life into a broken, dead situation.
How he puts joy and songs of praise in our hearts in the midst of and after great loss.
We value and celebrate that growth… count on it and expect it.
….. while at the same time, we’re ashamed of the need to grow.

WHY?

I have to admit that when my girls received the Most Improved award at their end of the year program last year, I was embarrassed. Even though I knew they’d matured so much over the year, knew that there was no doubt that they’d grown, and truly improved in so many areas from not losing their shit during drop off to potty training to using more words…. they blossomed! But, what I wanted was for them to be the best from the beginning. The foolish and judgmental stigma of “most improved” that I had was that they literally sucked and they’ve gotten better……… as if growth wasn’t something to be proud of, that it should be expected, and that it should be a goal to attain. Truth is, I was very proud of how they matured, I just didn’t “like” that they received an award for it. So silly.  Their hard work should be been celebrated instead of something to be ashamed of. Lord knows if it was up to me to get them potty trained, they’d still be in diapers. lol. Their teachers for the past two years have been incredible and I’m truly grateful for the leaps and bounds they’ve accomplished since they’ve started their preschool program.

How is my perfectionism and shame of their growth teaching them?
Is it pushing them to cover their struggles?
Am I teaching them to be insecure about their weaknesses?
Or that I will only be proud of them if they are “there” instead of celebrating them and enjoying the journey of becoming?
lol… I am more ashamed of myself and what my actions (even though I never told them or showed them how I felt) communicated than their growth. Clearly it revealed multiple areas I needed to grow in.

A friend of mine recently posted about the beauty of golf courses and how, in all of their well thought out beauty, they are man made. That space, those acres of plush grass, sand dunes, lakes, trees, and pathways, was not natural. But, the awe we feel doesn’t decrease and we don’t look down on them because they needed work.

But, we do this to ourselves daily. Or….. I know I can beat myself up about not having a certain trait or not quite yet getting control over that flaw not realizing that growing into that trait and becoming better over time is still something to be grateful for.

The disappointment, frustration,  or shame comes from comparison…. from looking at another person and thinking that the way the Lord naturally created someone makes them better than how he naturally created us. It minimizes the sin issues they have (whether you’re aware of them or not) and maximizes ours. It compares what could be the later chapter in their book to the earlier chapters in ours that are still being written. It ignores how the Lord is molding, shaping, improving, and creating you to be.

Lord knows there are days I wish the issues and flaws that I have didn’t exist…… that I could have come into this world as the person I’d like to be. But, that’s boring. That doesn’t tell a story of how great our God is and how he truly works things out for our good. Beauty is beauty…. formed by the words of our God or thought up in the imaginations and created with the gifts that the Lord has given us. It’s all from him. All for his glory. All of it tells of how the natural things the Lord created come together to honor him.

It’s the same. 

Over the last few years, I’ve learned how important it is to not allow a flaw to cause us shame. That sin issue may truly be a hard one to swallow, it may seem worse than any other, and it may have caused you some serious consequences and broken relationships….. But, guess what? When Christ died on the cross, he gave you victory over that sin. He forgave you of that sin. He gave you access to a relationship with a God who wants you to get that Most Improved award and tell you “Good job, my good and faithful servant!” when he greets you in heaven. He gave, he gave, he gave…. so that he could take away the hard and ugly and (again) give you something beautiful in return. A life free of guilt, a life full of hope, of salvation, of opportunity, or wisdom, and growth. He gives you a story your life will tell that will cause everyone around you to see that something about you different and wonder how it was possible.

And, you get to say “Jesus”.

Remember when I would post songs that I had on repeat?? Let’s bring that back!
Hillsong United – So Will I (100 Billion X)

Signature

…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

glimpses of the good

I’ve been pretty quiet about life…real life… for a couple of reasons… one being that I don’t have much extra time to write. Which sucks but it’s the truth. I literally squeeze my ThriveMoms posts in at the very last second and I realized that I never sit on my couch – ever. So, needless to say there’s not much down time. Second, vulnerable is not as easy for me to come back from. and, it’s time consuming. And, I’m busy. So…….. while I crave depth here, and in my TM blogs, and in my relationships, safety is first. Safety in just being  vulnerable and in the grace needed to come back from that space when it’s not as cut and dry as we’d all like for it to be.

Life is insane and intense.
But, I am so grateful for the joy and happiness in the blurry.

I read a meme today along the lines of “don’t ask me what I’m doing tomorrow, I barely know what’s going on right now.” and that pretty much sums up my life right now. And, another mama totally “me, too, sister’d” that sentiment as we were just talking about life stuff. So, if you’re a super planner that used to organize by the week, but now about 12 hours (or minutes) in advance, join us. You’re in good company. 🙂 And, it’s fun over here, so you’re welcome!

I’m listening to Lauren Daigle’s station Pandora (if you don’t know her, get to know her. She’s amazing. & you’re welcome… again!) and a few songs played back to back that just drove the faithfulness of God and how he is with you in everything that you go through all the way home. Such beautiful songs that nearly brought me to tears.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you pretty much already know that I puke and gush Logan + Rhyann on a daily. Those girls are my people and my everything; two super cute, little near two giant yet tiny tornadoes who make my world go round.  So, when these songs were playing, all I could think of is how well things are going and how good God has constantly shown himself to be. Highlight of October: rank promoting in Plexus!

Single parenting is hard, y’all. And, I know I make it look easy because you tell me so. Y’all are so impressed by how I do it, but I literally would not be functioning if it weren’t for the Lord. That sounds so overly spiritual and churchy but it’s so true. I have no idea how I do it day in and day out back to back. And, y’all need to know that. Your comments, emails, and face to face compliments & encouraging words fill my tank and encourage me in so many ways. But, I need y’all to know that it gets crazy at that house and we sing and dance it out in the car because the fun keeps us happy and smiling. It’s more out of intentional necessity than spontaneous fun. lol. Thankfully I get at least one day break during the week and the standard every other weekend which is such a major blessing. Yes, I have a schedule and very little wiggle room most days so I try to stick to it…. and, I’m balancing being a mom and being Alaina pretty well which I’m incredibly proud of because I don’t naturally balance well. And, when I say I’m ‘balancing’, I really mean that ignoring the laundry that’s piled on my couch right now and choosing to spend with my friends…. If I couldn’t allow myself to break and be, I’d be stressed and frustrated, impatient, and unhappy.

This year has been so good to me….
it’s been a successful year in many ways.
A year of growth and accomplishment.
A glimpse into what’s to come……

and, it’s so good.twintasticFind these tees here!

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
– Isaiah 61:3

Such truth.

There’s so much I’ve prayed for that has happened and that is on it’s way…. I’ve prayed for glimpses that let me know that all of the work and junk will be worth, prayed about earning more money, prayed about maturing and receiving wisdom, prayed about people I needed & needed me coming into my life, about strengthening relationships, prayed about writing/speaking opportunities……. and, this has been the year of yes. The year of redemption. The year of glimpses into a future that is bright, and full, and praiseworthy, and joyous. Not only for myself but for those around me.

So grateful.

Signature