… thirty seven

[ t h i r t y – s e v e n ]

Before 2019 ended, the idea that my life was about to change could be felt.

Changes were made that I’d known for a while needed to be happen…….. but after major conviction, taking inventory of the past, & processing my feelings and what I’d like for my/my family’s future to looked like helped me to truly see what I’d been missing before:

Nothing is better than Jesus in a very real way.

That sounds super Jesus freakish & you probably rolled your eyes, probably wondering as a Christian why I’m just getting that, but as much as I love/d Jesus, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that he truly is everything that I need. I knew that, but never put everything down for him. This lightbulb… that came through a deeper, closer relationship with God, has completely changed behavior. Not rules, not someone saying “You should…” or “You can’t”, but being so close to God that anything that separated me from him hurt me.

A few things that I recognized…

Approval – his alone matters. periodt.

Acceptance – no matter what, when, or why he will forever search for me & welcome me, desire to be in relationship with me and be open to it even though I sin.

Comfort – He is the God of ALL comfort. Not cinnamon rolls, Chick-fil-a, wine or whiskey, or companionship. Just Jesus and once he is the first and only source of comfort, I won’t over prioritize, over value, or sacrifice who I am or standards to feel “better”.

Support – he gives wisdom in abundance if we ask, he leads us, he protects us, comforts, & is the safest, most intimate space we could ever ask for.

We truly need nothing else, but Him. And the most amazing thing is we often feel (or I quietly felt) that I’d be missing out on something if I truly gave everything up for him, if I truly lived sacrificially. I doubted and didn’t fully trust even though I knew that everything good comes from him, that there is no lack in him, that he withholds no good thing from us …… I was afraid that I’d be missing out on something. Ultimately something celebrated by culture (which likely contradicted The Word), something that would result in loneliness (which I was already feeling), or whatever I felt I needed. If everything I need is truly found in Him…… he is the ultimate source and then from trusting Him will come the very things I need except better. If I’m trying to fill a space based on my thoughts & feelings, I will lose every single time and still end up empty. Those choices will be fueled by fear, thoughts of lack, trauma, selfishness, sin, and cultural “goals” that will have me chasing after something that will never truly satisfy me.

I might be the only one whose lightbulb is just.now. clicking but I am so thankful it is. At nearly 40… feeling too late, too old, too weighted down with  life’s responsibilities… regardless of the feels, God is so so so good and nothing compares to Him.

2020 began with a whole new outlook on my Plexus business, relationship perspectives and goals, motherhood goals, career moves, & just how I wanted each day to look. The perspective I have is that everyday literally is going to create and lead to a week that turns into a month that turns into a year. If I.. when I focus on sacrificing and submitting day to day the life I want (which is the life the Lord has for me) will flow.

And one of the first things I knew I needed to change was the fact that I did nothing for myself in 2019. Nothing to very little for myself. Very little. I hardly hung out with my friends, didn’t go to any movies (which I love to do, until the end of the year), and was completely overwhelmed & growing resentful at what my days looked like. I couldn’t be the mama, friend, person, writer, speaker, provider, ministry partner, business builder I needed to be because I empty. Running on empty. fumes. and clawing to stay on my feet. It was exhausting and another year that way wouldn’t end well.

So, I committed to being more social – not for the sake of just being out, but truly pouring into, rebuilding, and establishing friendships and relationships that I’d neglected over the past few years….. and the last 26 days have been so much stinking fun. While I know exactly why I didn’t do it sooner, I’m wondering, ‘Why didn’t you do this sooner?’

I know the reasons I had were valid & real…… but they weren’t true. Tony Evans says that there’s a difference between truth and fact. I based decisions on facts, but not the truth. And we do it all of the time.

EX:
Mom: I can’t go, because the baby is too young.
Yea that’s a FACT, the baby is tiny….. but the truth is – you can go.
If you choose to…. choose to believe that we aren’t our kids end all and be all. Choose to believe that we can truly have a life outside of them and still be good mothers. Choose to believe that things will be fine if we aren’t losing ourselves to hold them and everyone and everything else together.

Y’all. I’m scared, no lie. Because I’m not sure. And, anyone who says walking with God in a way they’d never had before isn’t scary is.. lying. Hello, Moses, and everyone else who’d been pulled by the Lord and responded with a “Who me?” Then, you have those who came to the Lord for healing and you’ll see a few times he asked, “Do you want to be made whole?” umm.. of course, that’s why I’m here. Right? Like let’s not ask questions we already know the answer to. That’s annoying.

But, the truth is:
there are times we want something, but just not bad enough
to sacrifice and change our life for.

Not enough to truly be vulnerable for.
Not enough to stop being lazy for.
Not enough to stand up and be bold for.
Not enough to say “no” to everything else that isn’t that for.
Not enough to just do the things that need to be done for.

So…. again… do you want to be made whole?

So. It’s tough. And, scary.
Already 26 days in.
But, I believe deeply that while I have no idea what they heck is going to happen, I know that every day (a hundred times a day), I lay every fear that crops up, every desire, every choice, every opportunity, every move at the cross. And I trust that God heard me. Like the enslaved Israelites tears, fears, and desires – “…their cries rose up to God. God heard their groaning…” (Genesis 2:23-24) and because I am trusting the Lord and truly delighting myself in Him….. seriously enjoying worshipping, praying, reading the Word, talking throughout the day, I trust the promise of Psalm 21:2 that says the Lord will “give him his heart’s desire; you have withheld nothing he requested.”

And, my response before, during, and after is praise.
Not because I have what I asked for or even that it’s promised to me and I have the faith that I will receive it, but because I love God. And, God loves me and is worthy of my praise….. every other reason is extra.
cherries and whip cream and sprinkles on top.

Just like the children of Isreal were God’s special possession, I am, too.
Just as they needed him for deliverance, I do, too.
Just like they needed him for provision, I do, too.
Just like they messed up, I do, too.
And, he still heard them.
He still welcomed them back.
He didn’t stop being their God.
He didn’t stop being their provider.
He didn’t stop leading them.
He didn’t stop being who he was.

While the goal isn’t 40 years of learning while wandering….
I’m prayerfully grasping what they continued to miss:
 He is everything that we need.

And, if they had allowed him to be that everything all the time – even when they were afraid, even when they didn’t know, even when they felt alone – they would have experienced God in a way they never had before and would have seen what he promised and had stored up for them.

Lastly,
I posted on Instagram a few days ago that
we often trust that God will, but doubt that he is.
(At least I do… could be solo on that one.)
Doubt that in this situation right now, God is creating & establishing it.
Doubt that this situation right now is what we have been praying for.
Doubt that this could really be it.
Doubt that the first step in the plan, the steps we have to work hard to complete and sacrifice to accomplish, really will lead us there.

So we quit. We allow fear and “wisdom” and comforts of life and habits of our comfort zones to keep us from what God has for us.

Not this year.

And, because I really want a lobster & bacon grilled cheese sandwich for dinner tonight…. I’m going to get up and go to the store for Havarti cheese. Yes, one item. Because I want it that badly.

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worth the wait

One thing I look forward to everyday is opening my Facebook app and seeing a memory from years and years ago. There has been so much LIFE CHANGE that’s happened over the past FIVE years and each of the memories from the girls, Plexus events, or even photos of myself that make me so dang on proud.

We’ve been through a lot.

A couple of days ago, May 31, a memory popped up from 2016 that reminded me that five years prior I had my first fertility treatment. whoa. I remember that summer being emotionally difficult. Physically uncomfortable. Mentally draining.

Ironically, May of 2014 (3 years later), I found out I was pregnant. On my own. Post multiple failed fertility treatments and failed adoptions. Post my brokenness. Post my faith kept in the fire. Post battling darkness, disappointment, hopelessness. and, eventually choosing to give up. A couple of weeks after I resigned, my cycle was about 3-4 days late before I decided to take a pregnancy test that showed me two pink lines confirming that I was indeed pregnant.

Two life changing events that began in May. Not sure whether to run with that or just raise a brow. At minimum, it’s neat.

Here I am, eight years later the mama of three surprise babies from two unexpected pregnancies. A testament of the fact that even though my body said one thing, the Creator of all (including my malfunctioning body) moves in his ways on his timing.

His timing is perfect.
And, scary.
Uncomfortable.
A bit annoying.
And, feels very much like “last minute”.

During our infertility and adoption season, I designed and sold t-shirts and wrist bands that affirmed that our baby, our expanded family was “worth the wait“. That his timing, his plan, his glory, and our story would be worth all of the time and everything that happened between the start and a baby in our arms would be worth that child, the blessing, and the Lord’s glory.

I think back and laugh because we had NO IDEA what we would walk through by the time the babies that grew in my belly made it to our arms. None.

But, what I gained in the span of those years pre-pregnancy prepared me for what I would walk through during my pregnancy. I was insanely immature. I felt ill equipped. It felt like the same hell, but hotter.

but, still. The foundational belief was essentially that the Lord would work everything out for our good and he would get the glory in what happened in our lives.

and, he has. 

He makes all things beautiful in their own time.
He is a God of restoration and redemption.
He is a God that delights in showing us mercy.
He is a God that stores good things up for us.
He is a God who heals, brings back to life, and renews.
He is a God that is faithful, committed, patient with us.

He never fails.
He never quits.
He never gets tired.
He never stops pursuing.
He never stops forgiving.
He never stops maturing us.
He never stops drawing us to him.

Always welcomes us with open arms.
Always hears us.
Always sees us.
Always responds to us.
Always provides.
Always comforts.
Always strengthens.
Always gives us peace.
Always watches over us.
Always prepares a way for us.

He gives us beauty for ashes. Fact.
What we endure will not compare to what is waiting for us in glory. Fact.
What we endure & enjoy works together for our good. Fact.
He is always with us. Fact.

All of that is certain and so true. We can depend on it.
We can enjoy each day with peace standing on those promises
because it is written and that never changes.

But what isn’t certain is HOW we go through our circumstances and who we become as we go through them. We can fall away from Christ and choose to throw our hands up at him and all he’s doing. We can find illegitimate ways to satisfy legitimate needs and desires. We can become hopeless, develop a scarcity mindset, and lose sight of what we believe the Lord has for us and will do for us. We can allow our hearts to harden, we can become people we don’t even like when we look in the mirror.

Or, as painful as it can be, lean into the Lord and draw near to Him. Yes, the one we know can  change our circumstances just by making a mental choice and breathing. The one we feel is the source of our pain and not our comfort. The one we know can heal our bleeding hearts and restore brokenness. That one. We can trust Him. Because what we has waiting for us, is for us. We can trust Him because like a good father, he loves us too much to gives us something that isn’t ready yet or that we aren’t ready for. He loves us too much to spoil the surprise and give it to us too early. Loves others that we’re connected to and that our blessing is connected to (whether we know it or not) to act before it’s the perfect time for everyone involved.

We can trust what he’s doing. He’s reliable. He won’t let us down. He even fixes our messes and works the consequences of our sins into the “good” that will soon be ours. He loves us that much. Nothing is wasted. Nothing has to be wasted, rather.

One thing I learned to do is look for the good and spend daily time with the Lord. Those things plus developing my prayer life has been incredible. What I see the Lord doing is amazing.

I’m not going to go into the “I’m not perfect” because by now if you’re thinking or expecting anyone (including yourself) to be perfect, ….. it’s a waste.

Whatever you’re believing God for.
Whatever you’re praying for.
Whatever you’re too afraid to even ask God for, to even mention it to him.

IS WORTH THE WAIT.
WORTH YOUR TIME SPENT IN PRAYER.
WORTH YOUR TIME DEVELOPING YOURSELF.
WORTH YOUR TIME PREPARING.
WORTH YOUR TIME DREAMING.
WORTH YOUR TIME LEARNING.
WORTH YOUR TIME UNROOTING TOXICITY.
WORTH YOUR TIME LEARNING NEW HABITS.
WORTH YOUR TIME BREAKING GENERATIONAL CURSES.
WORTH YOUR TIME DEVELOPING A STRONG MINDSET.
WORTH YOUR TIME DEVELOPING YOUR FAITH.
WORTH YOUR TIME IN PURSUIT.
WORTH YOUR TIME SACRIFICING FOR.
WORTH YOUR TIME TAKING STEPS EVERY SINGLE DAY TO ONE DAY HAVE.
WORTH EVERY SINGLE TEAR.
EVERY SINGLE PRAYER.
EVERY SINGLE HOPE.
EVERY SINGLE MOMENT IMAGINING HOW FLIPPING
AMAZING IT IS GOING TO BE.

YOU ARE WORTH IT.


Moreover, let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings,
know that pressure an affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.
Roman 5:3

 

 

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joy and hope

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

In real life, when we are barely making it through the day without bawling our eyes out in the car or spending our days in zombie mode, it’s difficult to believe that God can fill us with joy and hope. And, when I say fill, I mean it in the truest sense of the word. Like, fill my wine glass to the brim because that’s the kind of day I had kinda fill. You know? Not the give my two year old a cup of water kind of fill that’s barely half full. Full like there is no room for a drop more or my cup will overfloweth kind of full.

But, when we step out of ourselves and look at the larger picture of what’s going on, we will see that God doesn’t find joy in our difficulties…. just as I don’t find joy in my girls’ frustration and hurt….. but, I know that there are times the hard times are necessary to learn something new and necessary for the next phase in life.

What’s the bigger picture? Why do we go through all of this?
plain and simple…. so that we will live a life as a person whose behavior honors and glorifies God.
That’s they why behind all of this……

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

When we’re going through the hardest of times, we have to remember that 1. God is our safe place. He is the source of sanity, joy, peace, strength, hope, love, and forgiveness and 2. when we go to God and depend on him in faith for all of those things we are able to live peaceably with all people in all circumstances.  And what will that do a few things….. deepen your relationship with Christ, calm your situation OR allow you to operate well in the situation, and cause others to wonder how it is you haven’t lost your mind. All of which give you the opportunity to share Christ.

Our world, our lives aren’t about us. That’s a difficult concept to grasp in the culture we live in today that encourages self-absorption, chasing your desires, and filling your life with stuff. But, those things aren’t God’s desire for us. He’d rather us be joyful than happy, searching for peace, our identity, fulfillment in Him rather than in people or material things or other people. He wants us to trust him in faith rather than what we think or feel. I don’t think he doesn’t know how difficult it is. I believe that because He knows how difficult it is, He sent his son as the perfect example of peace, endurance, patience, and perseverance…. until death. He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of each and every one of us to guide us, pray for us, and comfort us. He gave us the Body to encourage and support us. He gave us something to look forward to –  joy and a life with Him. psalm29-11 my very beautiful friend featured in a Proverbs 31 Ministries pic.

We have a Savior we can safely put our trust.

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