a little reminder for myself

There have been times I’ve stumbled across my own writing or heard a piece of a podcast playback I was a guest on that encourages me. I have literally been encouraged by myself.

Rarely ever do I go back and intentionally re-read things I’ve written or listen to my own podcast episodes, but I wanted to intentionally leave here what I was led to write this morning… I quickly typed it out in the Notes app in my phone, but wanted to post it here so that it’s documented and I can go back to it.

So………. if you need a little encouragement, KEEP READING!!
This is for us.

Nothing will make me cut my eyes faster and hold onto what my girls are waiting for more than a tantrum when I ask them to wait. It is literally the most irritating sight & sound because they’re acting as if I said “No.” As if they aren’t ever going to get it when I’ve literally just said “Wait.”

You know… the screaming “mommy I want _____” and the jumping up and down, what I can only describe as standing + shaking their body, whining, and crying. Literal nails on a chalkboard for me. Or them telling me I’m taking too long. Say WHAT?! I will straight up walk away. And, they’re left throwing a fit that is prolonging them getting what they want.

And while to me, in the physical… while I’m holding material, tangible items watching little people I helped to create are WATCHING ME WORK to get them what they want seems absolutely ABSURD, I know the Lord is likely looking at me with the same words coming out of his mouth. “I am literally working on this right now. Dont you see me ______? So whyyyyyy are you crying?” Or just “I will give it you. Just wait a minute.” or “Why don’t you _____ while I do this??”

The reaction can be annoying, but the truth is: waiting is hard. Asking for what you want and unsure if the answer will be a yes or a no is hard. Desiring something your heart longs for or literally needing something and going day after day not SEEING any movement is hard. It’s scary. A hopeful spirit can become doubtful and weary as time passes.

I believe God knows that. Just like I know it’s hard for my girls to want something and not get it. Just as it’s hard for me to deal with the disappointment and adjustments, the heart healing, and mental/emotional shifts that come with a “no” for me.

I don’t believe we tantrum or struggle with waiting because we don’t believe God is capable or that he doesn’t hear us. I believe the struggle comes with not knowing what we will do if the answer is “No.” It’s a literal faith issue that God will carry us, take care of us, provide for us, & truly give us what is BEST when we can’t see past our own solution.

We want THIS because we, in our mortal minds, believe THIS is the answer that is best for us. THIS job. THIS school. THIS method of medical intervention. THIS man. THIS woman. THIS income level. THIS achievement. THIS. THIS. THIS is what I’ve decided I need and THIS is what I want. Lord, give me THIS.

When God may be saying, “No. THAT is truly what is for your good & my glory.” and “I know you want this, but here is THAT right now” and “THAT is what you need… in a bit.” Or “YES! THIS is for you…… just not right now.” Or “YES! THIS. RIGHT NOW. TODAY. BAM!”

I’ve learned that there are truly levels to trusting God & believing him to be who he says he is and will do what he promised at the right time in ALL circumstances.

You don’t ever know how much ALL is. What it includes. But we know “ALL” is usually a lot. More than a couple. More than a few. It’s a lot. Plenty. Sometimes more than you can carry alone. More than a one trip to the car for ALL the groceries. But we know that he said he would be there, that he would never forsake us. That his grace is sufficient. That he would provide ALL our needs.

Waiting is hard.

But I’d suggest, instead of focusing so much on THIS, THAT, or the OTHER………. focus on God. Watch for his hand, listen for his voice, pay attention to his movement. Wait to see how he unfolds situations, wait to hear what he tells you do, wait to see how he moves things around to work in your favor.

Focus on Him and wait.

Psalm 27: 13
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I will see the
goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes,wait for the Lord.

Psalm 46:1-3 & 10
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear wen earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
vs. 10
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

There isn’t a time the Lord has left anything incomplete or undone. Even when he was healing the blind man in Bethsaida, he touched him twice. After the first time the man said he could see but the people “….. looked like trees walking around”. He touched him again and his sight was completely restored and he saw clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)

We can trust him.

To do what we ask him to do.

To answer our needs & wants with what is best for us.

At the right time.

Without anything lacking.

Chin up, buttercup.
The battle is not ours, it’s the Lord. We literally do not have to worry about the who, when, where, or how in ANY circumstance. Any meaning – pick one or two or ALL out of the bucket….. NOT ONE OF THEM are for us to figure out, to go through alone, or to worry about winning. We win every time.

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… my sweethearts

If you know know me (which you do!) you know how much I love documenting moments – good and bad. with tears in my eyes or the biggest smile plastered across my face. the exciting or disappointing. with a hopeful heart or a devastated one. with the encouragement of friends or the disapproval.

I love to share. Revelations 12:11 says “They triumphed over him (the accuser…. our enemy… the Devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

I don’t love the perspectives of others or their views of what they think life looks like so much so that I won’t talk about publicly what the Lord is doing in my life….. in my health….. or in my body.

This space has seen the ups and downs of marriage, infertility, adoption, marital struggle, divorce, entrepreneurship, and now single parenting. It’s been a journey……. but if you could see my inbox, my text messages, the stories of random strangers I’ve come across in person who recognized me from this space….. you would encourage me to continue sharing. You would see how valuable sharing your experiences are with others. And, you may just be more inclined to share yours more readily & vulnerably. Maybe not as publicly as I do, but that’s okay. God calls us each to do our specially assigned work for the kingdom and our job descriptions don’t have to look the same in order to be productive!

Long sidebar short…….

When I got pregnant with the girls (jog down memory lane with me here!), their very non-professional photographer mama begged for a camera to capture the girls moments. Everyday moments in a beautiful, professional looking way! And, I got it! Yea!

We started off really well, but soon with chasing behind twin toddler solo…. I couldn’t keep up with them, all of their stuff, mine, a phone, AND a camera & camera bag. Wasn’t happening. So it was dropped. And, near forgotten.

While I’ve taken a few photos here and there for others, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I whipped out my Canon, dusted it off, dressed my three in casual Valentine’s Day cuteness, and drove us to a photo sesh spot. It was a lot. So was managing them, their moods, trying to get them to all smile at the same time while looking at the camera. Y’all. I dropped f-bombs. There were frustrating moments. I wondered why Logan had to Vogue pose with every picture. Why Dylan had an attitude for NO reason, and how to get Rhyann to laugh so she doesn’t use her fake smile.

All of it happened. Just not all at once.

And, I’m cool with it because you just scrolled through a dream come true – using a gift to forever capture my children as they are in February of 2020 with great quality.

That. Is. Life. And I’m so thankful for these people – through it all ….the ups and downs of life, choosing to love and see our people for who they are and value them where they are…… while giving them room to grow is where it’s at. It’s love. It’s how we not only maintain relationships but learn to enjoy each person as they are, where they are.

And, even when they frustrate you….. They won’t be like that forever.

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… 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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