… 1/1

Hey, girl, hey! ***waves real big***

You may be new here, you may have been reading and growing and learning and doing all the life things with us for the past 5-6 years. Not quite sure how long it’s been, but we’ve journeyed through infertility, fertility treatments, adoption, marriage, spiritual maturity (an ongoing process), surprise twins, divorce, single parenting, a surprise Dylan…….. lots of life.

You know me. Or may be getting to know me. I love to read books, I love to share what I learn, My preference is small groups over tons of people, vulnerability is my jam but has been treated as an enemy in recent years. You may have noticed a difference in my writing, you may have seen a shift in what I shared & how deep those stories went. Definitely a slow down to turtle pace in how often I posted.

A couple of things have been happening over the last few months, maybe. Or maybe it’s been happening for a while and I’m just now seeing or realizing the coming into that space of time when “all things work together for good and God’s glory.”

The girls turned 4 a couple of weeks ago and it’s been a fun + hectic journey. But, one of the most exciting parts about watching these girls grow is how the growth happens no matter how old they get. Since they were babies they would work hard at a skill and struggle with it getting. Lots of effort, lots of help from mama + others, lots of “almost!!!”, and rest….. then it seems like out of nowhere the light switch clicks and BOOM! They have it to near perfection “out of nowhere”. That’s what I feel like I’m experiencing now to a certain extent.

There has been so much emotional, spiritual, & mental struggle to get to certain “levels of maturity”… hard conversations, a bit of progress, difficult counseling sessions, meltdowns, efforts, and blow ups over the years…… and then BOOM. Out of “nowhere” these abilities to handle what once would have sent me reeling & where I would have totally lost control, there is ease and peace and thoughtfulness. Today, I have the ability to move on with my day without allowing whatever to completely disrupt everything and leave me unproductive and an emotional wreck. At times I feel like I’ve got it, I see growth and I’m so stinking thankful.

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So…. it’s been a while since I’ve written like this and, I feel like I have to disclaim even though if you know me at all either in person, by way of this blog, or social media……. you know my tendency and will likely brush this disclaimer off. At any rate…..

Disclaimer: I’m no theologian. I haven’t gone to seminary (although I kinda want to.. shhhh!)….. I’m just a girl who loves Jesus, an introvert who loves to talk to people, and someone who loves to learn and share what she loves. K? K.

I read most of The One Year Bible every year. I keep reading it every year because I like to, but also because there hasn’t been a year I’ve read every single day. So I keep trying to hit that goal. Thankfully every year I read more and more. There’s a passage taken from the New Testament, Old Testament, Psalm, & Proverbs for everyday so its pretty fun to read.

Today was day 1 and of course we start off when Genesis 1:1. I read Genesis 1:1-2:25 like I do every year and know the story like the back of my hand bc hello…… we’ve been learning it since we were kids. But, this time was different…..

Gen 1:1 (& many times after) | … God created …

Gen 1:2 | The Earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters.

Gen 1:3 (& many times after) | Then, God said, “Let there be…..” and there was. And God saw it was good.

Gen. 1:7 (& many times after) | And, that is what happened. God made this to…..

Gen. 1:5 (& many times after) | …. marking the first (second, etc) day.

Gen. 1:20 was the first time God created living things & in Gen. 1:22 (& many times after) | Then, God blessed them….

Gen. 1:21 | … it was completed.

**** blinks****

Do you see it? Do you feel it? How do you feel?

Today is Jan. 1….. the beginning of a new year. There are goals set and many days, weeks, & months ahead that are yet to be filled with anything.

**** okay lets keep going****

Okay so God made man. Cool. Breathes into him. Has life. Great. Made the garden, cool.

Gen. 2:8 | there be placed the man he had made.

Gen 9-14 describes how beautiful & productive this place was. Tells of the precious materials, fruit, plants, etc where exactly where the Lord placed the man.

Okay.

How amazing is it that the Lord created – not with hands or tools – but with his words something out of nothing. Not a something that is useless that didn’t have a purpose or something he just came up with out of boredom like we may do with Play-doh or how we draw and doodle when we have a pen and paper while our mind wanders. The garden was beautiful, full of opportunity.

The Lord was VERY intentional about what he created. When he created it. And WHY he created it. Everything had a purpose (Gen. 1:7). He called that very purposeful thing good and blessed it. He started making something for a reason and finished the project. Not how we begin to do a very valid something for a very valid reason then quit for usually a pretty invalid reason. We may not ever come back to it. We may even have a bunch of well meaning beginnings with no completion because we have trouble following through and committing. The Lord never starts something and quits.

Then…… the Lord created a person at the right time and placed him in the right place for a purpose. He had a work to do. He had things to maintain and keep up. Things that required work, focus, attention, sweating, labor. The garden sounded pretty big with a whole lot of plants and animals and stuff to do and he was in charge of it all. He was busy doing a lot of different things. And, the Lord expected him to do it…….. to do what he told him to do in the place he had him. No matter what the details and facts were. If he couldn’t do it, he wouldn’t have given it to him to do. (Don’t jump ahead… okay?)

I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that……….

No matter where we are, we are not there by accident. Whether we’re there by our own (good or bad) choices or by someone else’s decisions (maybe a spouse or parent….. a child), we are here for a reason and the Lord expects us to work. To do something. To use the gifts, skills, and opportunity that he has given us for his glory.

…. and, not to forget Genesis.

What I realized today gave me hope and it inspired me. It encouraged me and made me feel so very loved.

The Lord saw something was needed, but missing. Spoke something that didn’t exist into existence, called it good, gave it purpose, & blessed it…… for our good and his glory. (Have you heard the song So Will I by Bethel Music???)

The New Testament reading was Matthew 1:1-2:12. The only thing I will point out is that in 1:18 it says “…. through the power of the Holy Spirit…” referring to Mary becoming pregnant.

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If we believe all of this was done by our Lord. By His words & his power.

If we see what we believe to have been done by him.

We can live every single day of this year trusting that wherever we find ourselves or intentionally go, there is a purpose for us there and a work we are equipped and able to handle. We can believe that we are blessed.

And, further, that whatever we are dealing with can be handled by God – whether he speaks the solution into existence or he gives us the tools and opportunity to address it “ourselves” as we fully lean and depend on him for direction and wisdom to handle what he has put in front of us while he is also handling what we can’t. (That realm of principalities ain’t a joke but it very real, ok? … meanwhile, I’ll be over here being patient & kind! Lol)

We know and trust that there are things that can only be done by his words and through his power. And, we believe that whatever needs to be done can and will be by faith.

I’m not the only one with goals and dreams and frustrations and places that I need the Lord to move and move mightily & immediately.

But, I also know that whatever he does + whenever he does it will be right and good.

I know that how he grows, prepares, and matures me is in concert with all the things he’s doing.

If it’s all working together….. there is progress in every area even if that progress isn’t happening at the same speed or at the same time.

When “it is completed” it will be for my good, the good of those around me (& maybe beyond my physical reach thanks to the internet) and for his glory.

Because of all of THAT… I have hope. joy. peace. and a spirit of expectancy and a commitment to lean into my Lord and deepen my faith because I need him to create, approve of, & bless with his words and power this year. Amen?

And, I just scrolled through all that I wrote. It’s a lot. Thank you so much for reading, especially if you’ve gotten this far. 🖤

And, since you’ve gotten to this point, you may as well leave a comment. ☺️ I’d appreciate it and it would mean a lot to me.

Thank you!

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… the struggle is real

… real good.

If you know me, one of my favorite things is quotes! And, I heard one that resonates deeply with me and hit me pretty hard.

“We should concern ourselves not with pursuit of happiness but the happiness of pursuit.” Hector and the Search of Happiness.

For as long as I’m aware, I’ve always been very much a destination minded person. I focus on getting the result and being frustrated with the journey to that result. I wasn’t working for “the journey”, I was busting my butt for the result so that’s where I would focus my attention. That sounds great and logical until you realize you have to take the journey in order to get to the destination and how you journey dictates who you will be once you arrive which is, ultimately, much more important than the achievement.

When I was struggling with infertility, I just wanted the baby.

When my marriage was falling a part, I just wanted it fixed.

As I build this business, I just want to hit this income.

I wanted, worked for, cried for, broke down over, fell a part over, shook my fist at God over, secluded over, and lost myself over an outcome. Not wanting to endure the journey. Wanting to fast forward through the hard stuff to finally experience the joy, the beauty, the dancing, for all of the sorrow, morning, and ashes.

My mind was focused on what Alaina (& everybody else) was doing (or not doing), but not who Alaina was. I was focused on what God was doing (or not doing) instead of who he was. Because I wanted a certain outcome and the doing gets the job done…. all the other stuff was fluff. Because no one is perfect, anyway, right?

Or does it?

As far as I was concerned, the journey is great but we can get to all the learning after we hit this goal, right?? After we get the baby, after the marriage is restored, after we hit these ranks. We can enjoy the spoils as we do the same work we would have had to do while we fought for the spoils……. right? So silly.

But, what I missed is that who you become and what you learn as you walk, run, scratch, crawl etc to those goals, is what gets you to those goals. What keeps you there. What allows you to bring other people along & help them hit their goals with a wider perspective about the experience. (And, really…… what motivation would I have to work on the inner stuff if I’ve already got all the outer stuff I want?)Without a shadow of a doubt, that as much as I want what I want & need what I need right. now, I am able to happily pursue. Frustration, disappointment, and the tendency to beat myself up along the way have decreased dramatically. Instead I look for God in everything. I imagine how this waiting, failure, and missed mark is a part of the “all things” when God promises that “all things” work together for my good and his glory. I am able to see how things are lining up, improving, and coming together. I’m able to relax as God works instead of being wound up about what he is working on.

And, I’d rather the best version of myself and able to teach, impart wisdom, support, and be there with a healthy mindset and emotional/mental state.

Those things are more important than whether or not we reach a goal!!!

As we walk through a season of wait and journeying, we should definitely remember that focusing on the “who” & the process of becoming. Those things will help give perspective to our experiences as we work hard to hit those goals. At the end of the day, all of it is going to pass away and there will stories for generations told of what kind of person we were and who we were that last longer and will be more impactful than what we accomplished.

I’ve got major goals planned for 2019…… many of which hinge on the lessons I’ve learned and who I am and worked (am working) hard to become and I’m thankful for the journey. I enjoy the pursuit. And, look forward to enjoying the “spoils of war”.

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… ‘tis the season

Christmas magic | hope | joy

This time of year is full of traditions, celebrations, parties, music, themes, joy, and hope.

A time we focus hearts and minds on the “real” meaning of this season while eyes, minds, and hearts and battling with keeping up, Christmas cards, decorations, lights, shopping, spending, dresses, invitations, gifts, wrapping, travel.

….. making sure we feel a certain way when we experience our homes, trees, streets, shopping centers, & movies.

Basically everything around us puts us in a certain mind frame.

All of the holiday things are trying to make us feel happiness. Cheer. Joy. Hope. And, magic.

And, it works really well until it doesn’t.

I personally adore the holidays. I love alllll of the Christmas magic. I love the joy and the music and the scents and the wreaths and the everything that comes with it.

I love how the year ends with happiness and celebration.

I love how it ends with hope that hopes against itself the way Job did.

But what’s hard is when you don’t have it. When it’s not overflowing. When joy and peace and magic don’t have room to expand because hurt, sadness, and defeat are overwhelming.

It’s hard when you have no hope.

And, lack of hope and defeat don’t always look like it sounds. Doesn’t always look like a bowed head and slow walking and talking Eeyore. It can for sure look tired. But it can also look like comfort and overindulgence.

“… because it doesn’t matter anyway,” says hopelessness.

It doesn’t matter because nothing ever changes. It doesn’t matter because you’ve tried before. It doesn’t matter because the last time…… it doesn’t matter no one notices.

It doesn’t matter ….. because we can sometimes feel we don’t matter.

If we believed we mattered and our thoughts, voices, and decisions made a difference in this life, we would make choices (& stick with them!) that could change our life.

Be it how we’re eating. Who we’re spending time with. What we choose to read and watch. How we choose to spend our time. The risks we take, the opportunities we take advantage of, and the work we’re willing to put in in order to change things.

So many people will exit this season in more debt. They will endure this season with little. They will gain weight. Feel like poop. Over eat. Over drink. Feel bad. Want different but not choose to make the intentional choice to do something different to experience life different.

But, not you. Not this year.

It stops with you. Because you matter. Your children matter. The quality of your day and your babies’ days matter. Because we want the more we know exists. But were too scared go after it.

And, I’m proud of you already. For even THINKING about what differences you want and need to make. Then, I’m going to be proud of you for taking the steps to move from a thought to an action based on the circumstances you thought about. We’re moving. Taking one step at a time – not in a circle, but forward.

2019 is going to be an incredible year…. because we are making the choices that lead us to better.

And, I’m excited. You deserve it. I deserve it. We deserve it.

If you’ve seen what I do and why I do it and love it…. email me. (unashamedgrowth@gmail.com)

If you’ve seen how my life is different and you want your own turn of the page and start of a new chapter, email me. (unashamedgrowth@gmail.com)

We can end this year and and start next year in hope.

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