Sometimes He doesn’t take it

I’ve talked with God a lot about my struggles, the things I don’t like about myself. Anxiety is one. Depression another.

But in all my asking He doesn’t take it.

He allows it to be a teacher.

Our feelings aren’t things to be pushed away, but to be held. To allow them to do their job.

My son is getting two fillings today, at five and a half. I’m nervous. He’s nervous.

I want to take it from him, but it’s not for his best. He’s going to have to do hard things in this life and I can’t shield him from them all. Today it is fillings, who knows what tomorrow holds.

So today, I’m learning to live with that anxiety and allow my son to get his teeth taken care of so he can be cavity free.

God sees the end picture. He knows what our struggles bring us too. To a place of being with Him, of resting in Him with our whole selves. Not the self we like.

So, today what part of yourself do you wish were more together, healthier, because those are the things God wants. He wants to be with all of us. The parts that doubt, that are addicted, that are hurting, that are fearful. The parts so utterly broken.

See I wanted God to take the feelings away, but those feelings were pointing to deeper hurt that needed to be brought to the light so it could be healed. And when I struggle with anxiety and depression it’s normally because I’m pushing that self away and telling myself to get it together.

See I’m uncomfortable with my son and having pain. I want to run from it, to say just keep the cavities, but it will cause more pain later.

So I let Him have space to be courageous. And he is.

Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is to come to God with it all. And let Him heal it, it can be painful. But we can have confidence, He’ll gladly accept us. And we will have a deeper relationship with Him. He knows how it all ends, and it’s good.

So pray today, give it to Him. He wants it. And if you don’t know how, ask Him, He’ll help you.

Maybe we are all chosen.

Sitting in my living room, listening to little snores from a baby boy who hasn’t felt good lately.  Stomach bug has taken him down.

Sitting, thinking on what to write and how to write it today.

I have bacon cooking and coffee brewing, planning to enjoy a little down time before picking the older kids from school.

“For such a time as this” a verse from Esther.  We were created for such a time as this.  This world we live in right now, we were created to help, to encourage, to lift their eyes up to Jesus.  That feels like a huge task.

I find myself saying, yeah, they are definitely chosen but not me, not my gifts, not my talents.  I have no influence.  No space to create to share with others.  Not true.

Chosen does not equal perfect.  It does not equal complete, whole.  It represents the willing.  The ones willing to allow God to use them, all of them. The good the bad and the ugly.

And we are chosen because we are loved.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 “For we know brothers, loved by God that He has chosen you.”

God loves all the parts of our story.  The good and the bad.  He loves us in everyone of those moments.  John 3:16 says “For God so loved* the world…”.  He loves the whole world.  You are included, I’m included.

So the first qualification is

1) to be loved by God (whew, this requires nothing of us)

And the second is to be willing like Esther, in the face of such danger, to step out to stand up.  For her it was for her nation.  What do you need to stand up for?  (…whew I’m challenging myself with that question!)

2) be willing.

Be willing to fail.  Be willing to rise up.  Be willing to accept accountability.  Be willing to let others look into your life.  Be willing to show people where God has been in your life.  Be willing to heal.  Be willing to wait.  Be willing to step even if you don’t know what step is next.

3) ask God.

This one might be scary, because if you are like me you know He will answer and what if you don’t like it.  When you step into a plan God has for you, you will like it one thousand times more than you own.  Don’t settle for sitting back, because you are scared.

Clarification: this doesn’t have to mean ministry or mission field, but it could.  I’m taking this as day to day living.  This is me sitting in my living room writing as my baby sleeps and my kids are at school.  This is my small step.

Take a step today, toward a dream, a word, a gifting you know you have that you’ve not used for His glory.  Go, just enough today.  He’ll give you the next step tomorrow.

Life doesn’t always go as planned

Sitting at home, writing today, while my mother-in-law works in the other room today.  Her flight got cancelled yesterday and the one for 1 pm today was cancelled as well.  The airlines are planning to call her back and give her an update on a new flight.

Stressful.

So much of life has not gone the way I planned it.

We didn’t plan to move to Texas.

We didn’t plan to be in college ministry.

I didn’t plan on getting a teaching degree.

I didn’t plan on having a breakdown or breakthrough, whatever you want to call it, at age 30, with three kids.

But God knew.

Psalm 139:16

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.”

Essentially, God knew every day I was ever going to live, and He knows every day I will live from here on out.  He knows the struggles, the joys, the trials, and the fruit He will produce.

I’m reading “None like Him” by Jen Wilkins and its such an amazing book, opening my eyes to so many of the things that God is and I am not.  And my last chapter was on how our God is eternal.  There is no time that He has not known completely.  He was relevant for the Israelites and He is relevant right now for us.  He knows all.

Revelation 1:8

 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Psalm 90: 17 Moses requested for God to “establish the work of our hands.”  So we can rest our plans in His hands because it’s better than we ever planned.

See, my mother-in-law got on a flight this afternoon that is direct instead of flying all afternoon connecting somewhere else to her final destination.

He knows.

He knows our testimonies need some plans changed.  He knows we need to see Him move and we see Him move more clearly when we are desperate for Him, when we are only looking for Him.

And if all our plans go as we thought, then who is God? Maybe He has to throw some wrenches in the mix so we look up.  And sometimes those wrenches are really, really beautiful.

What plans of yours have changed, and how has God used them in your life?road-sun-rays-path

I see you

Dear momma,

I see you.

I see you loving on those babies, when you are so tired you cannot even think straight.

I see you cutting up those grapes in halves because you’re nervous your toddler will swallow them whole.

I see you momma cooking two meals because you don’t want to eat chicken nuggets, but it’s the only protein your cutie will eat.

I see you washing those dishes for the second time today.

I see you holding your sweet girls hand as you walk her to school.

I see you leaning over your little ones at night and kissing them on the forehead and whispering you love them.

I see you rocking your two year old who’s teething and they look at you with those loving eyes.  The world stops for a moment.

You’re a good mom .

I see you asking for help when you were losing your patience.

You’re a good mom.

I see you praying over those kids asking God to help you not totally mess them up.

You’re a good mom.

I see you budgeting and trying to save as you head to the grocery store.

You’re a good mom.

I see you making mistakes and beating yourself up for them.

You’re a good mom.

You’re not perfect.

But you are a good mom.

Take true inventory of your day.
And if you can’t, ask someone close to you. My sister in law is one of my best encouragers.
And you’ll realize the rough parts were such a small portion of the day.
Then, remind yourself you are a good mom.

And it’s enough.

Grounded

Where to begin.  This topic is heavy and hard to articulate.  It’s something I’ve felt a thousand times, but still struggle with the right words for it.

Anxiety.   Defined as “…an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.”

I read an article yesterday about “Anxiety in children” from heysigmund.com.  I just can’t get over how powerful this article was.  When you struggle with anxiety, maybe you fear your kids will struggle with it too.  I don’t think anyone loves feeling anxious.  But it is a normal feeling.  It’s normal.  It’s normal. It’s normal. (I’m reminding myself.)  Because one of the biggest hiccups with anxiety is that it feels so lonely.

This article articulated what a strong mind looks like, and it is one that protects us.  I love this.  I believe the heart of anxiety is a sense of needing to protect ourselves.  “Hey Sigmund” calls an anxious mind strong, creative, and a little overprotective.

Have any of you been with a parent or maybe yourself, and you just feel the need to be overprotective, sit down Timmy, don’t climb on that, don’t jump too high, what’s in your mouth, oh nothing, just the food I gave you…  Anyone else?

Someone with anxiety is reacting the same way just in their mind.  It is irrational but it feels so real to that person.  And going back to the definition, I’m reminded of myself, anxiety for me is a fear of not having enough of myself to do what I need to do.

So I’m going to recap a piece of this article, because this stuff is good!  Go read this article even if you don’t struggle with anxiety, because I know you know someone who does.  Give yourself wisdom to understand someone else.  It is super science-y, which I love.

First it talks about our amygdala (where we feel all our emotions) and someone with anxiety, there’s works a little harder.

Grounding is one area I want to land with this topic.  Anxiety is like the mind getting hijacked by fear of the future.  And grounding is a way to bring it back to the present.

“Hey Sigmund” suggests a fun activity using your five sense.

When anxiety rolls for you or someone you love, here are the five suggestions: Have them say out loud: (Probably will only have to do a few)

5-what are five things you see

4-what are four things you hear

3-what are three things you feel

2-what are two things you can smell

1-what is one thing you can taste

This can help bring you to the present.  (Present; defined as existing or in progress right now. LOVE!)  We don’t have to be perfect or anxiety free, but we can stand in the present making progress over anxiety hauling off with our day.

I’m practicing this today.img_7242-1

Writing

I’m off this week.  A little jostled.  Like my tiny world shifted a little too much this week.

So today I’m still writing.  I don’t want to write only when I feel awesome or when I feel I have the most amazing word for someone.  But I want to write, and do it on days that I don’t feel like it too.  Because I feel called to it.  To write.

The one thing I hear over and over if you want to write is to keep your butt in the chair and write.  Today is that day for me.

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I want to write not just to feel better, but to see change and growth.  To see this craft turn into something beautiful, an art work.

If you told me a year ago, I would thoroughly enjoy writing, I’d laugh.  My claim over myself for years was I’m not a writer, I like math.  I was really saying um, I’m only good at math not english.  Which is a pretty broad statement to put over yourself.  I like to do that, box myself in.  Anyone else?

So this year, I’m stepping out.  Writing.  I have things to say and words to speak.  Words that I feel are important.  I have a story to tell, and I want to be the one to tell it.  So I’m writing.

So, I guess I’m writing today to tell you don’t box yourself in.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but take whatever next step you need to move in what God is calling you to.

Sometimes, I like looking too far into the future, but the only step we need to take is today.

We have dreams, true dreams, that have been placed on our hearts.  It’s our job to awaken and do those dreams.  They are there for a reason.

I have so many friends that spur me on who are pursuing dreams and making things happen in their lives and their families.

Like my friend, who is a missionary pursuing prenatal fitness certifications because she is so passionate about mom’s and their health.  If she can do it in Africa, we can here.  Or like my friend and her husband, who are pursuing rental properties so they can live their dreams together.  Or another friend who is teaching at five am in the morning before her babies are up to help their family, but mostly because she’s an amazing teacher and it will always be in her heart.  Another friend who is pursuing a degree to be a nurse anesthetist, she’s dreamed about it, kept pursuing, and now has the opportunity to go and do that dream.  I could go on and on.

Maybe the the key is to let others inspire you, instead of making you jealous.  I like this option better.  So, instead of jealousy I can let someone else’s passion pour into my life and inspire me towards my passions, whatever they are.

Be inspired even when you don’t feel like it.  I’m working on it.

Never too far gone

Jordan Feliz sings “There’s no distance that I can’t reach you…” about the love our Father has for us and how He comes for us.

It’s hard to know this truth until you’ve been to the pit, the place you thought was out of God’s reach.

Two years ago, I hit that place.  Rock bottom.  A deep pit.  A place I thought I’d never leave.  Telling God, just leave me, go find someone else, I’m useless, no good.  I’m hurt beyond repair.

Our sweet third child, a boy, was born.  Loved.  Cherished.  This isn’t about him, but about that time.  I had built a home that I was trying to “self sustain”, all on my own.  Mostly pride drove the desire to be in control, but so did fear.

Being a believer, this was a hard place to admit I was and that I needed help and support, but that is exactly where I was.  So at rock bottom, I accepted help from many avenues: doctors, counselors, family, and friends.  I knew if God wasn’t going to leave me there like I asked that things had to change.  I couldn’t go on the same.

Two years later, things are better. I’m moving.  Growing.  Seeking.  Still need help and support.  Don’t we all?

This morning I picked up “None like Him” by Jen Wilkins (read it!).  I’m on chapter four and guess what the title is “Self-Sufficient” and it is in reference to God, not me.  I am not God, so that is not a characteristic I get to claim, even if I want to.  So, I’m still learning how to lean on others, accepting help, and walking in humility.  It’s not easy when you’ve built up a mindset that you are fine and can do it all.  But, slowly I’m changing.  The flow is changing, the pace is slower, and the people in my life are completely intentional.

This journey is a marathon, not a sprint.  I wanted a sprint.  I wanted to get through that season lightning fast, which left me frustrated some days thinking I “should” be in a different place, but acceptance is the first step, accepting right where you are.

If I had time, I’d sit down with you and tell you all the amazing things that happened in that pit.  I can look back and see the roll it played in my family, in the lives of friends, in myself.  It’s a beautiful time.  I didn’t think that then.

But,

  • I now know truly that there is no place we can go that He cannot reach us.
  • His love can pour over us anew, His forgiveness can be more real than we have ever experienced.
  • Grace and love from people around you opens up when you admit you need help.  Because one day they’ll need it too.
  • And I can promise He wants you, just you, as is, no achieving, no striving, broken and a mess.  He wants that person.  He sees worth, sweet worth from a Savior that will never ever leave us.  He can’t, He’s in us.

Be encouraged friend, you are never too far gone.

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Psalm 139: 12

Read Psalm 139

Flow

I was in counseling last week, refreshing after a busy start to the new year.

I told my counselor my word for the year was “balance” and read my blog to help explain how I saw it.  And she said she liked it and added that it also sounded like the word flow, rhythm.  My heart jumped with excitement.  I love rhythm.  It reminds me of dancing and singing in the kitchen, usually to Justin Timberlake.

img_7245-1My flow on a typical day usually comes when the kids are all happily playing together.  Its beautiful.  When the kids were younger, it was when they all napped at the same time and that peaceful sound fell over the house.  It was beautiful.  Peaceful.  Joyful.  Refreshing.  Especially if there was a sleepy babe laying in my arms snuggled on the couch.

This new word doesn’t change where I’m finding myself this year.  The word flow brought more clarity to the word balance for me, which is usually what counseling provides for me too, clarity.  Balance for me is a flow to life that is sustainable and joyful.  I have a tendency to want to stay in this flow state; however, then I wouldn’t know I was in a “rhythm or flow.”  It would just be normal, not a special time that I take notice of.  There is still life to be lived I remind myself.

My counselor said it reminded her of yoga, moving back and forth between poses can be difficult, but once we are in them it gets easier.  I like that.  Flow is not always a continual process, but one that we enter in and out of.

Sometimes it is hard to transition back to working out, but it becomes a flow once we make the transition.  Sometimes it is hard to transition from winter snuggles on the couch to playing outside when it’s a little chilly, but once we are there it is a little easier.

Today, I’m transitioning to eating better for myself.  I hate the transition, avoid it, and stay in an unhealthy place until finally I move and do something.  So I’m doing it. Stepping.

I believe we can make a lot of these habits, but life will happen and our flow will be jostled for a time, just get back at it whatever that flow is.  If it’s dancing in the kitchen, that’s easy!  Do it.  If it’s working out because it brings you joy, do it.  If its painting because you go into state of peace and focus, do it.

So, what is your flow?