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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… be thankful

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(photos by Temi Coker… find him on Insta @temi.coker)

This past year, specifically, has been so difficult for me. From January til now, it’s been very hard… literally, no ease up.  And, over the past few months I’ve worked to deal with and address (within myself) the effects and feelings of everything that’s happened even though it’s so incredibly difficult for me to do.

I would pray and read and ask God for the strength to persevere, to “be right”, to endure, and to just get whatever it is I should learn from these struggles – even if it’s patience. And, my mind would wander to all of junk that’s happened and I would end up frustrated; not even focused on God.

So, this morning, I woke up committed to just breathing and being grateful in spite of what’s happened. I know that there is so much more to be grateful for aside from and even in the middle of chaos than I’ve allowed myself to see.

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Have you heard of She Reads Truth? It’s a wonderful women’s devo; I follow them on Insta, and have their app. Yes, I’m a total Stan!! I love how they use their little space on this app to encourage and speak truth… how their app is full of devos that refocus you and give you truth (not something that just sounds good) to rest in. This morning their IG posts says:

When we seek Him, we will find Him – His Word says it’s true. And so we give thanks. We cling to Him and to the promise of Him, and we give thanks For although we may feel lost, we know He never loses us. 

No matter what I’ve gone through, God has his eye on me. And, for that I am so incredibly grateful. Oh my God, if there’s anything to be grateful for – it’s that Jesus is within me, that he’s with me. That heartache isn’t for nothing. I’m grateful that He reminds me that the most important things to be grateful for are His promises….. that because of Jesus I have something to be grateful for.

That sounds so stupid. I know. So lofty and spacey, so trite. But, when everything has shaken and the reality sets in that nothing is certain….. all the truth and solidarity you have is that Jesus is with you – you quickly realize how much we take his faithfulness for granted. How we truly DON’T depend on Him for strength, endurance, and peace. How when we pray in difficult moments for patience and then immediately respond impatiently – that we aren’t trusting Him for what He promises He can give us. For what he so graciously offers us.

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I have experienced God being a redeemer.
I have experienced his faithfulness.
I know that He is a comforter & peace.

But, I’d forgotten.
I wasn’t focused.
I was afraid.

But, thankfully, I am reminded of what an amazing Savior He is.

I’m thankful.
Thankful for these girls whose lives I will forever be stilled by. I mean, I wrote back here about how Sarah and Hannah responded so differently to infertility….. I read my words, my truth about how over having my own children I was…. And, I see how this insane story has unfolded and I know that only God allowed me/us to respond to such foolishness, difficulty, hurt, and chaos the way He did. I pray for their lives daily…. pray that they have a heart for Jesus and are committed to “go slow” in trusting God. GO!!!
Thankful that I have family who double as real friends and friends who double as family who are the most supportive and encouraging…. who I can learn from and share so many hilarious and exciting memories with.

There’s always, always, always something to be thankful for……. We have just have to position ourselves to realize it and acknowledge it. Without comparing one thing against another. Without wishing and hoping things were different. Without disconnecting from life and our circumstances. But, showing gratitude for all things in the midst of having everything or having nothing because we know that although this life comes with struggle we have so so much to be grateful for.

And, finally, I am thankful that somehow this post was able to be restored. Idk what I did but I intended to publish this post and it somehow got lost and I broke down in tears.  I was already talking myself through getting over it… But, now, I’m happy and can cook with a peaceful, settled mind! 🙂

Post Jam: Jesus Saves by Jeremy Camp
*** I literally love this song….. hope you enjoy it, too! ***

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29 weeks and counting….

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{Loving my earrings from @minmacshop … do yourself a favor and check out her Etsy page here!!}

How are we feeling??!?!?!
We’re doing pretty good! Working hard to eat much more and rest as much as I can. I’m starting to become a bit more uncomfortable and I tire out easily, but we’re doing so well it’s hard to be down about much of anything!

What’s going on with the bump?!?!

I visibly noticed the growth in my belly between Wednesday and Sunday. It was pretty neat…. I feel like my girls have bony elbows and knees because these pokes are so very sharp! They love to move and play…. Baby B moving much more than A which has been their trend over the course of the pregnancy, so I can’t wait to see how their personalities manifest once they’re “out”. lol. One thing for sure is that I am definitely growing and for that I am grateful!!

photo 1.PNG-6So, how are you feeling?!
Anxious…. Patient… 9 more weeks to go. Calm…. Excited… I’m going to be a mama soon. Sore… Tight… I need a good stretching… Buying baby needs for sweet little baby girls is surreal. A year ago I never would have imagined that we would be here. That I would be expecting two baby girls of my very own. I don’t think I can say how grateful I am, how excited we are, how blessed beyond measure and our wildest dreams. God has been so good to us; it’s unreal. I never thought this would happen. I’m humbled at the opportunity to have had such an uneventful pregnancy, humbled to have such a sweet “ending” to our infertility story, for my girls to be big and healthy. It’s  blessing.

Anything else?
uh… yea!!!! I had a pretty sweet week in the mail delivery department this past week….. One box just happened to be filled with the most amazing pretties sent with an insane amount of love.
My friend Mindy of @minmacshop was kind enough to send me not one, not two, but three pairs of her amazing earrings. I’m so simple when it comes to jewelry….. and, I usually wear a pair of pearl earrings or something similar that doesn’t dangle except for when I’m getting all jazzed up and I’ll go for something a lot more fancy! So, these are right up my alley! Not only do I love the jewelry, I love the packaging! She’s such a sweet, sweet soul and along with her earrings come the most encouraging cards that can be posted on your mirror or kept on your desk to remind you of the gospel and truth! ALONG with, super cute hearts that accompany the earrings in the most darling box. Her heart is in every detail of the creativity behind the designs of the earrings and the packaging! She cares, y’all, and there’s nothing I love more than passion and using your love for Christ and your passion to encourage and uplift others! She’s a keeper for sure! Christmas is around the corner, these beautiful earrings would make perfect stocking stuffers or simple gifts to turn someone’s frown upside down!photo 5.PNG
Besides these super cute earrings……. we have NINE MORE WEEKS to go before meeting our sweet girls!!! Can’t wait!!!

From mommy….
Mama’s trying to pack on a few pounds……. so enjoy all the tasties for now!! I hear you guys are growing well and are B I G….. I’m so grateful for that!!! Seriously. I get to see you guys in a couple of more day and I’m praying we’ll get good news just as we have over the past seven months! Stay put, play nicely, and keep baking for me, ok??

– mommy

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