Enough

Is that word even possible today?  As women, it’s especially difficult.  We want to feel valuable, precious and important. We’ve been told we have to keep up.  We can do anything, but then we wake up one morning and find ourselves responsible for everything. We’re trapped in the web of life we’ve created and find ourselves running out of energy and stuck on a wheel that’s spinning too fast to get off, and the whole world lovingly tells us we can do it.

Psalm 139:13-14

 For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;   your works are wonderful,  I know that full well

We love talking about our children with the section of scripture, but what about ourselves. God loved us so much he spent time on our entire being.

Recently, I had a good friend break down to me about not being able to keep up with everything in her life from kids to the house and her job, not to mention her husband not always understanding. I found myself unexpectedly balling my eyes out with her. We both realized we felt like complete failures.  The more it has come up in convo lately, the more I’m learning we are all struggling with this.

Go back to the Psalm, though. We are freaking fearfully and wonderfully made! We have to STOP feeling guilty and not feeling like enough- enough mom, enough at work, enough wife. STOP IT! We have got to recognize that his grace is sufficient, and we are enough!

 

 

 

Getting Testy

For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

I really hate snakes.  They are slimy, disgusting creatures and I can hardly bare to see an image of one without my skin crawling. We have no problem turning and running from anything that freaks us out or is disgusting. What id someone was such a good liar, however, that our place of rescue began to look like the den of snakes, and the snake was twisted to look like salvation?  That is a dangerous situation.

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It’s a dangerous situation, and it’s very real. That first section of Matthew 4 is serious business. God came to Earth in human form to understand us, to relate to us, and to truly know us. I know I like to picture the cute cherub baby Jesus and the smiling ‘let the children come to me’ Jesus (you know, like in Ricky Bobby).

Jesus had been fasting for 40 days.  He was starving and worn for all the right reasons, but the Devil saw an opportunity to seize. He does the same things to us.  When we feel broken or tired and God is taking us to that place to teach us and to grow us, instead of us learning, our instinct is to find a way out.

Have you ever been in a terrible situation and though ‘I could just quit’ or ‘I could just move away’? The flight instinct is strong when our backs are against the wall and the problem is too big for us.

Satan knows it, and he uses it.  In Matthew 4, he takes Jesus to every temptation affecting Jesus.  ‘Prove you are God.  Prove you can do anything.  Relieve your plight.Return to your rightful seat on your throne.’ He does the same to us. ‘Walk away from your husband. Get another credit card.  Drink until the pain is dulled.’ and in my case, ‘GET THE CHEESEBURGER!’  These battles are real and more than we can bare alone.

We know God walks through temptation with us empathetically, and with the truest form of faith, we can give the situation to Him and trust that things are hard because He is teaching us. Choose today to give it to God.  Allow Him to bear your pain, and save yourself the struggle of doing it alone.

 

Just how long is a marathon?

This is an easy answer for the foot race, but when you’re in the fire and the word stamina doesn’t even begin to touch on what you’re using to put on foot in front of the other, do ever wonder “What the crap?!  Just how long is this marathon?”

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Male version of me running, active.com

I can tell you I’ve felt it. God takes us to the brink because it’s sometimes the only way we will truly hand it over to him.  Like any good parent, he is always there for us, but to grow us big strong and wise, we have to be allowed to put in work and fight our way out of some hardships.  I personally find Jesus is my bestie way more when I’m only a few miles in and haven’t trained properly.

Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Recently, I had one project where things had started kind of stinky and I learned a lot and we improved over time, so in my head I envisioned smooth sailing (maybe a car ride to the finish), but then I hit a bigger uphill battle than the one before. I can also tell you my prayer time was waning and I couldn’t focus when I went to God.

Many times, I decide my plan is awesome.  I start working said “awesome plan” to realize that maybe I actually have no idea what I’m doing, and had I gone to God in the first place, I might have been saved from the aforementioned “awesome” now sucky plan.

So the race of each difficult time gets longer until we learn the correct path on the course to the finish of that time of growth.  Unlike a real marathon, I can’t just stop running at some point and have a Krispy Kreme (which I would totes do), or finish the race after a finite distance (23.2, and why would that even be a consideration).  This is legit life and we have to finish it to truly learn and move past that difficulty.

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and now you want a doughnut 🙂

How we finish and how many hills we hit depends on our obedience.  My prayer is that you are way better than me about walking in faith through it.

 

Living in Insanity

I have a two year old. Why do I say it like I’m in recovery, you ask?  If you’ve ever had a two year old, you know why.  Today he had time out for the same thing three times.  I felt like I was living in my own personal Groundhog Day (worst movie ever, other than Bill being in it, of course).

I caught myself thinking, ‘does he think he’s just going to get away with it this time or is he expecting a different result? How could he possibly think that?!’

During the third time out, though, mommy had her own moment.  God said, you are no better than he! You keep going down the same roads and I have to admonish you every time to protect you from yourself.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. -Romans 7:15

Look at the entire Bible.  Especially the storyline of the Jews.  Judges is an entire book of prayerful people moving forward with God, then getting comfy and deciding they didn’t need to obey or honor Him, then falling apart to return to Him….and repeat.  This is AFTER they wandered in the freaking desert for 40 years because they were disobedient!

It was such an eye opening moment.  God showed me why He took the time to discipline me, but I also understood the Love He had for me no matter what. It is all-encompassing and amazing.

After the third time, my son ran to me open arms for a huge hug.  To see him run to me and reciprocate my love for him made all of it better. I pray he is smarter than me and learns from each mistake to realize more of God’s beautiful plan for Him.  I pray the same for all of us.

Being Freed

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”

I had a beautiful bouncing baby last year.  She is the cutest, most sweet natured creature on this planet (very much unlike her sassy momma)!

There is nothing more joyful than the time nearing having a baby and its arrival.  This was my second, and I remember thinking life was perfect when my first came.  Work was great, we were ready and things were so exciting.

About two weeks before she came, I got a call.  She was fine, so trust me, I understand this is not a life or death issue before reading on. No comments about how I have first world problems, because I totally do! The call was from my biz partner.  We had a great few years, but this call was to let me know we were facing a precipice if things didn’t start to look up- that we were nearing the edge of a cliff.  Everything we had stock piled and stashed aside for growth and development was being drained out for operations and survival mode.

This, friends, is a big deal, because $$$ is where my anxiety lives. I had the rug pulled out from me in my teen years by a divorce and now, any time there is a financial risk, I assumer the worst and the fetal position at the same time. I am that girl who could base jump off a freaking cliff but ask me to look at the big picture of how much is coming and going, and I’d sooner base jump off that cliff without the parachute.

All of the sudden, all I could see was not the joy ahead, but the struggle, the unrelenting fear of a future.  Satan turned up the heat, too.  I was distraught, crying all the time (on top of the baby hormones).  Then I was angry.  Why was this special time being taken from me- ruined by the emotional and financial hardship?!  How could God allow this?

I wanted out and away fast, but God used everyone around me, including my husband to tell me that I wasn’t called to leave.  Every time I wanted to give up, I would see a verse or here the wisdom from someone else’s lips that I was made for more.

Philippians 3:13-14 “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The truth is, I kept wanting to believe God wanted me to quit, to walk away, but He wanted me healed.  He allowed things to burn, so that I could feel the fire and realize it wasn’t as hot as I thought, and that I would survive that most fearful and anxious place and be freed of it.  We’re still recovering, but we are moving forward.  God is showing me day by day to fight harder for bigger and better opportunities to work and serve Him, and I have never had so many ministry opportunities (what I always wanted) since I’ve walked through it.

The most beautiful part of this is, however, that He is freeing me through every trial.  I never understood the full scope of His work until I have walked this journey.  I still don’t complete understand and my faith still falters, but He told me very clearly He would deliver me, though every step would be a miracle to ensure He received the glory.  He is delivering on every count.

My daughter is getting the mommy she wouldn’t have had without this either.  Many years ago, a part of my joy was stolen.  He is restoring me through this, and ensure my sweet baby girl doesn’t have to live with her momma’s fears on her delicate shoulders.  She will stand tall and fearless and captivating in truth that she is a beautiful child of God.

If you’re feeling cheated or broken or anxious. pray that God will sooner reveal His plan for you and what He is teaching you or others through you right now.  The most wonderful things are created through the hardest processes.

 

Persevering

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Life ain’t easy.  Sometimes this redhead could just lose it!  In those moments, after I’ve googled available homes in the islands and asked my husband what international transfers his company may offer, a verse like this slaps me back into reality.

The hard times have a purpose.

I can remember every time I’ve been on my face crying out to God, and the way He came around me in each of those moments.  You know those moments, the moments that you later say, gave you a “testimony.”

The thing about this verse though, is not that God merely wants us to survive.  He is molding us.  James 1:4 tells us that He will use those times to make us something better.

If you are struggling right now, remember, you are being molded not merely put through something for His amusement.  You will pray through, and you will come out on the other side with bigger faith, stronger, faster, and more on fire for Him than ever before.

You’ve got this.