scraps and finished products

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Oh, it’s almost Wednesday, y’all. When I say I am so ready to get to Saturday, I’m not joking. Not even a little bit.

This week is going to be so big in so many ways. I believe that this day and the ones that follow are preparing me for some pretty interesting waters. And, as much as I enjoy & desire growth, I rarely ever like the process.

One thing I struggle deeply with is my faith, and I think this is the second time I’ve realized why. lol. It’s a tough lesson for me to learn and I know I’ve been at this exact same space before – knowing and understanding this truth – but when the rubber meets the road, I completely blank.

I tend to believe God for things instead of just believing HIM. I had faith that we would get pregnant, that our fertility treatments will be successful, that our (first…. and, second) adoption will go through, or that a situation will end in my favor. So, when these things DON’T happen, I end up frustrated at God. Then, those absolutes and negative thoughts start rolling in:
Good things NEVER happen for me…I should have known that this (failure) would happen… Why did I think this would work out???

All of these thoughts make me feel so horribly about myself, my situation, and frankly about my God. Because again, God…. I’m believing You for things and you aren’t showing up. Great things are happening for others and you have left me on the sidelines. Why should I put so much faith in this when it’s not going to work out anyway?!

Until, I realized that when I believe GOD and trust His will, what happens here on this Earth is secondary. When I believe God to give me good gifts as His child, I know that what hasn’t worked out wasn’t what was best for me at the moment. I know that when I get a door slammed in my face, things are moving slowly, or I’m mistreated, I BELIEVE God when he says that all things work together for good for those who love God & who are called according to His purpose.

WHEN I BELIEVE GOD for His BEST for ME, I am able to accept the ups and downs of life with a broader, more balanced perspective of life. A perspective that grows my faith and doesn’t leave me questioning my Creator.

Tonight, I made little invitation cards for the staff. NOTHING fancy whatsoever. And, I mean that with all of the truth in all the world. lol. As I was cutting the paper, God showed me a pretty amazing lesson.

No one cares about the scraps of paper that have been cut off of this final product.
As fancy as it is NOT, what isn’t needed doesn’t stay.

Just like cutting split ends or damaged hair. Yes, it sucks because we’re attached and our hair seemed longer, but without these dead ends, our hair is able to grow healthier, longer, and it looks ten billion times better! It tangles and sheds less.

The result is all around better because of what was removed. 

I’m considering all the pruning God is doing to my character and person…. Only He knows what the final outcome will be. Only he knows what He has specifically created me to look like. Everything that is cut away and done away with is for my benefit.

It may seem as if I have less “hair” or less “paper”, but the product is much more beneficial.

Believe, beloved. 

Believe that God’s best is waiting for you. Believe God because He is God.
Trust Him and His plans not because we’ve reviwed them and given the blueprint of our life our stamp of approval.
Believe Him because of who he is. HIs character. His promises. His ability & willingness.

God is always good…. even when we’re left out, mistreated, disappointed, and didn’t get what we want. God is working on our behalf. Working in areas we would never imagine to look, working with people we couldn’t network enough to meet.

God is doing good things for us. He is. THAT is what I choose to believe. That God is on my side. That I am His, and He is mine.

So, with that….. no matter what or how much is pruned, no matter how painful the process, no matter what – I believe in my God. Of course, I pray for the things I desire because he tells me to. But, I choose not to focus so much on that THING, that I lose sight of the Provider.

Enter wail emoji…… because the scariest part is that you never, ever know what will be taken away. But, the one thing I do know is that I’m not in a position to dictate what should be kept and what should be tossed aside.

btw, have you ever read God’s response to Job’s (understandable) questioning and depression? Read Job 38 here…. It’ll put so much into perspective! And, if you’re not too convicted keep going… I stopped at 40. I’ll repent and continue to read soon. It just stung too dern much.

.. here’s to trusting God in all things.

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… 31 life lessons

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A few days ago, I said I would post 31 things I’ve learned in all of my 31 years.

1. Don’t be afraid of anyone’s response.
Fear of rejection causes us to be afraid of being true to ourselves. Ya know what else? It robs us of the courage to boldly live & speak truths to others. We’re too afraid to challenge each other and be honest in relationships because of how we think others will respond or think of us. But, believing who you are in Christ & learning to speak gently & lovingly will ease the fear of rejection and conflict. Even if we are rejected, we will know we did all we could to communicate truthfully.

2. Always be prepared to bake a cupcake, open your home, or rearrange your schedule to support a friend!
The gift of hospitality dazzles me. I have genuinely good friends who are the most amazing entertainers. And, I love watching what they do & how they do in hopes that some of that gift rubs off on me! But, even though I’m not an I incredibly social – social butterfly, I’ve learned the importance of loving on your friends and those put in your path in a tangible way. I’ve also learned (and, desperately trying to consistently apply) that it’s important to use great wisdom when extending yourself to others!

3. Yes, making your space beautiful is always worth the time, energy, and money. No matter how long you’ll be there.
Whew! Comfortable, beautiful spaces make everything so much better. Promise! Make it yours, make it beautiful.

4. Learn the balance between working hard at something that’s beneficial and spinning your wheels.
I’m a perfectionist of sorts & I often want to do something until I get it right. But, I’ve learned that there are times in our relationships & tasks that just don’t work no matter how much effort we put into it. Asking for the wisdom to know when to say when and how much to invest is so important. Realizing you’ve cast your pearls amongst swine is heartbreaking.

5. Stay in your lane & mind your business. What others are doing/pursuing/like/etc shouldn’t sway you from doing the things you enjoy or doing what’s right.
Etc includes perceptions of you and the boxes you’re put in. These things don’t matter.
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6. Learn to grow & maintain positive relationships with other God fearing women.
Building relationships with other women has been the hugest blessing of my life. Beneficial in so many ways. There’s nothing like knowing you’re in it with other women who are striving to be and do just like you, women who are supportive and gracious… Women who love you because of the love you share for Christ. It’s most genuine.

7. Believe with everything in you that nothing you can receive from the people around you will compare to the confidence, reward, & joy you can receive in Christ.
Nothing…. Acceptance, love, friendship, comfort, nothing. It’s all in Jesus. There is freedom in this lesson. You aren’t afraid to speak your truth or live boldly before The Lord. Another tough lesson to consistently apply!!

8. You are no victim.
Ugh. We all make choices and sometimes they’re the wrong ones. Sometimes we stick through things longer than necessary. There are times bad things just happen for seemingly no cause. But, the truth of the matter is, wallowing in our pains don’t make us better. Hiding behind a false strength isn’t helpful. Hurt, trust God, allow Him to heal you, & forgive. Then, move on.

9. Not everyone hates you. Not everyone loves you. Don’t worry about being who either of those groups want you to be.

10. Be genuinely polite.
Or, do your best to be at least cordial. We’re all people & all want to be on the receiving end of grace in every situation.

11. Care about your appearance. Even in sweats.
I don’t believe in being decked out all of the time. But, I also believe it’s important to present yourself well no matter what you’re wearing. Comfy can be cute, too!!

12. Rest. But don’t be lazy.
There’s a big difference.

13. Set goals.
Give yourself something to work towards & dream big in every organization, at every task, and in every relationship. Stagnant isn’t cute. In anything. It all matters.

14. Don’t settle, but don’t set your standards so high that they’re unattainable. You can easily become shallow and hard hearted.
It’s no fun being around someone who is never satisfied and who wants to be understood but doesn’t want to understand. We aren’t matured and our relationships don’t develop or deepen this way.

15. Self evaluate and work to be the person you’d want to be with.
…… In any relationship, on any level.

16. Learn to truly forgive and be gracious.
Biggest blessing in life. Talk about freedom. Constantly seeing yourself a a sinner saved soley by grace and not your gifts, talents, or because you’re kind is huge. You’re never good enough to earn or deserve salvation.

17. Work out – take care of your body.
It’s therapeutic and you’ll feel much better about yourself. You’ll look great & be much healthier.
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18. Anyone who sees that you’re worth their time will pursue yours.
Point blank, period. No need to chase or beg. Actions speak louder than words.

19. No one comes into the world able to do everything; but those humble enough to learn from others will be able to do anything.

20. Asking to be taught (vs asking for something to be done for you) & seeking knowledge and wisdom is a few of the most important skills you can learn.

21. Practice makes you better. At everything.
Be disciplined, sacrifice, and work hard. At it all. (Being gracious, kind, on working through hurts, communication when upset. Alllll of it.)

22. Learn to effectively communicate and hear.
It improves your relationships drastically. Working on this. See 21. Lol.

23. You really are greater than you think. And, worse than you realize. (Usually!) We tend to think our issues aren’t so bad and our gifts are immaculate. Even when we are really good, thinking this way will cause us to puff up and become unwilling to give what we want to receive.
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24. Upkeep & your presentation are 1000% worth every nickel & moment. Always. & it’s fun.

25. Learn to be authentic, forgiving, & confident early. Remember that no one is a threat to you – you can either be your own biggest cheerleader or the sabotage behind your own demise.
You are worth so much and deserve the things you wish for. Believe it & live freely.

26. Going straight from HS to a baccalaureate program to Masters & beyond really is the easiest way.
Just do it. The time is going to pass anyway.

27. Follow your heart and open your mind. Dream with your entire imagination.
Believe in yourself.

28. You’re never too good to work hard or start from the bottom. Entitlement is a fantasy.

29. Do it. Who cares? Jump from a plane, get a piecing, go to concerts, make mistakes, take a chance – you’ll learn a lot, recover, have a great story to tell, & experience to recount & you’ll have had FUN while you can.

30. Learn who you are – what makes you happy, what you’re willing to accept, what you won’t tolerate and stand by it. Don’t be swayed by anything but wisdom in understanding the why’s behind the what’s.

31. Remember the spectacular, keep only what’s worth saving, & let go of the rest!!

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… a tiny fierceness

My current, most beloved, and longest lasting screen saver to date…….

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I really just realized how small I was. “Just realizing” meaning within the last year or so. After my 13 yr old sister and 11 year old niece continuing to inch past me, centimeter by centimeter. Along with the fact that I’m also the same size as some 2nd & 3rd graders. I literally can’t wrap my head around being the same size as (and, at times smaller than) prepubescent children. I look at them and I don’t see it.

I don’t typically have a “small” attitude/ personality but when I do, it’s an active choice to be more thoughtful of the other person’s feelings and perspectives than my own, slow to speak, and patient. Most days, I consider myself to be a strong person and I work very hard at getting physically stronger, as well as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

But, there are times I feel small and frail. And, like most people, I typically equate small and frail to defenseless and not very advantageous … Most people step on and over what is small and are quick to try to take advantage of size.

There are the times I have to remind myself that even though I’m small, I’m quite strong and feisty.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from my infertility is how strong I am and have the potential to be. When I wonder if I am really strong enough to go through more rounds of treatment knowing what I’m getting myself into and what could happen – I know that I can. The only question is whether I want to or not.

I’m grateful for my infertility for many reasons but one is truly for the heartbreaks and soul aches it has caused. Because of it, I’ve learned so much about myself, I’ve realized that I have the potential and ABILITY to do so many different things… And, drives me to do more than I often don’t think I can. And the progress of those pains, efforts, and ultimately successes keep me going.

You learn to manage. And, I’m hoping, that the stronger I get, the less you I myself “managing” and the more I find myself moving on with much more ease and less effort because I’ve gotten stronger. The tough balance for me is between becoming callous and hard towards life and dealing with the emotions and lessons of life as it ebbs and flows with a mature perspective. I like managing because you are dealing with the emotional part but that logical part is there to give “sense” to the situation, it keeps you from jumping off the ledge. And, grows you up.

Obviously, the main thing that keeps me from standing so close to the ledge and gives me the desire to manage so I can go on with life when the craziest of things happen, is the fact that it’s all been planned and laid out for me. And, even when I veer off and cause myself pain, God is still there.

I’m quite sure I’ve posted the one you need video before…. But, I listened to it today and it got to me. I tend to/have to listen to it from a Heavenly Father/daughter perspective…. Listening to it from an Earthy father/daughter perspective kills me simply because I think of Thomas and how he could possibly miss out on such an amazing experience.

I appreciate knowing that no matter the heartaches I go though, no matter how small, fearful, or fearless I think or feel I am or perceived to be – He is there and makes it all better. Even when I’m the one who spilled the milk I’m crying over, He wipes it up with patience, love, and grace. Then, hands me another glass.

… Here’s to a fun sized, small-ish person like myself having everything needed to go through all life with a fierce strength built from managing and dealing with it all…. with a smile. 🙂
Oh! And, to music and quotes. They, too, make my heart beat!

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