Back to the grind....

Life happens....in the blink of an eye, my life became engrossed in laundry, play dates, soccer practice, AWANA sections and more laundry....and things that were dear to me.....fell to the wayside.

I didn't mean to abandon my blog....or my Bible...or a slew of other things, but it happened. So here I am intentionally trying.....trying to focus on things that are important to me...that fill me up. Reading Scripture....and writing on a keyboard.

So let's dive in.....

First, I came across this book on some post of something from another blog and discovered Jen Hatmaker's A Modern Girl's  Guide to Bible Study. If you haven't picked it up and read it, you should. It's awesome. And when I mean awesome, I'm saying I started the book and it was like a sucker punch to the gut. The truth of her words hit me, and it was hard. And what was worse than the words of her book......she tells you that everything she has to say is kinda irrelevant if you're not reading the words out of HIS book......and then she points you toward Scripture. OUCH. 

I've gotten into the habit of reading a "Bible study" book written by one of the many Christian writers out there and would call it a day. Failing to stomp through the pages of Scripture digging for truth. Let's be real for a moment....it's easier that way. It's so much easier to just read something from some blog or email devotional and mark something off my "to-do" list claiming I've heard the Word of God for the day than it is to open my Bible, read His Words and be still. (I am in no way saying it's not a good thing to read your email devotionals or anything like that! Just that I was using a quick scan of a story about someone's life as my spiritual food, and maybe it wasn't the food I needed.)

So this book, and my Bible have been staring at me for days on my computer desk....my computer too. It's be taunting me all week. I knew if I came to them, I would be forced to have to sit and listen, and then not just listen, but respond. I finally put my "big girl panties on" and opened up where I left off. James, chapter one, verse five. I had only to get to verse 12 for the day, but man was that enough.

Verse 5 did me in. "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." 

UGHHHHH. Right where I am at. Struggling with how to parent my oldest little. Struggling through the battle of teaching obedience, yet not wanting to teach because of fear, but because of submission. In the grit and grime of learning to read, shaping his attitude and molding his heart to love Jesus. This mothering gig is HARD WORK! Some days I feel the frustration oozing out of me and it get directed toward them simply by default of the kids being the only ones present. And the irony is, the frustration stems from my own irritation with myself for not knowing what to do with these little humans I am an entrusted with. WISDOM. Oh, I need it. I need lots of it. And so many times I head to the wrong places to find it. Blogs on parenting, a new child psychologist on t.v., a book on raising children. All good things, but I keep skipping past the best book. WHY? Why do I do this?

Again, my heart tells me because everything else feels "easy" to me. But coming before God makes me have to lay my sin down. That I screwed up with my kid about something insignificant, or that I said something unkind to my man, or any of the number of sins I can commit in a day. Reading a blog doesn't make me stare at my need, it gives me a false sense of control or power. If I would just do ..... then I would have the kid I want. Jesus is telling me something different. I have to give my heart and entrust the heart of my sons to Him.

This daily dying to myself is hard work......and having to lay my motherhood down at the cross, well that seems even harder.

Today it was 7 verses. Nothing huge, not some long chapter on lineage or law. Just one verse I needed to hear. "you should ask God," So tonight, in my stillness I am asking for His wisdom. On how to reach my son's heart. How to handle my toddler's tantrums, how to lead them to His heart. Because I know HIS heart is good toward us.


I'm afraid

I'm afraid.

I'm afraid. And rather than hide the fear, I am confronting it.

I'm not afraid about God not being good. I am afraid that what He deems as good, won't "feel" good.

I'm afraid of the storm. The unknown, the unsettled and the unexpected. I'm afraid of more dreams dashed, more hopes left forgotten, and more unknowing. It's a control issue. Can you tell how screwed up my control issue is. Even in the knowing I have no control, I want control of my fear.

In the storm with the disciples, Jesus asked why they were afraid???? They had Him with them. Yet they were still scared. I have Him with me. I shouldn't be scared. Yet I am. Am I really letting His presence be enough? Or am I crowding Him out??

I know in this whole house selling/moving/buying situation, there is almost nothing in my control over. I don't control the prices, the banks, the financing, the buyers, or other sellers.

Every home we've wanted has sold before we've had a chance to see it, bid on it, or sign names on papers.

I'm afraid. Not that I won't have a roof over my head, but that in this case, that I will really have absolutely no control.

Fear creeps in, like a "thief in the night," and surrounds my heart more times than I care to list. Moments of hope seem to be vapors and then disappointment comes like a pounding wave.

And really? I'm asking for something that most people would never even dream to ask for. So much more than millions of people. I'm not entitled it, owed it, or anything. Yet I feel as if I am. How messed up is that???

So my expectations have lead to frustration, which leads to fear and apprehension. My heart want to build walls up against God. To scream at him, "What are you doing?" "Is it too much to ask for a little help here?" "Where are you?" "Why won't you just tell me what to do?"

I'll do it. Or will I? Will I really walk the road ahead of me, if He tells me what it is? Is the unknowing for my good?

In my Bible study today I read, "We're often intimidated in battle because we are uncertain of our faith. We must remember we don't stand in victory because of our faith. We stand in victory because of our God." (Beth Moore's David Study)

Battle sucks. Nothing pretty about it. Bloody and brutal. I'm not even fighting a real war, but my heart sure feels broken, bleeding and deserted on the battlefield. And I am reminded just now, that our fight is "not against the physical, but against the spiritual." 

I want to quit trusting. I want to throw up my hands in surrender and say screw it all, let me figure out a plan on my own. But I've been that road before and this time I know I don't have answers and I can't make things work.

I want my home to be one where I can walk in the door and know it has been bestowed as a loving gift from God. That we have it because of His great hand and not our own works.

I'm not ready to quit fighting. My heart is on the line this time, not just a home or a bank account. I need God to come through. I need to see Him work, His hand guiding our lives. I won't leave until He does something big.


Good bye 2!

Tonight I say good bye to the terrifically, terrible, twos for my second child. The days seem forever long and tedious, yet I feel as if I blink and another year escapes my grasp. 
How is it that tomorrow marks three years of this precious life? This ever moving, sweet speaking, snuggle up beside me little boy. His strawberry gold hair across his face while he sleeps reminds me of sweet snuggles as a newborn baby. His big green eyes bring all the hope and goodness of this world into light for me. 
I sit here, his sweet body sleeping on the sofa behind me. His little legs strewn beneath the cover of a blanket and I am in awe. In complete humble wonder that the Creator of life would bless me with the honor of being this sweet boy's mother. It is a task I am often a failure at, but so grateful for the grace and mercy of every day with him. 
Happy last day of being two my sweet Liam. You are so incredibly special to my heart.


Full Court Press

Today is tough. Blow after blow. The mallet of the enemy is heavy and each blow burns.

I cried. Body shaking, tear dripping cries. The first time in a long time. I cried, and then asked why.
Why now, why again, really? Another attack? Is this testing or trial?

All He gave me was silence. But I'm not scared of the silence anymore. I'm not scared that God won't answer, or won't show up.

I am mad.

Just plain mad. Mad that people cheat, steal and lie. Mad that sin has a consequence that hurts and disables. Mad that the sin of a stranger can and does so profoundly impact my life. Mad that the enemy thinks he has the right to try and hurt me.

And then part of me laughs inside. If the enemy is throwing darts my way, I must be doing something right. If he's trying to get me to go back to the sidelines then it's time I put on a full court press.

So I cry. I let the silence envelop me. Cause in the silence I know it's not the Father hiding His voice from me, but rather just letting me vent my emotion. Holding me close, like I would my children, and letting the tears fall. And when the sobbing stops, when the frustration leads to anger, it leads me to my Bible.

The words, HIS words, right there in black and white.

"when my heart is over whelmed, lead me to the Rock that is HIGHER than I" 

"Come away with me a while and rest"

"vengeance is mine," says the LORD. 

"you need just be still, the LORD has gone before you to fight the battle" 

His promises. The Word of the MOST HIGH GOD. The struggles in this flesh are many. I so greatly struggle some days to understand those words. But not today. Today the words are water to my dry and thirsty soul. Healing words to wash away the sting of the enemy. And today I understand, fully and truly, maybe for the first time.

There is power in His words. Game on.



New Years Eve....we're 365 days done with 2013! In a few hours I'll go get dressed up, drop kids off with in laws, go to dinner with friends and ring in 2014 with my man. And with all the folks on social media shouting blessings and happiness over the upcoming year, I can help but think back to the year we just completed. What was learned? Was time lost? Did I utilize my gifts and resources? Did my year in review make God smile?

I sure hope He smiles on me. I want to live a life that makes it so.

So below are my top 13 of 2013:

1. Tim took on some big responsibilites at church being on the elder's team. To sit and advise our pastor about the going ons of a church, be a spiritual check, and encourager to a man who has to shepherd over hundreds of lives each week is no small task. That Steve would ask my man to be on that spoke volumes. Changes the way I pray over him to.

2. I have intimately learned the powerful force of praying over my man, my babies, our home, business, finances, well everything. God has been gently and ever so faithfully teaching me His strength through prayer. I started last January going through The Power of a Praying Wife and found it started the year out on a different level when I covered my man, my home, my family and my life in prayer.

3. I was diagnosed with and treated 3 different areas of skin cancer on my face. Crazy that this would be a highlight to my year. I know. Weird....but the truth is that the scars will never disappear. Each time I look in the mirror I see them. And I've learned that the scars are my story. Cause as much pain and struggle as each situation took to endure, I grew so much. I learned the power of beauty is more in the heart than the skin, that the strength of ones' friends and family can guide you through pain, and that at the end of the day, to give thanks for the "ugly beautiful."

4. I counted gifts.....and counted and counted and counted. I learned the power of seeing everything as a gift and how the miracle of this life lies in the thanksgiving of our gifts.

5. My biggest little started Kindergarten!!! Huge milestone in our home :) It was wonderful, terrible and amazing to walk him into his classroom the first day. My breath held, eyes misty, and wanting so much to scoop him up like the 8 pound baby he used to be, as he just let go of my hand and walked to his seat with a smile of excitement on his face. It was amazing to see this tiny little man child have the courage to go in, no tears or apprehension, and do his thing.

6. My littlest little survived his first year of life in this crazy world of boy :) Linc adds such a wonderful blend of happiness, stubbornness, creativity, and smile to the family dynamic. With this first year we survived bunking boys together, sleep training, teething, a full year of nursing, crawling and almost walking.

7. My middle little went through the transitions and changes of baby to middle child wonderfully. He is so flexible in going from playing the little brother role, to being the big brother. He sure has stolen my heart and I am very confident he will never give it back. He also conquered the challenge of potty training!!! Some days were quite hairy :) But we pressed on and having only one diapered child in this home is wonderful.

8. I got to spend a lot more time this year with my parents. Having them live close to us is a wonderful blessing. Some days it was a challenge, but all in all it was wonderful. It is amazing to see my dad and the big boys play and learn together. Mom is head over heals in love with little guy, and it's nice that she was able to experience life with him through all the different stages of baby growth, especially since she missed it with the older two.

9. I have really plugged in with an amazing group of women through our morning Bible study group. For the first time in many years I am building relationships with women and more than anything it is safe.

10. I have finally felt like I am making this stay at home mom gig mine. I have routines, I know what I can and can't accomplish in a day, I feel productive and the new normal is working well for my family.

11. My man and I have had a pretty steady year. Some years are hard on marriage, and we were prepared for some challenges as we have faced years with small new babies, but this year hasn't been the struggle we prepared for. Our home life group really grew and we have 5 other really awesome couples who choose to come each week and the time spent has just been really wonderful.

12. Our family's business has been more prosperous this year. Business is starting to pick up, clients are coming by, and there is hope with business for the first time in several years. It has been encouraging and refreshing. And with that, hubby took on some extra side work here and there which is helping to pay off some debts and medical bills.

13. I had my 30th birthday!!!! And with that, I feel like ending this year I am learning to listen to the small whisper of God's voice. I've been able to address some ugly truths about my self and who I really want to become. It's never easy to have to face things you don't like, but the freedom and hope in trusting Jesus to make you whole and like him is wonderful.


Thanksgiving 2013

Hope this Thanksgiving was filled with joy.....thankfulness....and gratitude.....for the good moments in life, like the smiles and giggles, and the hard moments in life like the pain and the tears. Cause each struggle makes the smiles so much sweeter and each giggle makes the pain of life more tolerable, knowing that joy is just around the corner. 

In my world of potty training mistakes, sticky fingers, goopy tempera paint, boogies on chairs and squished bugs in unknown places :) I am reminded so often how much there is to be grateful for. 

God is always good....and I am always loved. 

Happy Thanksgiving!


Family Photos....Take 1

I LOVE pictures! I take a ton, want a ton taken of us, (especially my boys), and love looking through them over the years. So when we schedule family photos.....it causes me stress. I want them perfect, I want my hair right, the boys to coordinate, the littles to be smile, the big to grin and I want that perfect, Pinterest worthy shot.....so when we pulled up onto the site where we were going to do our family pictures, I knew it was going to be a bust....

20 mins late for a sunset photo shoot. Crud, there goes the lighting....over the horizon!!!! 

With a cranky big who had a long day at school......

Two littles who wrinkled and crinkled their shirts.....

A hubby who hadn't tried on his shirt in so long it had shrunk.....

Outfits that were picked because we had just had a cold snap.....then on picture night the temp rose 10 degrees! 

Big one who saw friends inside the house and wanted to go play....

Rogue neighbor dog who tackled the littlest and caused screaming and more tears....

Tears.....coming unglued....disaster! Thank goodness we have an amazing photographer who smiled, laughed, and gave me hug....and was still able to shoot some beautiful pictures.....and said to me, we will try again next month :)

Pinterest worthy pictures just aren't my life....my life is messy, and stinky, and crinkled up with tears running down cheeks and sweat on brows. And snapping one perfect photo doesn't capture this idea of a perfect family that I want to have.....we are so far from perfect. Unless you include a perfect mess :) 

We're complicated, and late, and messy, and all over the place.....but we're real, and together, and what makes us perfect for each other isn't that we can take a picture together and frame it up for people to ohh over....we're perfect for each other because we're all we've got. God put us together and we've got to make it through this messy life together. One day at a time...one moment at a time....one picture at a time.....cause every single shot matters....perfect or not.

Last one may be my favorite......