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)

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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.

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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?

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