… the beauty of freedom

I love next to nothing  more (besides Jesus) than I love a fresh hair cut.
And, next to no one I talk to (who knew me pre-fade) can hardly comprehend this chop.
But, let me tell you….. It’s been one of the best acts of self care that I’ve done for myself in years.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who pressed me about cutting my hair.
The same responses were given that had been repeated for nearly two years.
This is the thing:
That answer was repeated almost verbatim (mainly because I legit practiced the response) because I knew I’d be questioned, I knew those questions would come hard and fast, semi-judgmental and I wanted to be prepared.

Prepared to defend doing what I wanted for myself.
Defend something that affected no one else.
Isn’t that… interesting?

However, I believe the core of choosing to chop all of my beautiful, long, and thick hair off was dug up and unearthed a week ago.

My hair was cut lower than it had ever been and I then dyed it rose gold.
And, I loved it. The color has since grown out a bit, but I love this look. I love the cut.

I felt beautiful.
I felt free.
Capable.
And, that’s when it dawned on me.

While yes, I cut my hair because I did not have the time nor want to spend 3-4 hours every other week washing/conditioning/twisting | sit for 3 days (super inconvenient) | untwist every morning (15-30 mins every morning) | retwist at night (30-45 mins) | toss in a  puff for a week…… my hair was damaged, breaking, thinning and completely unhealthy and I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

Not to mention the girls destroyed the house/their room while I was trying to do all of this. It was stressful, induced anxiety, and was insanely frustrating. Combining the the hours it spent washing/braiding/combing Rhy & Lo’s hair, the last thing I wanted to do was do my own hair. While all of that is true…..

I cut my hair because it’s my hair. on my head. that only I have to deal with and I wanted to.

And, I have never felt more beautiful and at peace with who I am or my appearance. 

One thing I cannot do is bend and confirm to another person’s idea and perspective of what is
beautiful, acceptable, or attractive.

Which is one main reason I value my singleness.
When we are married we sort of have to (or it will greatly benefit us to) take into consideration
our partner’s likes or dislikes and if your goal is submission, to fall under their leadership
and go with their final say.

However, as a single woman……
No one else’s preferences are taken into account when it comes to what I like for me (tattoos/cuts/color/piercings), what I need and what is best for me (from the supplements I need to take in order for me to feel my best to a new ______),
or how I choose to do anything.

My body. My hair. My choices. 
Especially since none of these things are affecting/hurting/harming another human.

(This likely isn’t a mindset you should take on as a wife….)
I cannot give someone that much power over me, that much say over what I do for my own emotional, physical, or mental health. I cannot allow someone else to control how I want to wear my hair, and live in their box of what they like or feel is attractive.
I can’t lose or dishonor who I am and what I need for another person.
or their ever fleeting and changing thoughts.

“You can’t cut your hair!”
“That was a bad idea….”
“Why would you want to do that to yourself?”
“You are going to grow it back, right?”
“What are you doing?”

Limiting, short sighted, fearful, and judgmental thoughts and ideas imposed on another person.. for what?

I love the freedom of experimenting with length and now color.
I love the freedom of not being held back by my very own fears or being limited due to another
person’s struggle with what other people will say, think, or feel.
I love that fear does not reign here.
I love that taking chances and calculated risks are a huge
aspect of living a full life of no regrets.

At the end of the day, our lives are about no one but Christ and if he isn’t offended… why are you allowing someone else’s preferences dictate your life?

Join the MLM (they aren’t the devil and we can chat about the best one when you’re ready).
Take the supplements. Travel. Take the kids with you.
Be bold in that space. Have the convo. Take the lesson. Take the job.
Go back to school.Don’t go back to school.
Trust the Lord and do the things, above all else.

“… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things and the God of peace will be with you…….”
Philippians 4:8

That scripture there is the standard and barometer. 
Do I miss my curls?
No.
Were they absolutely beautiful?
Yes.
And, hot. Also, very hot.

But, that season is over.
I don’t regret a moment of chopping my relaxed hair to embrace my natural hair.
I don’t regret a moment of chopping my natural curls and wearing a fade.

Look at me.
Joy, peace, & happiness rest here.
Fear doesn’t reign.
Boxes and limits don’t exist.
Just freedom.
Embracing opportunity.
Trusting the Lord.
Raising these babies.
Serving others.
And, enjoying each day of this life.
Yes, it’s full of trouble,
but it’s also full of so much grace, goodness, and promises
of comfort, a future + hope, and abundance.

The more I allow myself to step out of my comfort zone, follow the steps the Lord is
laying before me (as confusing and uncomfortable as they may be),
the more I experience just that.

Hey, girl, hey.
My name is Alaina.
I am not bound by fear, limits, boxes, or my own comfort zone.
And, let me tell you, that thing you’re afraid of doing…
isn’t your obstacle.
What’s holding you back is how you think of yourself and who you believe you are.
That’s it.
I love the own versatility.
I love my growth.
My bravery.
Boldness.
That smile.
This season of life.
My openness to change, possibility, and the unknown.
My beauty.
Unapologetic.
Unashamed.
Free.
Fully recognized.
Fully embraced.
Unconditionally loved.
.

Go be great, sis.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
Song of Songs 4: 7 

Signature

… to be like you

Our creator is brilliant isn’t he?

I mean, he specifically created creations to worship him. Nature (sun, moon, ocean, our gut health + its impact on our overall health) and the our very nature causes us to know him and to worship him. God is relational and because we are made in his image, we deeply crave relationships, as well. And, him being his all knowing self and so dang on intentional about us getting him, he allowed two relationships to demonstrate his deep, unending love for us:

1. marriage
2. parenting

These relationships are both rooted within the family… a unit based on what is supposed to be the forever commitment between a husband and a wife that mirrors God’s forever commitment to us, the relationship between Christ and the church first within their home, then those mirrors shared with their world. That husband and wife unit are to mirror the role of Heavenly Father to their children. Those two roles are heavy and hard in their impact and duty, but God’s grace is sufficient and his forgiveness is efficient and forever (because we need it that way, amen?) to enable us to carry out that model.

One of the ways the Lord has revealed himself to me over the past few months is in how he is a father, and he has challenged me greatly as a mama and as his daughter. Who we are as individuals and how we respond to our children as earthly parents will absolutely dictate how our children think about and relate to the world and Lord. Does our abundant way of thought teach our children that the Lord truly has good things stored up for them and is willing to… delights in.. blessing them in abundance, with overflow? Do we teach them that they have worth simply because of who & whose they are and not for what they do? or how they behave? Do we teach them that they deserve good things? Do we pour positive affirmations and belief in them that’s rooted in the Word and tells them that they can do all things and excel? Do we show them that we delight in giving to them just as the Lord delights in us or do our actions tell them not to ask for anything? Do we model listening and hearing the way we tell them the Lord does? ugh. Do we freely give or does scarcity in thought keep our fists clinched and calendar schedules and when/what we give centered around our own wants and conveniences because we don’t believe there is enough time, enough money, enough ____ to share with others?

Y’all, it’s hard. It’s heavy. And, this is where I’ve been challenged.
It sucks because I have plenty of reasons why I can’t, don’t, shouldn’t have to, etc.
But, gracious it has been so fulfilling and beneficial and sweet.

Parenting is as much fun as it is hard. Some days it’s a lot more fun, yet some days you’ve got to force some fun to shake off the hard. But, if there’s nothing else that teaches us about the overwhelming burst our heart, protect to death sort of love the Lord has for us it is parenting.

The way we love our children should show us the depth & recklessness of his love for us and and observing the way our children respond to us is the most incredible example of  how trusting we ought to be of Him. I mean, can we talk about how natural those two acts are? Without a second thought as parents we give and forgive, surprise and plan well, provide and protect, correct and guide.


If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven (as perfect as he is) give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him? 
Matthew 7:11 AMP

And, our children… especially our babies… are the best examples of how we should engage and interact with God. I mean, do they literally not open their mouths every time we move anything towards their face? And, do they not grab for whatever it is we have? They have no idea what it is we are feeding them, but they know that if we have it, it is also theirs and it is good for them (usually, ahem). But they have a natural instinct to receive what is offered to them…  until they are full. Then, they look for us again with expectation that their needs will be met when they’re hungry again. Is that not the must trusting act? They know that when they have a need there is someone they can go to who always provides for them without question. whoa. Without question, they trust us that much. They search for us, cling, when something is pulling us away from them they protest with a ferocity that breaks our hearts. They want us. The way that we should search for and protest about separation from our God…….

sweet right? Ugh, yea. Warms your heart.

….. Until we talk about how we receive them when they come looking. Not at pick up from school, that’s cute and sweet. But, when we’re at the park and siblings are fighting… or when they are pumped about showing us something after a really long day and we just want to get in the house! … or the bed. Are we pointing them to Jesus in our responses?

Parenting these little people who initially can do nothing for themselves who then grow into these small people who say (repeat!) the sassiest things is mind blowing … it’s even crazier that the Lord gave us (entrusted us) with the responsibility to mold and shape these little people who mirror us to be little mirrors of Him. So deep.

They come as blank little white boards and we are these markers that write info on them. We give them our limits, our mindsets, our triggers, our responses.. from the moment they are conceived we are writing on their hearts……. from the moment they’re born, we’re giving them a foundation and beliefs they will stand on for years and years to come. But, not with good, fresh out of the pack Expo markers… with awful where-did-you-get-these markers that don’t fully erase. No matter how hard we try to erase or what we spray on that board… it’s not coming off. Who we are, how we think, how we live out what we say we believe is written on those little boards.

I have been so blessed to make the sweetest friend and we talk regularly though motherhood and lifehood…. and all the things. And, in our convo it is like we have our arms around each other, facing Jesus. Supporting, sharing, empathizing, sharing scripture, and videos with each other as we look to Jesus. And, it has been incredible. She and our relationship has been the real life “grace is sufficient” during this AH-HA, real life lesson of real-life learning another attribute of who the Lord is and who he is calling me to be in my home. We were chatting late into night a few days ago, both of us in the throws of exhaustion but up late because we’re working while simultaneously trying to get some quiet alone time as it’s the ONLY time we have to ourselves, and after she communicates my heart in how she’s feeling she says, “We were given all of these commands [to love, serve, care for our families etc] and it’s so hard…. but we can be so focused on the command that we lose sight of The Commander.” MIC DROP. Whoa, right?

The Lord has commanded us to love, forgive, seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly, to give,  develop fruits of the Spirit… but he never expected us to do any of these things in our own strength. He never expected us to work so hard doing anything he told us to do that it makes us miserable and our homes to display the complete opposite of who he is…. he never wanted us to focus so tough on the commands that we stop focusing on Him. That focus reminds us to cast our cares, gives us the ability to endure, teaches us how to do the things he’s called you to do, discloses wisdom and discernment, allows us to forgive… The work is still difficult, but we are no longer hustling for an outcome or trying to obey the command. We are focused on Christ, walking in freedom and faith as our relationship with him changes us so that we are fulfilling the commands by being, not doing.  We aren’t trying to make an unforgiving heart speak kindly to someone. Nope. Not focused on the common and checking off a box.  But, we are giving our hard hearts and hurts to Jesus, he heals and softens it and then we are able to act in love and kindness because of the changes Christ is making within us.


“Dwell in me, and I will dwell in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.”
John 15:4-5 AMP

Tough road, but blessed. So sweet and fulfilling.

What has the Lord been teaching you recently?

Signature

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

 

 

Signature