keep adding to your story

img_1314

 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.

Signature

grace

selfiestick!!
For years I’ve shared my heart in this little space, so many of you know the struggles I’ve had with infertility, fertility treatments, and the failed adoptions. You know my issues with perfection, wanting things to be right, and wanting to excel in all things. Which, if not carried to the extreme, are good things. But, I’m an extremist, for me perfection and excellence are more of a burden than motivation.

I’ve had a hard time with the idea of grace being given to me, accepting such a beautiful gift was difficult for me. The thought of someone covering you – your thoughts, actions, personality quirks, etc – with love and forgiveness was foreign to me because I wasn’t that loving towards myself. I was very hard and harsh – not understanding that sin or offenses can not be accepted but the person can be loved, accepted, and forgiven. I didn’t get how failure or not meeting expectations could be accepted even in doing your best. So, there was a lot of stress, frustration, and unrest. Self doubt, insecurity, and isolation were all isolated in the idea that I wasn’t good enough – not because I actually sucked at anything but because I allowed the impossible image to dictate how I felt about myself.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Christ our Lord.
2 Peter 1:2

We can’t have grace and peace without truly knowing the giver of such gifts. I believe that we can know sides of God, but not wholly know Him. Just like we can know bits and pieces about the people in our lives but not them in entirety. The more we know about God, the more time we spend with him, the more you see how loving and gentle he is, how forgiving and merciful, and how peaceful and gracious He is, the more we know all sides of Him. It’s difficult to experience such goodness without desiring more. And, from that point, there’s this cycle that begins and ends with you at the foot of our Savior. We begin with getting a taste of Him, then desiring more which leads to spending more time in the Word which transforms our lives by changing our thoughts and desires. We’re changed and grateful which leads us to the cross to experience more forgiveness and goodness and us wanting more of Him.

It’s not my sinful nature that keeps me from God, it’s pride & perfection.

This perfectionist attitude & the insecurity it breeds has negatively impacted so many parts of my life for far too long. I’m not going to allow it to control how I mothered my children or the type of mother & person I am going to be.

From my ThriveMoms post:
“For me, mothering well looks like putting forth all the same major effort to be prepared, organized, and never forgetting to pack my cape. It includes being who I am, covering myself with an incredible dose of grace each morning, and accepting mistakes as life. I still want to do my best; the difference is in not allowing my mistakes or the perceptions of others to control how I live or view myself. Perfection is just insecurity masking itself — worrying if I’ll be accepted or seen as good enough has less to do with perceptions and actual tasks than me not seeing myself through the eyes of the Lord.
When I accept myself as the woman the Lord created me to be — a mama covered with grace and wholly accepted, loved and forgiven, perfection is null and void.”

Shaking the idea of perfection hasn’t been easy, but it’s definitely freeing. Accepting the grace and peace the Lord offers me moment by moment is the only way I’m even experiencing this freedom. I have to pray when I feel the negativity and frustration causing tension in my back and depositing fear in my heart. Because, my God, it’s there.

I literally have to stop and talk to God about accepting the grace and peace He offers me freely, for the wisdom & understanding to do what I’m working on well (hello, mid-day screamfest.)
and to be gentle and loving. To be free. To be confident. To be calm and overflowing with joy.

It’s in that place where I meet Jesus’ expectations of who I am to be.
Where I see that my standards and expectations were so low.
Where I realize that even though my ideas where in the right place, until my heart was changed, my efforts would be fruitless even if they were beautiful.
It’s in the humility and vulnerability of needing the Lord & giving Him control where peace and joy abide even in the most difficult of situations.

____

If you love what you read, do me a favor and subscribe to my blog… Just add your email address under my welcome & picture on the right! Thaaaaaaaaaaank you!

Signature

what’s for dinner?

bellyBut, thank God! He gives us victory over death and sin through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

THANK GOD!

I’ve been listening to this song on repeat for about a week. I play it as loud as I can when I can…… as softly as I can hear it when I have to. And, I allow it to get all the way into my spirit. To speak to my brokenness and hurt. To underscore whispered prayers through tears. To speak for me. To remind me of God’s promises.

A few things I’m believing God to give me victory and freedom over is my mouth. Lord, when that hurt and that brokenness is touched, it’s like pressing on a fresh bruise and your automatic response is to scream|cry out in pain. My pastor talked about anger and controlling ourselves while we’re angry….. I thought about the sin that follows anger. Scripture after scripture tell us not to sin in anger. “Do not… ” is said. We can control it. It’s a choice to yell and/or sneak snide remarks or just be outright nasty. My counselor (yes, I’m in counseling) and I have been working on just being quiet. Not saying anything. So, I’ve been very quiet this week. Especially when my bruises are bumped. When I’m hurt again. When things happen again. For my sake alone. And, it’s beautiful.

Beautiful to know that I can live peacefully.
It’s strength to not be controlled by any outside source.
Self preservation & self care is realizing that my inner well being is more important than everything.
More important than a jab or defending or trying to “get you to see”.

When I’m quiet, I give myself the opportunity to gather thoughts, to pray, to depend on Jesus for my peace, words, and tone. It barely feels good for a moment to go off and dig into another person, but it feels better and better to be able to not allow sin to throw me off my game plan. Which isn’t to do more than avoid setting fire to my life. To be seen as the crazy, angry chick when you’re really just hurting and waiting for someone to recognize that hurt and work to fix it.

James 3:5-9
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

Controlling my anger|words|emotions is what’s best for me but so good for my children and relationships. Being able to communicate peacefully and purposefully with tact is a beneficial. While I believe there are times you have to be more forceful with your voice & words, it’s only effective when rarely used.

Often I find that we know things but it’s difficult to implement until we’re ready.
I recognized that in relationships, I very much have a “team” mentality. It’s US until it’s not. I work very hard to be considerate and sensitive to other people although I’m not the best at it all the times with all people. But, I’m working. Anyway. So, when I’m doing that work with another person, I take it personally when they don’t give what I’ve given. I take it personally & it hurts me and makes me angry when it’s addressed but not worked on. What I’ve come to realize is that while you can ask, you can’t expect someone to give you something they don’t have. And, you have to stop making excuses for them. Potential & capacity have nothing to do with  desire & motivation. In trying to force the situation, we only end up frustrating ourselves. If they don’t have it, they don’t have it. They may never have it or they may get it in the future. Freedom is operating under what is right now peacefully. Not what you want to be or think it can be if this or that. Work towards the future, but operate in the present.

Recognize what is , forgive the hurts, then move on.
(Move on doesn’t always mean discontinue the relationship, it means get off the issue.)
{And, “off”is different than “over”}

Oh, this alleviates any reason to get angry. While issues may still hurt, there’s no need to get angry. There’s nothing to take personally. There’s no reason to label inconsiderate or unloving or anything else. Usually when I’m angry it’s because I’m disappointed (an expectation hasn’t been met), my feelings were hurt, or I felt as if I wasn’t considered. For the most part. Once I quietly deal with and label how I feel, I can move forward. I decide whether it’s worth bringing up or not. I decide how and when I respond – not my uncontrolled feelings. And, I change my expectations (not my standards) of that situation because now that anger isn’t narrowing my view, I can clearly see observe & respond based on facts// not feelings.

I’m not going to expect an organic meal from McDonald’s.
I know they don’t provide it, I’m not going to talk myself blue trying to convince them of the benefits of healthier choices and get upset when they don’t value of what I’m saying.
They serve what they serve. Eat it or move on, you know?
Without the mouthiness and fire starting.

Love yourself enough to choose what you want to eat.
You don’t have to eat what’s offered.
You decide what you will & won’t accept.
You decide how long you want McDonald’s.

When you recognize & accept what’s being offered vs. what you’re trying to add to an already set menu,
you’ll be able to move on in peace.
In a way that doesn’t disrupt your heart.
In a way that allows you joyfully eat of the current menu or open the next menu without still being bitter about the last one.

Ya know?

 

Signature