… the source

One thing I absolutely love to do is sit with the Lord. I love reading my Bible, I love pulling scriptures that settle my soul or ignite worship. I love reading stories of God’s faithfulness + commitment to and Christ’s love for the “us” of old, the “us” of now, and the “us” that is waiting to come. I love that he loves us in-spite of who we are in our sinfulness, our mistakes, our brokenness & the brokenness that comes out that disrupted space.

I love that He loves me.
and, in my time with the Lord I get to revel in his focus for me, his plans for me, and stretch out in the freedom of total acceptance. 

And, for a moment, mama….
I want you to think about you, too.

…. while you consider this scripture:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. 
Then, you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15: 13

Consider that when we are feeling overwhelmed from the laundry and dishes and taxi-ing.
When the current struggles in toddlerhood (I mean, childhood in general)
seem hopeless and never ending.
When there isn’t a man, a partner, and shoulder.
Or when the shoulder is struggling itself.
Or just being annoying.
When that something you’re dealing with is too much.

Trust that we have a hope. Then anchor yourself to it.
A source that deeply desires to fill us completely to overflowing.
The visual I get is a child planning to pour their own juice or milk.
They are excitedly anticipating  pouring their own juice from a heavy, full container.
And, if your kids are like mine, a little isn’t enough. That cup has to be full.
They are so confident and proud of carrying that container to the table (or spot on the floor, let’s be real) where they have strategically placed that small cup and begin to pour.
…. to overflowing.

Remember how God so beautifully gives us living and breathing examples that show us who he is.
Like our children, He is completely and utterly excited about us.
And, he desires greatly to pour out his peace and joy into our vessels.
To overflowing.
But not because he isn’t strong enough to carry the pitcher and control the pour.
The juice spilling over that small plastic cup, spending across the table, and dripping onto the floor isn’t an accident.
Or, when that cup is at the lowest possible point – on the floor – and tips over at the weight and speed of the pour and causes the milk to spread under the table, refrigerator, and across the floor…  it didn’t happen because someone wasn’t being monitored.
It was, like my girls say, “on purpose.”

The overflow out of the cup.
The cup tipping over.
The juice spreading across the table and under the fridge.
The Chik-Fil-A lemonade wasted on the floor leaving a sticky mess
is all a very intentional act to:
1. allow us to feel (fill?) his love.
2. equip us
3. share

But, we cannot do that if we aren’t allowing ourselves to be filled and healthy.

Devotionals are incredible spaces to reflect and are an awesome tool to help you learn more about who God is. Books are my love language. They are full of wisdom, perspective, and testimony.
But, the Word of God should be our foundation, everything else a reference that supports the Word.

Fill yourself up on the Word.
Eat your dinner first. Snacks and dessert come later.
Let’s get to the know the person and not just inhale the chatter we hear others speaking.

Be well so that you can live well. Think well. Speak well. Endure well.

If you know my older two…. if you’d had the absolute pleasure of meeting them, you will immediately recognize that they are happy and joyful. Actively happy and joyful. They love each other and love the Lord.

I have been immensely blessed by a couple at my church who just have taken to my family. They spoke incredible life into me as a mother, provider, and woman for an hour after church last Sunday.

And, that conversation boiled down to this:
“Your children are as happy, beautiful, and incredible as they are because of who you are.”
Now, yes, while they all have incredibly present fathers and family who pour into them…..
Me, as their mother, impact and shape them in ways that other people do not and cannot.

And, my friends are right.
And, the same is for you mama.

What we pour into our hearts and minds is going to overflow onto your family, work space, friend spaces, and impact the stain we leave behind. Even water leaves an outline.

The impact I leave can stress me out. I can worry so much about the outcome that I’m hustling to be (read: look, sound, respond, speak, create, earn) the best and what “right” and “successful” looks like to the masses, to myself, to my children at any given point that I do not allow the Lord space to reign and work.

Wine doesn’t work hard to stain.
Chick-fil-a lemonade doesn’t try to be sticky.
It just is because of the ingredients it is made of.

Same for us.When we allow the Lord to fill us to overflowing, we become new creatures daily.
When we fill our hearts and mind with truth – in written word, music, encouragement from our people – we pour out that truth and life giving words.

And, because it’s no secret that I supplement and balancing + fueling my body has made an incredible difference in my emotional and physical health.
When we are not physically and emotionally well, we cannot be all that we are called to be.
YES. I can be loving even though I’m constipated and poop once a week.
YES! I can serve well with high blood pressure.
YES. I can be productive as I battle through exhaustion daily.
Yeeeees, I can be present and attend all the events and still snap on my kids and
have horrible mood swings.
I’m still going to heaven even when stress, anxiety, and depression are daily battles.
But, what quality of life is that?
Especially when we are called to be love.
We can’t be love and feel like crap at the same time.

Like many of you, I have to operate at a high level and under great stress daily.
There is no one at this house to shoulder a thing.
But, even if that isn’t the case, how I feel impacts my responses, my thoughts, and productivity.

I thought that the issues I was struggling with were just “a part of life as Alaina” and this is what it was.
Those issues aren’t an issue anymore. My responses aren’t the same.

And, I am the mama and woman I am because Jesus is mending + strengthening my heart
and Plexusis healing my gut and balancing my hormones.

The Lord delights in you, mama.
He wants to comfort you, encourage you.
Lift up your head and strengthen you.
He longs for time with you,
to be the source that fills you to overflowing.
For you. Just for you.
Just because he loves you so much.
Just so that you can be filled with him.
AND, so that you can be a source of love that points back to Him.

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… go slow

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God is always working on something – he never sits idle.

We generally unaware of it because we are so consumed with our circumstances rather than focusing on Him. We can’t see His grace and mercies, we aren’t listening for His voice, or reading His word….. So, it’s impossible to perceive what He is doing.

I challenge you to slow down just for a day or two to focus your mind on God. Take take time pray and read His word. Just be still in His presence, will you?

I pray so. It’s refreshing to your soul.

… here’s to slowing down enough to see what God is doing… And, trusting H when it doesn’t all seem to make sense.

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… moving past comfort

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I had the most amazing text-versation with a fellow adoptive mama today and my heart has completely broken what she shared with me.

Just a link.
A little link that led me to the most heart wrenching information I’ve come across in a while.
Here it is —-> click.

Did you scroll through? Did you see the numbers? Did you find your state?

I’m in Texas.
Everything is bigger here – including the number of children waiting to be adopted. THAT crazy, bigger than any over state’s numbers number doesn’t include kiddos in foster care.

Yes. Maybe it’s because we’re the second largest state in the country but Alaska is the largest and are even in the thousands while California, the third largest state, has about 600 less children in need of homes.

It’s heart breaking.
But, did you see the number of churches in each state?
Ouch.

It wasn’t really until the very end of last year that my heart begin to sink for the orphan. Not because I didn’t care about children who didn’t have homes, but because they weren’t on my radar. I really didn’t know anyone who’d adopted (a couple of people separated by distant degrees) and I was still very much hoping to land myself right back in my doctor’s office for more fertility treatments.

But, since then, my eyes have been opened to a population of children who need homes. Who need to be loved on. Who need the love of God shared with them. Who need to know what trust and consistency and true love really looks like.

We are planning to privately adopt – we want a newbie and the odds of us getting on is slim in the system, our wait may be a while. But, my heart seems to be aching to DO something in the wait.

I’m praying though.
Praying for my heart and my husband’s.
Praying for our vision for our family.
Praying that we as a body of Believers…. We as Christians will take on the concerns of Christ.

Caring about the widow and orphan just as much as we care about forgiveness and mercy. Tithing and attending church.

The widow… The homeless… The orphan are a portion of our population that can’t function the way a lot of us are able to. Widows no longer have that leader, that protection that they are used to. (I can’t imagine losing Thomas, I’d imagine I’d feel lost and alone having a difficult time adjusting)…… For whatever reason, the homeless are without a home. Unable to provide for themselves for whatever reason.
And, the orphan. Children. Babies. And, toddlers who are subjected to more in their short lives than many of us will ever experience.

Who stands in the gap for the least of these? For the broken and hurting? The defenseless?

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If it is anyone, it should be us.
Christians who understand what it is like to feel broken and defenseless…. Needing a rescuer….. Someone they can lean on, someone to help them bear their burdens and protect them from the dangers of the world.

To show them, if only for a little while, that while on Earth there is someone who cares for you, who will intercede for you, and who will tangibly sacrifice and show the love of God to you. Teaching them about the love of a Savior who heals broken hearts and comforts the soul.

But, we love our comforts. We love having more space than we need because we “need” it. We love our comfort zones – unwilling to stretch ourselves for another. We don’t see how we can “add another” forgetting that we have more than most have and what we do have is given to a God who we KNOW provides all of our needs and gives us extra to fund our wants. It forces us to focus our attention on someone other than ourselves.

We don’t see how we can help either because we really don’t want to or are completely unaware of the various ways we can.

Stretching and sacrificing for the good of others is HARD. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. It’s unconventional. It’s counter-cultural.

But, our God asks us to for His sake. Because He sacrificed and stretched for us. He did hard things too. He lived in a way that was counter-cultural, too. For others. He understood that His sacrifices were for the absolute good of other people.

I hate that I was one of the Christians who buried my head in the sand, who was unwilling to see past myself.

Our lives were never supposed to be about us. But, how we so easily focus on ourselves and make excuses for why we won’t pour ourselves into the lives of others.

I saw this on a friend’s IG and cringed at it because for so long I needed to be pushed, paddled, pulled, and urged.

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… here’s to writing and dealing with what hurts. With what’s embarrassing and difficult.

But, will you stretch with me? Will you get frustrated with me and ask God to reveal to you what He wants you to get fired up about? What He wants your God centered passions to be?

Just go. Do it. And, serve our God with me with gladness. Pouring yourself out for His sake, knowing that He will provide your every need and walk side by side with you through it all.

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