Don’t lose heart

Do you know you have worth?

If you are a believer and you know intellectually you have worth, good.  But what’s better is if your heart believe it.

What matters most is that at your worst, do you know you have worth?  That’s when it makes its way to your heart.

Most of the time, we believe our worth when we are working, accomplishing, and getting credit for it.  But do you know when all the lights turn off and you are falling asleep at night that the God of this Universe sits looking on you, believing you have worth that you are worth pursuing and saving.

Be reminded of the last time you sat staring at your baby or someone else’s sleeping.  That baby had not done much to deserve such adoration except for being there.  Created.  Alive.  Breathing.

At the end of the day, you’d probably say that most people around you have worth.  You could believe it for them, and tell it to their face.  But could you tell it to yourself?

Probably the hardest part for me in this journey of faith, is not loosing heart when its the valley of life.  When it looks bleakest.  When I’ve failed.  Do I still believe then?  It is easy for our faith to go to our head, and for us to have all the right answers.  But in the depths, do our hearts believe it?  That God is good.  That He is for us, because we are worth it.

Our humanness makes us worth it.  Nothing earned.  Or credited to ourselves.  Just to have breath in our lunges means we have worth.

That is why we fight for the innocent, the persecuted, the ones that have fallen through the cracks, the oppressed.  We want answers for them, maybe because in our depths we need a God who seeks after the oppressed, the wrecked because in our deepest selves we have been wrecked and oppressed.  Because we are human, and sin entered this world.  We have suffered.

You have worth.
When you know it, you’ll tell others when they doubt their worth.

One of the greatest blessings to keep giving out.

 

 

Right where you are

Seasons.  They come and go.  And if we aren’t careful we will be worrying our way to the next one, instead of being right where we are.

You may not want to be where you are health wise…

career wise…

relationship wise…

But you are there for a reason, and to wish it away is to miss the point.

It is easy to be in seasons of wondering, not sure which way to go.  I’d say it is normal sometimes too.

But take up what you have already learned and build with what you have.

Health wise, make a new choice for yourself, a kind choice.  Maybe just a walk with your family.  I wasn’t sure if I’d get good use out of a gym membership right now, and was a little sad that I don’t have one.  Kinda sulky.  So last week, I decided I’d go for a walk with my mom and son while my other two kiddos were at MDO and do some squats, jump rope, and planks.  Pretty simply.  My body didn’t think it was that simple the next day.  But it was a pretty easy choice.  Today I mowed the lawn.

Career wise, some of my friends are going back to work after staying home, some are working part time while they stay at home, and some have worked from the git go.  It’s easy sometimes to sit back and think of all the things we could have if I worked.  Stuff.  Money.  One day, I believe those things will be, but right now it’s not.  Right now, my two youngest need me, and I like to be with them.  Not every day, but that’s not enough to throw in the towel for me.  So, right now I celebrate for my friends, and I work while I’m waiting.  Growing skills, writing, mentoring, leading, organizing.

Man, relationships are hard.  Our families live far away, and it gets harder the older my kids get.  And I could and have sat around saying, “oh we can’t do that because we don’t have family here.”  But we do.  My neighbor is my family, my friends are my family.  And thank the Lord, our parents visit a lot!

So sometimes you are in the transition, and sometimes you are just right where you are.  And it is okay.

Let yourself know that today.

It is okay.

Gratitude

Oh my gratitude has grown tremendously in this season of life.  Gratitude for creation, for small moments, for quiet, for swinging, and reading.  Gratitude typically slows me down helping me stay in the moment.

I get joy just thinking about all these moments of deep deep gratitude.  A lot of those moments have little to do with me.  But they are an exhale to my Savior for gifts that are 100% from Him.

Peaceful moments with my husband on stressful weeks.

Surprise flowers blooming out of the ivy.

Quiet moments as my sweet babies are asleep in their beds.

Music while I’m cooking.

Counseling moments that worked out something deep.

Writing.

Getting wrapped up in a good book.

Summer rain.  

Rainbows after the rain.

Most of these moments of deep gratitude have little do with something I’ve done.  Gratitude isn’t about being happy all the time, but about realizing even in our worst moments goodness still abounds because it has less to do with us and more to do with Him and His goodness.  It has to do with our Father who loves to give good gifts to His children whether we’ve been good or bad.  He draws us to Him, and tells us we are still loved even when we’ve totally mess up.

At the heart isn’t this what we want to tell our children?  When they’ve hurt their sibling, told a lie, or yelled something in anger.  We want to draw them close and remind them of the good around them and how little is has to do with them.  That they are loved cherished and adored.  We want them to feel it and more importantly believe it.

Oh deep gratitude. I’m asking God to open my eyes to the things I can be grateful for.  Past, present, and future.

What are you grateful for today?  Don’t let it rest upon something you accomplished today, look deeper and ask God to open your eyes, slow down.  Smell the roses.

 

Good book reference: 1000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp.

Fully Known

You know how your mom, friend or spouse just know you.  Like when they buy you the perfect gift or call you at a moment you needed it most.

But, sometimes it’s annoying, right?  Like Jesse in Full House, when Rebecca had figured Danny out and even when he was trying to do the opposite of his personality she knew what he’d do.  He was exhausted trying to be someone he wasn’t.

It’s good to be known.  But it doesn’t always feel good.  It feels vulnerable, exposed.

Tauren Wells sings in his song “Known” that, “…it’s not one or the other: its hard truth and ridiculous grace to be known, fully known and loved by Him.”  I’ve been on one side of that line.  The hard truth.  I knew who I was.  I knew the depth of my sin.  But to sit there was too much.  It was too heavy, like a boulder on my chest.  Sin was debt I knew I could never pay no matter how hard I worked at it.

Freedom is to accept who you are, human, unable to do anything to save yourself, plus receiving grace that is absolutely ridiculous.  Grace completely engulfing our sinful selves.  God gives us grace upon grace because He knows who we are, how fallen, utterly dust humans.

James 4:6 says, “God gives grace generously…opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Proud and humble are the opposite.  Admitting you have faults, you are broken, you are in need: humility.  Because we all have faults, we all are broken, and we are all in need of saving.  Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  None of us can do it.  Think about the greatest person you know, yep, they are sinners in need of God’s ridiculous grace.

But you don’t understand, Tara, you don’t know me.  You are right, but God does, and He paid for all that you are hiding.

1 John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves…”  Isn’t that the truth, we think hiding and saying we don’t struggle with this or that sin somehow validates we are saved.  But God says confess your sin to be forgiven.

Grace balances the scales, in our favor.

So, let God know all of those completely empty places you carry, so that, grace can enter.  And know that it is both.  It is our admission of sin and God’s act of extending grace to us.

Grace- it overflows so that our sin is no more.

We are His, complete and whole.

Ending nicely

Yesterday, I was looking for inspiration.  A passion to read something, and I was looking through my books ready to pick up a new one for July.  I remembered I had gotten 7 Women by Eric Metals.  The tag line for the book is “7 Women…and the secret to their greatness.”

I felt like this would be just what I was looking for.

So I’m reading Susanna Wesley’s biography, chapter 2.  I’m reading, and thinking wow, this lady had it rough.  She lost two sets of twin babies along with other children, her husband was really terrible with money, he abandoned her at points in his life to raise their kids on her own, and their house burned down twice.  Her kiddos suffered great loss in their marriages.  Not a story with much good.

I was really wrestling with it last night before I went to sleep, letting God know I did not like her story.  Like it is my responsibility to like someone’s story or not, my first problem.  The second was that I wanted her story to be a fairy tale: she followed Christ and everything turned out great.  But that’s not how her story goes.

However, at the end, what she did have left, her most prized possession, her faith.  It was intact and so were her kids’ faith.

I felt last night I was asked, what do I want for my life and my kids?

Do I want that cushy perfect looking life, or do I want a faith for myself and my kids that will last and will never falter no mater what we go through in this life?  Both might be possible, but if I had to pick what is my heart wanting.

I want the later.  I want a faith so deep, that whatever this world tells me is the worst I could endure and still keep walking after.

We aren’t promised perfect lives.  But we are promised a perfect God who rests within us when we believe in His perfect Son so that we can endure.

What do you want?

Making room

Talking to mom friends this morning and realized motherhood is just absolute insanity.  We never know what we will get for the day.  It is a little out of our control and sometimes at the whim of our kids moods and behaviors.

It swings back and forth, back and forth.  I’m constantly tempted to follow the lead of my kids for the days, answering all their calls, meeting their needs first.  Sometimes I’m just flat worn.  It’s too much.

There has to be moments that I take to rest, to recharge, to stop.  Stop all the dish drying, towel folding, juice filling, snack getting, picking up the toys, and shoes.  And I have to sit, be still, take a bath, listen to music, sleep, read.

Whatever it is that grounds me that day.

The days I feel most overwhelmed are the days I take my kids lead and set little boundaries for the day.  This is an excuse, but I’m not great at boundaries.  If we fall into two categories: one who sets strong boundaries and one who isn’t even sure what a boundary looks like, I fall into the latter.

Summertime is hard, I want to entertain my cuties.  I want them in activities.  But there has to be a limit at some point.  Because there are little boundaries in summer.  We don’t have school.  But there are a lot of opportunities.  We have vacation, weeks where my husbands gone, camps, church activities.  I get swallowed up into them.

I’m learning ever so slowly people.  How to ground myself.  Grounded for me is standing firm, confident, having worth, and joy.

Today I am fighting the temptation to clean my entire house before we have to leave at four-thirty.  Instead I’m writing, because that is a goal I’ve set.  And I’m taking time to slow down, before I serve others in an attempt to better my attitude and to feel refreshed.

Margin.

Making this room in our lives to check in on ourselves.  To see how our family is doing.  To maybe even sit down to eat, not on the run.

I’m challenging myself with this today.  And if the day is slow, it’s not because I’m not doing anything it is because I’m making room.

Making room for us to live, to breathe, to be.

And that’s okay.

How are you making room today?

Splash

This morning, I gather my three little ducklings (I called them my evil stepsisters yesterday, and I was obviously Cinderella) to head off to a local splash pad.  Energy was up and we need some time outside and in this heat water must be involved.

I’m driving and talking to my mom asking for prayer because not only were we going to go to the splash pad I was going to try and walk through Old Navy with three kids five and under in tow.  I know, it wasn’t essential.  Sometimes I just like to test out if we can make it.  It’s like an obstacle course or something.

As we were enjoying the splash pad, I felt the *pause*.  That moment where you can evaluate how things are going, how you are feeling, and you are able to be present.  And I was filled with gratitude.  Two years ago, this trip would have felt like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro but today it was peaceful.  It wasn’t perfect.

I did get my kids a cookie before battling Old Navy, I’m not stupid.  I bought two shirts, and then made it to Barnes and Noble.  I’m pushing it, I know.  The kids played and then we hit that wall, you know the one that if you climb over it there’s no returning.  We were starting to act a little crazy, we had a poopy diaper, and tears for more stuff.  It was time to go.

And off we went.

We made it.

So mom, new mom, you can do this.  What seems impossible will be a breeze one day, then slow down just enough to celebrate.  I took a bath.

Reminded today: we are all on a journey and sometimes we don’t know where it’s taking us, but we can trust that we are being prepared for it.

Writing

Writing and procrastination go hand and hand for me.

I like to wait and wait and then just bust something out in like twenty minutes.

Anybody else?

We can dream and do the thing that we are dreaming about, or the bigger temptation for me is to just dream and leave it on the table.  To have good intentions and then just stop.  Ending whatever I thought was amazing because it got difficult.

So, today my oldest two are happily water coloring a cardboard castle and I want to stay, play, and distract myself from what I really want to do.  And I think I’m distracting myself, because I’m not sure dreams do come true.  I see people and they have “arrived”, they have done what they set out to do.  And I feel myself just sitting here twiddling my fingers wondering when my turn will be.  Ooo the comparison game.

I’m reading books, and being inspired by different authors and how they write.

But I know there is something to be done with that inspiration.  My hands can create.  They can create because a story has been placed on my heart, and I want to tell it.

What are you dreaming about today?

I’m taking my next step.

What’s yours?

Play and rest

Play and rest.

My default is to feel guilty when we are resting.  Watching a movie, tv…maybe because there are better ways to rest.

Isn’t this true of us all.  How are we resting?

Yesterday, my oldest and I played at a local trampoline park.  I climbed, I jumped, I fell hard a lot.  So today.  Rest.

I had an absolute blast spending time with my oldest.  He is growing so fast, and I know these times will end abruptly and without my wanting.  So for yesterday, I embraced the crazy and climbed right beside him.

There’s a beautiful feeling not caring, especially what others think.  I squealed, flipped, hit my back, and laughed hard.

Today, my body is screaming at me.  My arms and legs hurt.  And I’m tired.

Sometimes I need a push and reason to play, and sometimes I need the same for rest.

Brene Brown talks about this idea in The Gift of Imperfection.  That to work on anxiety means to play and rest.

Childlike.

Joy.

The Bible talks about this too.  Childlike faith.  The Bible also talks a lot about rest and doing work.  It’s both.  James 2 talks about our faith working itself out in good deeds.  Matthew talks about Jesus’ desire for us to come and rest and lay our burdens down.

This life is meant to be lived in this in-between.  Not in perfection, but in this place feeling a little uncertain, because there are two parties vying for our attention: one that rests all the time and one that works all the time.

So, find ways to do both.  It’s important soul work.

Slow…

It’s hard to be grateful when you’re going 90 to nothing. Exhaustion. Bitterness. Fear. They all flow freely. I tend not to slow down because I don’t want to feel these things.

But as I slow down, the feelings leave and gratitude is left. That deep sense of worth, unending worth no matter what you’ve done. And the truth surfaces and you realize you are not the one keeping the world moving.

Whether it’s watching your kiddos slowly drift to sleep or listening to birds chirp outside. Or even in the chaos of kiddos screaming and laughing in the pool. Joy.

A pause. Sabbath. Rest. When we trust in the commandment of Sabbath, we know and believe Who is really in control, God himself. Freedom. Deep. Unending freedom from a God who is so good. Kind. Loving. Gracias.

The lie is that we can’t rest. That we do not possess the ability to slow so we say things like “it’s just who I am,” I’ve said that before. But it’s a lie. I was made for rest, to be restored. So I could know and believe God is for me and not against me.

I think this is essential for life, for actually living.

So how are you resting today?