Shadow Monsters

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Do you remember waking up from a bad dream as a child?

In the first few seconds after waking up, my room always seemed darker. And suddenly I was aware of every single shadow being cast on my walls. They towered over me like some child-eating monster out of a storybook. If you were like me, your first reaction was to cover yourself with your impenetrable shield of protection…your bedspread. Absolutely nothing could infiltrate it. The only flaw in your bedspread-defense is that the air starts to run out. First it gets hot, then it gets heavy, and then runs out completely. So you had better figure out your next strategic move before you pass out and get eaten up by a shadow monster.

As I took shelter under my sheets, I strategized an escape plan. But just the idea of letting my toes dangle over the edge of my mattress sent shivers to my completely rational, undramatic core, much less actually making a break for it. Ask any child and they’ll tell you that the moment your feet hit the floor, you have exactly .264 seconds to start running to the door, because something will grab your foot from under the bed. It’s just a fact.

The fear would grow and grow until there was only one thing left to do. I would work up enough courage to pull the covers down, just low enough to expose my mouth, then shout into the horrible blackness…

“MOMMYYYYYYYYYYYY!”

I needed her. I needed the comfort and peace that presence brought. And we all know that a mommy’s presence vanquishes any fear from bad dreams or shadow monsters.

I truly wonder how my mom got through my terror stage of the “Half Man, Half Monkey” (Thank you Sci-Fi commercial, thank you.) It didn’t matter if I was awake or asleep. If it was dark, I was scared. She had her presence requested (that’s a nice way to say I screamed bloody murder for her) countless times. To make things worse, I also discovered the movie, “Harry and The Hendersons.” AWESOME. I went to the kitchen one night for some water and as I sat at the dining room table, the realization hit me. Bigfoot was under the table. I should have just stayed parched in my bed…under my bedspread. I thought to myself, “So this is the end. What a way to go. So long, world. It’s been a great seven years.” To this day, I’m thankful that I was brave enough to look under the table. I’m convinced I would have had a heart attack if I had just sat there an longer.

Well, now I’m the mom.

My sweet toddler is in a stage where everything is “scary”. She’ll run up to the door where there is some chipped paint and theatrically scream, “Ahhhh! A big bug!”. Or she’ll run up to her daddy and then yell, “Ahhhh! Daddy scared me!” So yes, everything is pretend scary right now.

But an airplane flew right over our house yesterday. I must admit, it was pretty loud and startled me too. She ran out of her room yelling, “Mommy! It scared me!”

I took her by the hand, starting walking towards her room and said, “It’s okay, sweet girl. It was just an airplane. Mommy will go with you.”

She tenderly looked up at me as she took my hand. Once her hand was locked in mine, she had an instant boldness; a courage that comes along with simply having her mommy with her. The thing that scared her before, wasn’t so scary anymore. I was with her.

I feel that’s how our God is with us. We can run up to Him and tell Him that we’re scared; scared of the situation we’re in, scared of the unknown, scared of the future, scared we aren’t enough.

And His heart…His wonderful daddy heart whispers to us,

“It’s alright, sweet child. I’ll go with you.”

When we hear His voice, when we feel His hand wrapped around ours, we can move forward with boldness and peace.

It may not always be easy to walk into unknown territory, and let’s be honest, it’s usually scary most of the time. But we do not have to walk in fear because we are not alone. His presence allows us freedom to breathe, freedom to keep putting one foot in front of the other, freedom to find courage where otherwise there would be none.

What a beautiful thing.

So today, lock hands with Him. Find your courage in His presence. Walk in His presence. Keep moving forward in His presence.

Shadow monsters are scary, but they all disappear in the presence of Light.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

It’s Going To Be Okay

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Sometimes we just need to hear- “It’s going to be okay.”

We need to know that whatever is going on in our lives won’t last forever. We need to know that our circumstances are temporary & that the pain, the frustration, the exhaustion, the anxiety will not ruin us. We need to hear it out loud. “It’s going to be okay.”

For the second time in a week, I was calling my OB about a pregnancy “concern”. The first time I called, it was about accidently eating blue cheese. Yes, blue cheese & yes, eating it accidently. Now there are certain things I know I shouldn’t do while I’m pregnant. Water skiing, bungee jumping, deep sea diving. Basically all extreme sports are a no-no. But there’s something else that the internet tells you to stay away from. Blue cheese. (The internet has never steered me wrong, so I obviously listen to it on important matters such as pregnancy. Insert sarcastic tone here.) You will either get sick, or grow an 8-legged child, or jeopardize your baby’s development & ruin their chance at getting into an Ivy League school. Or something like that.

But the reason I was calling my doctor this time was about a different food. Raw chicken. I accidentally ate some on purpose.

It’s very complicated being pregnant. But to put it simply: my brain stops working.

I was making a crockpot dinner & placed the raw chicken in along with all the seasonings. I grabbed a spoonful of the sauce to make sure it tasted good. Two hours later, I realized I had swallowed a spoonful of raw chicken.

Now if it were just me, I’d wait it out & see if I started to feel sick. But c’mon. I’m growing a human being here. And I have to do everything I can to keep that little person safe & healthy. No water skiing. No deep sea diving. No blue cheese. And no raw chicken.

Even though my brain was telling me that “The Blue Cheese & Raw Chicken Incident of 2014” would be okay, I really needed to hear it from someone else.

Even though it sounds sort of silly now, the moment my doctor called me back & assured me that my baby would not grow any extra legs, I felt…relieved. It was going to be okay.

No matter what is going on today, whether you unknowing ingested blue cheese, or you’re facing one of the biggest obstacles of your life, I want you to hear something…

It’s going to be okay.

The family drama, your breaking heart, the pain you’re feeling. It’s going to be okay. Your busy schedule, that seemingly impossible project, that huge unknown thing that is ever-so-close to your heart. It won’t last forever & it will not ruin you.

It’s going to be okay. YOU are going to be okay.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, & do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Life’s Broken Promises

I was recently told, “Thank goodness you’re out of the scary part of your pregnancy.” I replied with a smile & a “yeah”, but to be honest, that’s not how I felt. When we lost our first baby, we were past the “scary part”. I know painfully well that making it to a certain day doesn’t guarantee anything in life – whether it’s with pregnancy, a job or a relationship.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

I don’t want that concept to be discouraging or fearful, like it doesn’t matter what we do in life because the chips will fall wherever anyways. My point is this. God’s faithfulness & my desperate need for Him do not increase or decrease depending on whether or not my circumstances look safe.

Relying on Him fully, trusting in Him fully & declaring Him faithful fully, isn’t a backup plan or a safety line when my heart hurts or my circumstances are shaky. Instead of making it optional to acknowledge God’s control & faithfulness, it needs to be the foundation on which I do my entire life. Jobs. Relationships. Dreams. Family. Everything.

I rely on Jesus every day. And as easy as it can be to sit back & loosen my grip on Him when it looks & feels like things are going to be safe or reliable, I want my grip to stay desperately attached to Him.

We are not guaranteed anything if we can just make it to a certain point in life or wait a set amount of time. Even if we reach our goals & get to the comfortable, safe & reliable circumstances we work so hard for, we are not guaranteed to keep them. It doesn’t somehow secure us in life.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Storms will come. Hearts will break. Circumstances will change. Jobs will be lost. Relationships will fail. Dreams will fade. People will leave.

But instead of focusing on avoiding the storm, let us take refuge in our God who promises to protect us. It won’t matter how hard the rain falls, or how powerful the storm becomes – because we are covered. We are covered by His protection. We are wrapped in His safety. We are filled with His steadfast love.

…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Life will break it’s promises, but our God will not break His. Our only guarantee is through Him. He is the only anchor that will hold fast when the waves get higher & the storm gets violent.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

So today, at this very moment, whether you are in a season of abundance & happiness or walking through a valley of drought & despair, desperately cling to Jesus. The Lord your God is in every detail. He is fully present in it all, so be confident in His sovereignty & refuge.

I declare my God as faithful!

Pizza & Endless Grace

Hello wonderful, sweet friend!

Oh the stories I have this week. And about 98% of them include my daughter. Yes, I’m “that” mom. Just go with it.

My little girl has definitely been exercising her independence. Which is a nice way of saying she has started wearing her sassy-pants more often. Her likes & dislikes are becoming very clear. If I don’t pick up on her unhappy facial expressions as she tries a meal she’s not thrilled about, she will very clearly tell me what she doesn’t like, why she doesn’t like it & why I should never ask her to eat it again. All of this is communicated in her own little language, but she uses a lot hand gestures, so I know she means business. She will throw her head back in the most precious & dramatic way if she is asked to do something she really doesn’t want to. She will also turn her head & close her eyes. I’m not sure if she wants to disappear or wants me to disappear, but either way, I get her point.

Along with all her dislikes, we have also discovered more of the things she likes. I am constantly left in awe of what a beautiful person my daughter is. The things she does amazes me. She is so smart & I just can’t believe that my baby is now her own walking, talking, exploring, expressive little self. I love when she gets excited over something new or smiles & nods her head in approval for something she enjoys. I have also discovered that this child loves pizza. A lot. Every time a pizza commercial comes on or she sees a picture of a pizza, the entire room fills with her long, drawn out, “Mmmmmmmmmmmms!” The first time she did this, I could not stop laughing. But now it happens every time & I’m pretty sure if anyone were to visit our house during one of those moments, they would think that’s all we feed her. Oh how I adore that pizza-loving girl.

As I look at my daughter, even when she’s wearing her sassy-pants, I gain a deeper understanding of God’s heart for us. I will always & forever love her completely & without reservation & I will do anything for her. There is nothing she can say or do to change that. And like Matthew 7:11 says, if I am a sinful being who can still give good gifts to my children, how much more will God give to us?

Grace is defined as “the free & unmerited favor of God”.

It’s free. And we can’t earn it.

Wow.

When I sit & think about it & really just let that soak into my soul, it leaves me speechless. It leaves me breathless really.

I think we all have days that our imperfections & mistakes cause hesitation to fully embrace that truth- the truth that our circumstances & emotions do not dictate whether God gives us a little or a lot of grace.

To be completely honest, there are some days I feel more covered than other days. My heart knows that isn’t true, but still, I have those moments.

But that’s the beautiful thing I’m learning about grace. Grace doesn’t draw closer to us when we feel holier or more polished. And it doesn’t loosen its grip when we feel dirty or frazzled.

We are submerged just as deeply in His free & unmerited favor when we feel like we’re on the right track, as we are on days we feel completely knocked off course.

Confident & lifting our hands or broken & on our faces. I think grace doesn’t distinguish between the two. We are God’s children. And that alone qualifies us to receive this incomparable gift.

I am so thankful for God’s grace. Our perfect, holy God grants us favor despite our mistakes & imperfections. What a beautiful picture of His heart towards us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8&9

At this very moment, His grace is washing over you. And it’s not going to stop.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

You are loved. You are precious. And I declare my God as faithful.

A Stuffy Nose & A Firm Foothold

Hello sweet friend.

I am so happy to be sitting & talking with you. The last couple weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. I had a cold for what felt like forever & then experienced a sinus-infection for the first time. Having an almost constant headache, stuffy nose & plugged ears was just pitiful. It got a little awkward asking people to repeat what they were saying over & over. I eventually just started smiling & nodding. I have a feeling that one is going to come back to haunt me. Who knows what I agreed to, signed up for & smiled at at an inappropriate time. I’ll keep you posted on that.

And you know when you’re not feeling well it’s hard to handle normal life stuff much less an emotional blow?

Well, I had both.

I experienced an emotional attack this week. It was just…ugly. And the fact that I couldn’t breathe out of my nose or stop sneezing didn’t help. It was something that would have knocked me down & possibly even broke me a few years ago. But this time, it has actually refocused & empowered me because it made me focus & rely on God’s steadfastness even more. It was a clear reminder that when I am focusing on God, the enemy WILL try to distract & discourage me.

But instead of being overwhelmed or discouraged, I’ve truly been so overwhelmed by God’s heart towards me. His protection & care for my heart has been incredible. His goodness is evident every day, but I guess you could say I’m aware of it in a new way. Experiencing it a little deeper. Pressing into it with a greater intensity.

I know Who my foundation is & I know that He is immovable, unshakable & steadfast. So when the violent winds from this world start blowing, I cannot be broken if my feet are firmly planted on Christ. I remain confident. I remain standing. When the Creator of the universe, the God of the heavens, the Ruler over all covers you with His hand…well, the winds become calm & your foothold stays solid.

The Lord is my rock & my fortress & my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, & the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

Are you experiencing an attack on your heart? Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. Perhaps the mistakes of yesterday are consuming the possibilities of today. Whatever your case may be, know this…

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

I know what it’s like to not be able to handle things alone. But we aren’t meant to. Your God loves you beyond measure. He promises to always guard over you, always unconditionally love you & always stay with you. Submerge yourself in His Word & trust in His promises!

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge & my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1&2

He is our anchor in the stormy sea. He is our shelter in the violent storm. I declare my God as faithful!

The Year of Awesomeness

It has arrived – 2014 is here! There’s something refreshing about beginning a new year, is there?

That new number brings with it endless possibilities for the upcoming 365 days. I tend to dream a little bigger & more colorfully at the start of every year. A new year means a fresh start & that in itself, is a great feeling.

It’s exciting to get motivated & dream & make plans for the year, but I know many of us make “resolutions” only to become overwhelmed or discouraged & ditch them by the second week of February. We vow to work out more or lose weight, write that book or learn to play that instrument, break out of our comfort zones or reinvent ourselves. None of those things will happen overnight so we’ll have to stay consistent & persevere. And let me tell you, those two things completely clash with my natural ability to procrastinate & give up. If you’re looking for someone to do something consistent for about 2 weeks but then get distracted by something shiny, I’m your girl. But if I want to make changes or accomplish my goals, I know it’s the small decisions I’ll make every day that will ultimately get me there.

So along with asking God to help me stay consistent & to persevere this year, I’m also asking the Lord to show me areas of my life where I’m using my time & energy incorrectly. There are projects & even relationships that take more energy & emotion than what is healthy to give. Sometimes we just need to step back & rethink some things. Re-prioritizing can be a really good thing. For 2014, I’m going to focus in on a couple of things & give them the dedication & energy they need in order to complete them well.

Commit your work to the LORD, & your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

One of my goals is to finish a children’s book I’ve worked on little by little over the past couple of years. I’m down to the “cleaning up” stage which requires a lot of time & yes, perseverance. Again, this is a tricky task for me because there are a lot of shiny things in my house. The process can be tiring, but if I’m going to be tired from doing something, it better be from doing something awesome & finishing it 100%. Am I right or am I right?

Above all else, I desire to constantly seek God & know His heart more. I can make good plans, admirable goals & have good intentions, but staying focused on Him will keep my priorities in the right order & my energy renewed each day!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, & he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5&6

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Let me ask you- is there something that you’re excited to do this year? Maybe it’s finishing a project or investing more time in a friendship. Is there something that you have been meaning to do, but just haven’t taken the time to do it? Who have you wanted to get coffee with, but haven’t yet? Well, my friend, it’s 2014 & this year holds so much potential! So get out there & be the awesome you that you are!

And let’s remember to keep encouraging & motivating each other along the way! It’s the small decisions we will make each day that will lead us to that super-duper-amazing-accomplishment!

Happy 2014! I declare my God as faithful!

Fall Afresh

Hello my friend,

I’m so excited to share this with you. I’ve been experiencing God’s spirit in a new & fresh way! There hasn’t been one thing in particular that has kindled the fire in my heart. It’s been a bunch of little details & decisions I’ve made that have added up & created some spectacular results! The way I feel & see the world is so different when I’m intentional about my relationship with God instead of putting it on cruise-control & letting it just coast along. I’m so encouraged & wanted to share that encouragement with you.

This is a list & prayer I made this week. It started as a simple list of acknowledging & thanking God for who He is & what He has done for me. But it quickly grew into a passionate battle cry & fiery prayer.

Be encouraged, sweet friend! Our God is constantly calling us to His heart. Even when we wander. Even when we ignore Him. Even when we get so caught up in the to-dos of our life that we forget to put Him above it all. So this week, I encourage you sit down & think through a few things. Reprioritize your day. Make sure that He is in the forefront of your mind as you run errands. Play worship music in the background. If you can, dive into your Bible a few times throughout the day instead of stopping at your morning devotion. Pray out loud with your friend, even if it’s a little uncomfortable. Dig deeper. Lean into Him.

I pray that you too will experience our God’s spirit in a fresh & new way this week! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

 

Oh Savior, your grace for me is scandalous.
It gave me eternal life that I don’t deserve. (John 3:16&17)

Lord, your mercy is indescribable.
It took the punishment that I did deserve. (Psalm 103:8-12)

Father, you have adopted me as your daughter.
My place in your family has been bought with your very blood. (John 1:12)

El Roi, you see into the deepest parts of my soul.
You are acquainted with my every thought & action. (Hebrews 4:13)

Teacher, your patience for me doesn’t end.
It allows me to persevere despite mistakes & failures. (2 Peter 3:9)

God, your Spirit breathes life into my bones.
It nudges me to keep going when I want to give up. (Hebrews 33:4)

El Shaddai, you provide for my every need.
I lack no good thing when I follow you. (Philippians 4:19)

Immanuel, you are always with me.
Your presence gives me courage & strength. (Joshua 1:9)

El Rachum, your compassion envelops my pain.
It shows me that you are near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18)

Mighty God, your faithfulness transcends our emotions, situations & circumstances.
You work everything for the good of those who love you. (Romans 8:28)

Jesus, your peace isn’t confined to my understanding.
It penetrates deeper than the pain & is more present than my heartache. (Philippians 4:7)

 

Father God,

You embody all these beautiful things. Yet you, a perfect God, intimately involve yourself in my imperfect life. You walk alongside me in every pain, hardship & trial I face. Even if the only reason you would lay your hand on me is to comfort me, it would be inconceivable that Almighty God would touch the flesh of fallen humanity. But you are love. And you go further than what I could ever ask for or understand. You wrap your arms around me to protect me, to redeem me & to change me from the inside out.

It is by your mercy that I take my next breath. It is for glory that I live today. Build me up & set my heart on fire for you! Infuse your Word so deeply inside of me that it becomes a part of my very being. May it sink into the marrow of my bones & settle into the core of my heart & mind. You have set a calling upon my life, so there is no power on earth or in hell than can stop me from stepping into my destiny!

You are faithful & what you start, you finish. My identity is found in you, so use my heart to reflect yours.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Your First Love

From a very young age, I have loved to draw & write.

When I was in kindergarten, our class was asked to draw something related to Christmas. One kid’s picture was going to be chosen to be in the newspaper. I decided to draw the silhouettes of an angel & wise men on their way to see baby Jesus. I remember thinking it was such a good idea. Brilliant even. And when I was finished with my creation, feelings of pride & joy burst from my heart as I gazed upon my final product. It was a masterpiece. Exactly as I had envisioned it. It was probably my best work so far. And to my thrill, but not total surprise, I won & it was printed in the newspaper. My pride was pure & innocent. And I just knew I would be chosen, because I loved to draw. That’s how it worked, right?

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Don’t you love how simple some things were when you were young?

All the way through high school I wrote poems, short stories & anything on my heart really. Writing was a part of my identity. Every spare moment I had (& sometimes during moments that I should have been focusing on something else) you could find me in a corner somewhere with my pens, notepad & art book. When I wrote or drew, something inside of me came alive. I knew it was my calling. I didn’t know how it was going to fit into a “job”. But I was sure that God placed those desires in my heart, so He was going to work it out.

Well, life started happening. And those corner art sessions became few & far between.

On the rare occasions that I did write or draw, that fiery passion burned again. I would always ask myself, “Why don’t I do this any more? I love it so much. I’m meant to do this.”

But I’ll tell you why I stopped.

The world told me that I had to grow up. It stole that childlike passion & confidence. My adult brain began to compare my abilities to others, which then stole all the joy & fun of doing what I loved.

The world told me that I wouldn’t be able to make money at it. If it didn’t fit into a rational, logical, productive, grown up category in life, I had to toss it out the window. I couldn’t get wrapped up in the whimsy of what I loved to do when there were more “productive” things that needed to get done.

Can I just say one thing?

It isn’t true!

The truth is, the Lord has put talents, passions, loves & abilities inside of each of us for a reason! We don’t have to work out the details or worry about if it’s productive enough or profitable enough or constructive enough.

Drawing is therapeutic to me. It calms me down & allows my mind to beautifully wander. Writing allows me to express my heart in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise know how to do. They are both precious to me & are therefore, valuable, productive & worthwhile.

So let me ask you…

What do YOU love to do? What is it that makes you happy & enjoy the moment for what it is? What have you let go of in your life that used to bring you passion & meaning? What have you set aside that used to make you come alive?

I encourage you to take some time this weekend & rediscover your love. Draw, paint, write. Go for a bike ride, play your guitar, go build something. Sign up for that class, get that certification, step out of your comfort zone. Dare to be silly. Have fun. Enjoy it. If it brings you joy or even makes you smile, bump it up on your to-do list. Give it higher priority.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

After my sweet God, redirected me back to my love of writing & drawing, I feel more whole now. Let Him do the same for you.

Please leave a comment below & share what it is YOU love to do!

I declare my God as faithful!

The Great Parenting Challenge

We’ve all experienced it in some form & many of us, in multiple forms. A glaring look, a backhanded compliment, a rude comment on Facebook. To make matters worse, all of these come from fellow mommies or daddies. Whether it’s directed at your child’s behavior, the way you’re parenting, what you’re feeding your child or at a decision you’ve made, it stings. It beyond stings. It tears away at that part of your heart where you so deeply long to be a good mommy or daddy- to be a great parent. That part of our hearts already battles feelings of being unprepared, inexperienced, inadequate & sometimes, just plain scared! So those looks & comments are brutal.
Within the first 30 minutes of announcing we were pregnant, my husband & I were abruptly introduced to the harsh, cut throat, judgmental side of the club called, “Being a Parent”. It doesn’t matter if your baby is still inside your womb & looks like a gummy bear or if you’re holding your sweet little bundle in your arms; you’re in the club.
Epidural? No epidural?
Cloth diapers? Disposable diapers?
Vaccinations? No vaccinations?
Traditional? Non-traditional?
Breastfeeding? Formula?
I quickly realized that I was being asked all these questions, not because the other mommies were truly interested in my opinions or thoughts, but because they felt the overwhelming need to tell me why my decisions were wrong…if they weren’t the same as their own.
Good grief. There are enough challenges & decisions to make as a mommy & daddy without tearing each other apart for choosing something we wouldn’t. We are all trying to love & teach & take care ofthe precious lives that God has given us to the best of our ability.
I’m all about sharing good information with each other. I have been abundantly blessed with a circle of mommies that look straight to the heart & are supportive in this journey that we’re on together. They just don’t get caught up on all the details along the way. So the club can be a great one to be a part of too.
I think being educated & well balanced is wonderful. But when you feel that little fire inside of you start rising up because someone isn’t making the same choice for their child as you are for yours, maybe that’s not a good time to talk. Or comment. Or stare.
Sure, there are some things that I am unwilling to negotiate on. There are decisions that my husband & I have made that we believe are the best decisions for our family. But just because we say “yes” to something for our family, doesn’t mean that a “no” is wrong for another family. Every child is different, every situation is different & every parent is different. And so are options & decisions. And that’s ok. Actually, it’s more than ok! It’s wonderful that we are all different! We are all aiming for the same goal: to grow our children into strong, smart & well-rounded little people. Can we step back from the details & support each other for that?

So if you have received “the look” from another mommy on the playground recently, or if you’ve read a hurtful comment on Facebook, can I just encourage you today? You are doing a great job! It’s all right that your kid was the only one screaming & trying to go up the slide the wrong way. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t.  If you’re all about cloth diapers, you go girl! If you use disposable diapers, you go girl! It doesn’t matter what your child poops in. You love your child more than life itself; you’re making decisions that work for YOUR family; & that, my dear friend, is not only good, it is admirable & beautiful.
 
Above my own opinions & ability to parent well, I rely on my God’s grace & direction. And He gives them abundantly & clearly. I declare my God as faithful!

Right Now

I am on my knees. Lifting my eyes up to the One who created me. Desperately in need of & overwhelming thankful for the grace & love He is pouring over me. Like the refreshment that cool water brings to a weary traveler, I too am looking upwards as heaven rains on me. Wounds are being cleaned out & starting to heal. It’s a healing I have never known. The truth of God’s word is finding new places in my heart to consume… parts of my heart that were previously closed off.
Are you in a place right now that feels deathly dry? Or maybe you feel a thousand miles away from anyone even when you’re standing in a crowd of people. Maybe the messiness in your life has caused you to step away from loving, growing or accepting yourself & others. Don’t wait until you feel like you have cleaned up your heart & life enough to approach the throne of God. That time will never come. Don’t wait until you can muster up the energy on your own to be able to “handle” the things you know need attention. It won’t happen. He wants you exactly as you are, at this exact moment. Healing & renewal can come from no one else except Jesus. It can come from nothing else except for His endless love.
Endless love. It does not run out. Ever. No matter what you say or do. It does not stop. He is just as passionate about you on your good days as He is for you on the days you feel less-than. Your mess, your desires, your baggage, your pain, your anger, your anxiety, your imperfections, your regrets; they are grains of sand compared to the ocean of love & grace Jesus has for you.
 

“Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9

No matter what you’re facing this week, Jesus is there. He is already there. He is the there with you in the pain. And is there in the healing. He is there in your unknowns. They are not unknowns to Him. He is there, my beautiful sister.
 
You are worth it. You are beautiful. I declare my God as faithful.