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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whoosh….

whoosh goes the time.life It’s fast. Unforgiving. Borderline rude in how it just steals moments and gives you no notice of what’s to come.
And, if we aren’t careful, we’ll miss everything.

Am I the only one who tries to squeeze in a bit “more” in an already packed space of time? I always feel like there is something else that should have, could have, or would have been done if I wasn’t doing this….  Even if the this is legit. I’m always multi-tasking… cleaning the microwave while my dinner is sautéing… sneaking a moment to respond to an email while I’m waiting for the girls breakfast/lunch/dinner to warm clearly warrants the Guilt Fairy to sprinkle all kinds of guilt dust over my head. There’s nothing wrong with that but I guess it looks very un-awesome mother-like to be on your phone … during downtime?!?!?!
Can I get a “Me, too, sister’? What is the deal?!?!

I told you guys way over here who I was…  no sneak attacks. I’m a perfectionist, I hate to make mistakes, and I’m constantly looking for better ways to do/be/speak/communicate/write (literally pen to paper write)/____ better. And, it’s stealing my time. It’s siphoning moments that should be used to soak and etc forever in my memory all the 14month old twin savory sweetness because everything has to be just so or else I’m frustrated.
Then, I negatively self talk which causes me to lose even more time.
Que : Let It Go

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I’m learning that we all have some many questions about life… about  motherhood… our relationships… careers… passions and purposes in life that we want answers to right now. We are so pressed by the clock and that we can’t see the freedom in it. Our lives and perspectives are so dictated by culture, lists (how many words is a 14 mo supposed to say??), and Pinterest perfect expectations that we are losing time to do what really matters: love. We don’t realize that in time, all things will be answered. Either here on Earth or in Glory. So, why stress and get all ugh over an answer when there is so much joy, peace, and laughter offered in the moment?

We’re (I’m) busy rushing a baby off my hip, rushing to get to the next stage in life, impatiently waiting for this or that to happen and I’m missing it… I’m missing opportunities to love inaction.
Opportunities are to serve pass me by because I am far too easily distracted.joyful
I don’t want to look back on my day and realize that I used a lot of rushing words (Hurry! Let’s go! We have to go! Finish up! etc) and not nearly as many loving/life giving/encouraging ones (You’re holding your spoon so well! Thanks for helping me take your shoe off! Do you  like your fruit?)…. One builds relationships, the other builds stress. One causes another to smile, one causes feelings of inadequacy, as if they aren’t doing enough. One teaches impatience, while the other is teaching embracing the moment while being productive.
(There will be plenty of times we will have to legit to rush… let’s not do it all the time!)

In our moments of busy-ness, we cannot let what needs to be done overshadow our role. Right now, my most important job is to be loving and lead my little people to Christ… yes, I have to cook, clean, wash, fold, comb hair, grocery shop, pick up toys, and complete a never ending list of tasks. BUT, my priority is to first love.. guide in love, discipline in love, redirect in love, enforce boundaries in love. I need to encourage, I need to mold and shape more than I need to do laundry. I can’t honor God in my role if my first priority to sweep the floor. Everything is in vain if I’m not loving. A sparkling clean house means nothing if love is not filling those four walls. We have to use wisdom in when and how to do what our kiddos and households need and stages of life are different, but we should know that it’s when our priorities are out of order stress rears it’s ugly head. Am I right? Have you noticed that when we’re too focused on our list before our kids, we’re short tempered?

In order to be productive, we  need a game plan, some Slim, and prayer, but
when we center our to do list around our life,
we’re happier mamas who raise happier families
.

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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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