Do you want to know what one of my most favorite things in the whole entire world is? It is watching God’s plans unfold right before my eyes, in the smallest of moments to the grandest. It is amazing to see His hand in our lives and watch Him work!
Getting to say; God did that. That was all Him. You can thank God for that. That was totally God. That had Jesus written all over it. That was an answered prayer right there! are truly some of my happiest moments and fill my heart with tremendous joy every single time that it happens. Which is often, and happens more and more every day, the closer I get to Him!
I’m not sure if I have shared this with you before, but one of my biggest struggles has been letting go and letting God. I have an overwhelming need to be in control, at all times, in every situation or I get intense anxiety or frankly just really upset that it’s not “going my way”. That is not an easy thing to admit, but it’s just a part of being human I think, and I have learned to accept it and grow from it and even slowly to relinquish that control, to Him. In doing so, I am seeing God’s hand more in more in my life, because I am stepping out of His way, finally.
It is incredible what God can and will do for you if you just step out of His way and let Him be God. Being able to step aside and have something amazing happen in your life and know that it was God who did that, is the greatest feeling in the world, and it can only happen if you let Him.
There have been multiple occasions over the past couple of weeks that I have seen his perfect work come together in my life. Every time I experience something like this, I get an overwhelming sense of peace; because I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what God designed me to do, walking in perfect sync with His will just as He would have me do.
It’s like a puzzle, every time you find that piece that fits, which for me are those moments that I get to say “that was you God”, you are getting closer to finishing it and seeing the beautiful picture that has been created!
It is not always an easy thing to do and it is a choice I have to make daily, to surrender to His will and not my own. Being human, we have this need to know what is going to happen next and what the outcome is going to be before we put our foot in front of the other and take that first step. But with God, you do not know and you cannot see it, until it happens. You have to trust Him and fully rely on Him and His sovereignty, that everything He does in this world He puts together for your good. That even though you cannot see the first step you have to trust that rest of the stairs are there, through blind faith.
It sounds incredibly scary when you think about it and in your case when you read it in black and white, and it can be. But every time you do it, it gets a little bit easier and a little more exciting and a little more real until you aren’t even thinking about whether or not you trust God anymore, but instead are trying to remember to put the car on autopilot and let go of the wheel.
I have an incredible example that I want to share with you all on this very thing. Yesterday I was the only one in our office holding down the fort because everyone else was out of town or out in the field. Normally this isn’t so bad, but we have a lot going on this week and there were many things that needed to be taken care of and made sure that ran smoothly. Needless to say, I became overwhelmed by mid-day, and by the time I was supposed to take lunch to my sister at her school, I was totally frazzled and unfortunately unable to enjoy my date with her because I was trying to calm my nerves (in a school full of teenage children, ha!).
Before I walked into her school I was sitting in my car and I took a deep breath and said “Jesus, please still my heart. Yes, steal it and still it and help me find peace in this moment”. By the time lunch was over I was much calmer, but still a little frazzled and on edge. When I got back to the office I checked the notifications on my phone to see a woman had commented on an article I wrote a couple of weeks back. She wrote and I quote, “As I was reading I felt God prompting me to tell you that as someone who has made it through your season of life, and has learned from many mistakes, we need to be intentional about making room for margin in our lives so we can have time to just be still, breathe and rest in His presence.” She wrote that at the exact moment that I prayed to God for that very thing! How cool is that?! He not only heard my prayers, but He chose to tell me through someone I do not even know, I hear you baby girl, you can find rest in my arms, just be still.
God is so good y’all. He truly finds you in the darkness and pulls you back together, if you let Him. He’s a loving God, who gave us free will, to choose Him. He is not going to force Himself upon you or force you to love Him because that’s just not nice and it’s not in his character and it’s not who He is. He is a good God, a good father and if you do not know Him, you are missing out.
Nothing really crazy happened to make it that way, yet I was dying every single day from not feeling completely like myself and from feeling like I had so much to do and not enough time to do it. It is crazy because I actually got to stay home three nights in a row without running around like a crazy woman going to practices and the grocery store and to bible study and trying to find the time to get my homework turned in somehow. Yet even with my surprise break that never happens, I was exhausted. Granted hormones played a part in it, but the timing had nothing to do with it.
Life was kicking my butt and all I could do was lie down and take it, which was not my finest moment.
Yesterday I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a fellow mom talking about how crazy her life was and how inadequate she felt with all the chaos going on around her. She has six kids who range in ages from three to eighteen and they all are involved in various activities as well as go to school and of course, just kind of exist and need to be taken care of because they are unable to take care of themselves on their own. In addition to motherhood, she runs her own business (two actually) and is the wife to a husband who owns his own as well. They have a beautiful home, their kids are smart and kind and well taken care of, and you can tell that through all the crazy they are pretty happy with their lives and she is doing a great job at simply being a mom and a loving wife.
There was another post that I saw later on from a different mother who was heartbroken over people giving her a hard time over her son’s behavior, who is three, and essentially behaving like any three-year-old boy. Their words were like knives and were ultimately making her feel like she was doing something wrong as a mother. Even though her son is gorgeous and well-mannered and loved so much by her and everyone who has ever met him and is happy and healthy and being raised to love the Lord, which if you asked me, is as good as it gets! She was still made to feel less than, and it hurt.
This morning I was updating my calendar because I signed up to take snacks for my son’s tee-ball team twice this season. I then took that time to add his Easter party at school and the trip I will soon be taking out of state to see my best friend to do a little wedding planning. As I was looking at my calendar I started to get a little bit of anxiety and wondering how in the world I was ever going to be able to do it all. In addition to the items that I added to my calendar, I already had many meetings for our mission trip team scheduled, conference calls at work, baseball games, Easter, birthday parties, assignments due and barely any white space for breathing room in-between.
Right as I was driving into work this morning the song priceless came on the radio. I hadn’t heard it in a while and the lyrics popped out at me. It was God. He was opening my ears to listen because I needed to hear it and because I needed to share it with others who needed to hear it too.
Mirror, mirror, mirror on the wall. Tellin’ those lies, pointing out your flaws, this isn’t who you are.
It might be hard to hear, but let me tell you, dear. If you could see what I see, I know you would believe this isn’t who you are, there’s more to who you are.
No matter what you have heard, this is what you are worth, you are more than all the money or diamonds and the pearls. Oh, this is who you are. There’s more to who you are.
I see you dressed in white, every wrong made right. I see a rose in bloom, at the sight of you. You are irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable, darling you are beautiful. I see it all in you, oh so priceless.
He’s talking to you moms. God loves you so much and thinks that you are superwoman, truly. He made you to take on the world and whatever life might throw your way. He made you strong and beautiful and brave and worthy. He made you to be gentle and kind. He made you to be the safe place for your children and their bravest fighter from all that is wrong in their world. He made you smart so you could juggle a million things at once without skipping a beat. He made you resilient so you could get back up when life knocks you down. He made you fearless in the face of danger or anything that could harm the ones you love. He made you perfect, in his image. He made you.
For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, in your book, was written every one of the days that were formed for me, before they ever happened. Psalm 139:13-16
You are perfect in every way. God doesn’t make mistakes, only masterpieces.
Just remember, when life gets rough and knocks you down by busy schedules, scary full calendars, or mean words from others. Dust yourself off, get back up again, and remember who you are. You are priceless.
Last year, God decided He was going to shake my world up in ways that I could have never expected. In December of 2015 I answered the call to join the Jamaica Mission Team for 2016 (JAM Team)! In six short months God was going to prepare us spiritually, mentally, physically and through all of our other needs to travel to Harmons Jamaica and spend a week doing whatever it is that He asked us to do. Spreading His love through building relationships and changing lives forever (especially my own).
Over the next six months God really did a number on my heart. My relationship grew with Him in leaps and bounds and my trust and faith in Him and all that He is was greater than I had ever known, I was over the moon and ready to take on the world! But I would settle for a week in Jamaica! During those months we had to raise the money that we would need for the trip as well as donations that we would be taking with us. Including plane tickets, airport fees, passport fees (since I had never been out of the country before), trip insurance, food while we were there, things we would need to “survive” while we were, as well as the money that is used to help employee the people we would be working alongside during that week. I honestly do not remember exactly how the money came or when it did, I just know that God provided every cent of my needs and I never had to think twice about where it would come from or if I would have enough to go. I trusted Him completely and He provided all of my needs!
As the days grew closer to us leaving, our team gathered together a few more times to square away the details and just get in some good bonding time. Then a few days before we left we took all of the donations that we had gathered over the last six months and packed them in two 50lb suite cases (twenty in total). Once this was done we were ready to go and just two short days after that we gathered at our church at four in the morning to load up and head out! We were on our way!!
As I stated before, this was my first time out of the country which was a big deal for me! It was also my first time on a plane, which was another huge deal for me! As well as my first time on a mission trip and my first time seeing the ocean! The whole entire trip was filled with first for me and I was so excited and so ready to experience them all!! Ain’t God good!
It is really hard to describe all of the feelings that came with this journey. But I was super glad that I was getting to share it all with my sister, Katie. Not that I was unable to go on my own, but having her there with me made it easier for sure. Plus, who wouldn’t want to experience such awesome stuff with their sister!! The plane ride wasn’t as bad as I expected, I mostly tried to ignore the fact that I was on a plane and had no way to escape to until it landed again. It was only a two-hour flight, which was awesome and coming into Jamaica was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen! The second they opened those doors we knew we were in Jamaica, the humidity hit you in the face and you realized, this is the air that I will be breathing for the next week, Jamaican air baby!!
We had a little mishap when we got to customs, because we were in a large group and because we were each bringing in 100lbs of goods that we didn’t plan on taking back home with us. But just like anything else in our lives, God took care of it for us! Instead of searching us like they were supposed to, they did a once over through each bag and sent us on our way! We were free!
It took us 3 ½ hours to get to Harmons from Mobay (Montego Bay). We had prepared ourselves for one of the worst rides of our lives going up into the mountains (from stories we had heard from other’s who had previously been on this trip), but we ended up taking the toll roads (which wasn’t so bad) until we go to the mountains and then experienced the scariest ride ever at nighttime up a mountain on the opposite side of the road going 80 miles an hour (I might be exaggerating it a little bit, but I am not too far off). Once we finally made it to the Harmony House we were greeted by the summer staff who we would be spending the next week with and unknowingly falling in love with before it was all said and done.
It was 9 o’clock at night and we had just spent the last sixteen hours traveling, so of course taking a picture was the way to go and unpacking all of our things to get ready for the week ahead of us! Yet none of that really mattered because as far as I was concerned, I was home!
Over the next week I got to spend every moment with God, literally, from the time I woke up until I closed my eyes at night I felt like I was walking hand in hand with God and experiencing the most peaceful week that I had ever known before. I was up on the mountain with God and I never wanted to come back down! I know you are probably wondering why it’s not like that for me every day, here at home. The answer is; it is. God neverever leaves my side. But we have so many distractions here that make it hard to focus on Him like I need/want to and I have to struggle every day to keep my eyes on Him and Him alone. But, it is so worth it and I will live every day doing just that!
I’ll try to summarize the week as best as I can for you…
Day Two (first workday):
We went on a walkbout (a walk about) around the neighborhood and we got to meet Gonga!
I spent the day with the house ladies sorting through the clothes that we brought getting them ready to go into the Harmony House Store!
Then that evening we had a party at Son’s which was so much fun! I got to meet so many amazing people that day, and I cannot wait to see them again this year!
Day Three (second workday):
We built a foundation! You guys! It may sound silly to you, but this was the coolest thing ever! Literally from the ground up we put in the rocks and dirt and concrete that began the foundation of the home that someone would soon get to live in. Priceless.
On this day I saw a million different fruit trees; star wrapper, jack fruit, kens berry, tangerine, mango, avocado, (which is a pear to the U.S) and oranges (truly my favorite thing about Jamaica!)
Day Four (third workday):
My sister and I got to go to the greenhouses. I spent half of the day with Maxine pruning tomato plants and just talking about life. It was amazing how much we had in common, but more amazing to see how much she loves God! She really touched my heart that day.
Later that day we went to the infirmary in Maypen. The infirmary is like a nursing home/orphanage where people go when they do not have anywhere else to go and they can’t survive on their own. It was a humbling experience, to say the least. My most favorite part was getting to meet Ms. Mary Patrick and listen to her quote entire books of the Bible without skipping a beat!
That evening we had a party at the crawl and enjoyed some relaxation in the community dancing the night away!
Day Five (fourth workday):
I got to meet the girls and get my hair braided! The entire week the rest of the team had been on their land building their new homes, and in another day we would get to dedicate them. I fell in love with this family and am blessed to still be in contact with them today! I hope I get to see them when we go back this year!
Day Six (home dedication):
That morning we got to dedicate the completed homes to the two families that we were helping that week. It is really hard to explain what it feels like to hand the keys to a family and know that they will now have a roof over their head for years to come! It was a blessing to get to experience that and I am so thankful God allowed me to!
This was our last day in Harmons, bitter sweet for sure.
We spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out; climbing mountains, playing soccer, getting our hair braided and nails done and some of our team even got some awesome designs cut into their hair!
Climbing the mountain was amazing. The absolute hardest thing I have ever physically done. But so rewarding!!
That night we had one last party with the community before saying our goodbyes and getting ready to leave in the morning. Best night ever.
Day Seven (back to Mobay):
As much as any “normal” person would look forward to the part where you spend the day on the beach, it was definitely the lowlight of my week. Amazing, in every way I’m not denying that. God really showed out when He created the ocean and all things in it. It was beautiful in every way and I could have stayed there forever, but it was nothing compared to the six days before in the mountains with Jesus.
That night we had one last hoorah with the team (and the team that was with us there all week from North Carolina…too much to tell about them all…but so much love and such great memories!!) The next morning we made our way back home.
Going to Harmons, Jamaica was truly one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. It is insanely crazy to think that it is just the beginning for what God has in store for me! It wasn’t just the seven days that I was gone either, but everything leading up to it and even the lessons I had to learn once I came home. Coming home was much harder than I expected it to be, coming back to the reality that we live in and hating the way that the world is, it was hard. It is still hard. But I am thankful to have a different perspective on life and the world and all the things in it.
I have so much more to learn and experience, I know that. But this experience will be one I never forget. We are going back to Harmons this summer with a different team and I am so stinking excited and grateful that God has called me to go again! I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am and how much I cannot wait to see everyone there!! God really showed up big last year, I can’t even fathom what He is going to do for us this year!! Keep me in your prayers, and my team that is going. We will definitely need each and everyone one of them. Thank you for taking the time to read this all the way through to the end. If you every really want to hear the details, I would be glad to share them with you! Plus I have more pictures 😉
Beautiful Southern Heart
p.s. The organization that we partner with on this trip is Won by One – check them out!
If you want to help donate for this year’s trip you can do so here (or click on the picture on my sidebar)
It’s spring time! You know what that means?! Baseball Season!! The most wonderful time of the year; when you are a baseball mom of course! For all you moms out there that are starting your first week of practices or already got a game or two under your belt, this is for you.
I am a second-year veteran tee-ball mom. I know you 10 – 12 moms are rolling your eyes right now because two years is nothing compared to the 5+ that you have under your belt. But before I was a tee-ball mom, I was a baseball and softball aunt. I did my fair share of running kids to practices multiple days a week and running between two games that are at the same time (sometimes in completely different locations) trying to cheer for both kids, staying as long as you can until one bats and then run back as fast as you can to the other game before the other one is on deck.
Baseball season can be grueling y’all.
Game on Monday, practice on Tuesday, church on Wednesday, game on Thursday, practice on Friday, Tournament on the weekend, all weekend.
You can forget about eating decent meals for the next three months (six if you make it to all-stars). Concession stand foods, take-out, sandwiches in the car or frozen meals in the microwave/oven minutes before it is time to hit the hay and do it all over again.
Let us not forget about uniforms. What are your team colors this year? Black and some other dark color, like royal blue or forest green? We got gray this year which is the ugly first cousin to white, which means that we will be washing those bad boys every day. Do not even get me started on white and the stains…oh, the stains…you might as well get you two or three pairs if you want to make it through the season.
Oh yeah word to the wise, all the other moms out there hate you this year. Keep that in mind when you get a crazy look from another mom right after a game that both of your kids just played in. You didn’t do anything wrong, she’s just thinking about how she is going to stay up all night making sure she gets the fresh grass stains our of what started out as pearly white pants (for the umpteenth time) while you get to go home and pop yours in the washer without a second thought and then go straight to bed, it’s not personal, but you suck.
It is super fun if you have children who are not even playing that year. Oh, you forgot you had other children? Yeah, the ones that you have to try to entertain and keep an eye on while simultaneously cheering on the one in the game. The one who is constantly asking you for one more dollar because the snow cone man is there. Sure, you feel lucky when they have other friends at the game that they can play with and thus be entertained without your help. Except, when you look up and notice how filthy they are because they just spent the last thirty minutes rolling down a dirt hill (that last inning was too intense to look away from, I know). Doesn’t make it suck any less when you are forced to give them a bath before they go to bed.
You have to give it to them, though. They are either not old enough to play yet or completely uninterested in doing so, but still tag along to every game excited as can be and usually without much trouble, eat crap for dinner for three months, getting less sleep at night, doing homework in a camping chair, lugging around chairs and bags and snacks for the team or simply sitting outside for hours on end in the blistering heat without any other choice and deciding to make the most of it. Well-deserved recognition for their efforts I’d say, be sure to thank them for it the next time you see them.
But somehow, through all the insanity, it truly is a wonderful time of the year.
There is nothing in the world like it. I know, it is little league baseball. But it is so dang exciting and so much fun to watch. The tee-ball years are the best and comical, to say the least. Digging holes in the outfield, chasing each other around to get the ball, dancing to the music in their head, trying to catch the pretty butterfly, hey look, mom, a plane! Then they move up to coach pitch and you really get to see their talents unfold, they are starting to get the hang of just how the game works, and by this time you are pretty clear on the type of player they will be in years to come and exactly what they need to work on in the off season to impress their coaches next year.
Once they move into kid pitch they have become “pros”, truly, experts on the way a season goes. Ready for their practices, the many different coaching styles, which players to look out for on other teams, what to expect day to day in the months to come, and when they play they come ready for whatever position they excel in most ready to hit the ball out of the park (because it’s going to happen this year).
Each year really does get a little bit sweeter and a little more exciting and a little closer to them growing up and playing in the “big leagues”.
There is nothing quite like being a baseball mom. It takes a lot of talent, yes talent, to get through the season with your sanity still intact. You are the chauffeur. The dry cleaner. The fast food girl. The teacher. The scorekeeper. The team mom. The friend. Heck, sometimes even the doctor. But most important you are their biggest fan, they know it, and they love you for it. When the season is over, a party is definitely needed to celebrate being alive and getting your life back. But you are also sad because you know there will be seven months separating you from the next game, the next practice, the next all weekend baseball tourney and all the crazy in between…and you will miss it.
Baseball really is the best time of the year, if you are a fellow baseball mom you know what I am talking about. Good luck, I’ll see you out there. Let’s play ball!
March Sixteenth Twenty Seventeen. I love this day, every year. I realize to most this day is just the sixteenth day of March. The seventy-fifth day in the year, seventy-sixth on a leap year. A normal day, this year a Thursday, probably someone’s birthday, but in general it is just March Sixteenth.
To me, it is so much more.
It is a reminder of something so beautiful, it is a reminder of love, it is a reminder of hope and peace and grace and all things good. It is a reminder that God, sent His son Jesus to earth to die for our sins and save me and anyone else who believes in him, from eternal death, and instead, gives eternal life with Him. Forever.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son so that anyone who believes in Him should never perish and have eternal life.
The greatest love story every written and that there ever was, and He did it for you.
You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down. My sin was great, but your love was greater and nothing can ever separate us now. –What a Beautiful Name
My heart swells every time I hear that name, the name of Jesus. Mere words cannot express the love and adoration I have for Him. How much He has changed my life and just how much He loves me, and you.
I know that you don’t understand the fullness of my love, how I died upon the cross for your sins. And I know that you don’t realize how much that I gave you, but I promise, I would do it all again. –Love Song
Death could not hold Him, the veil was torn before Him and uncovered for our sins. Nothing can separate us from Him or from every being with Him. Neither death or life, angels or demons, the present or the future, or any powers in between, can keep us from his love. Romans 8:38
If you do not know His love, you are missing out. It is yours for the taking and it is such a beautiful thing.
Today is International Women’s Day 2017. I am going to be honest with you I did not even know this day was a day, until today. But because it is and women everywhere are longing to feel appreciated, I just wanted to share some gems with you, to show you that you are and it should not take a day in March to show you that.
Every day that I am alive I feel special, I feel wanted, and I feel loved. Simply because I am a daughter of the One True King and He has chosen me to be His, for all eternity, and He has chosen you too. I know this because;
It is because of those things that I rejoice, daily. No matter what is going on in my life, where I am, what someone said to me, what someone has done to me, what I have done, or what I am going to do, Jesus loves me. Today, yesterday and forever! I am His daughter, His beloved, and am more precious to Him than a pearl. Nothing can beat that, ever.
Because God loves me so much and because I am His, I want to live my life in a way that honors Him and brings glory to His name! Which is why I strive daily to be a woman of virtue.
Proverbs 31: 10-31
Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies and pearls? The heart of her husband safely trusts in her and will have no lack of gain. She comforts him and encourages him and will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands in delight. She is like a merchants ship, abounding with treasures, where she brings food from far away.
She comforts him and encourages him and will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She rises while it is night and gives meat to her house and portions to her maids. She considers a field before she buys it, then with the fruit of the profits she plants a vineyard with her hands. She equips herself with strength and she makes her arms strong. She sees that her gain is good; her lamp does not go out but burns continuously through the night (prepared for whatever lies ahead). She lays her hands to the spindle and her hands to hold the distaff.
She opens and extends her hands to the poor, and she reaches out to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow, for her household is clothed in warm wool. She makes herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is linen, pure and fine, and purple. Her husband is known in the city gates and sits with the elders of the land. She makes fine linens to sell and delivers it to merchants.
Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure, she smiles at the future knowing that she and her family are prepared. She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to how things go in her household and does not stay idle. Her children rise up and call her blessed, and her husband praises her saying, “Many daughters have done nobly, and well, but you exceed them all!” Charm and grace are deceptive and beauty is vain. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised! Give her the products of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates of the city!
A virtuous woman encompasses;
The Bible is full of many great women that can teach you so much about God, who He is, and what He can and will do for YOU if you let him! Check them out;
Mary of Nazareth: Mother of Jesus – (Luke, John & Acts)
Ruth – The book of Ruth
Esther – The book of Esther
Eve – Genesis
Elizabeth: Mother of John the Baptist – (John & Matthew)
Rachel – Genesis
Hagar: An Abused Woman – (The Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)
Mary Magdalene – (The Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)
Martha: Mary’s Sister – (The Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)
Rebekah: Isaac’s Wife – Genesis
I do not know where you are today or what your life is like or how you feel about yourself or how you think others feel about you. But I do know this; there is a man that wants so badly to love you and you love Him back and give you the world if you would just accept Him and allow Him to; His name is Jesus. He can take away all of your pain, all of your tears, and give you healing, hope, joy, and a love like you have never known before! My hope is found in Him. My worth is found in Him. All that I am and ever want to be comes from Him. I love Him so!
Today is International Women’s Day for the world, but every day is women’s day when you belong to Jesus!
When is the last time you looked at your kids like really looked at them? If you are like me you are probably thinking, I look at my kids every day! But if you are also like me you know what I am saying when I ask you the question, when is the last time you looked at your kids, really looked at them?
I have had the opportunity to really look at my kids quite a few times in the last week or so, the first being when my oldest and I went out to eat after his baseball practice last Thursday, just him and me. He sat across the table from me, so little yet so much older than I remember him being, beautiful in every way, talking to me like a normal adult sitting across from me on a dinner date, except instead of an adult it was my five-year-old son. I honestly do not remember anything that he said to me during that dinner as horrible as that may sound, except for random chatter about how much he was starving as he shoved another chip into his mouth and how cold he was (because he left his jacket in the car even though I told him to bring it inside), all I could do was stare at him and admire him and think about how much I love him, so much.
He sat across the table from me, so little yet so much older than I remember him being, beautiful in every way, talking to me like a normal adult sitting across from me on a dinner date, except instead of an adult it was my five-year-old son.
The second opportunity was yesterday, I had to take my car to the shop to get new tires put on it because we were lucky enough to get a flat after driving through construction work on the railroad near our house. As sucky as that may have been, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend some more one on one time with my oldest in the waiting room as we waited for the car to be fixed. There was a pile of toys and books in the corner, and he chose to play with the toys first of course, so incredibly happy that he found the coolest toys ever (which I am sure were from McDonald’s) that were so entertaining to him because it was something he had never played with before and he was not having to share it with anyone else, especially his little brother.
I love watching his imagination, the silly things he comes up with as he plays, but mostly how his eyes sparkle while he does it and then how he looks at me to find enjoyment on my face from all the fun that he is having. After a couple of minutes, he picked up a book and decided he wanted to read to me. Side note; he just learned how to read this year and somewhere in the last month he went from struggling with sight words to reading 60 page Dr. Seuss books without a skip in his step. I enjoy listening to him read. But again, more than the words that he was reading to me, I noticed how magnificently beautiful he is, how long his eyelashes are, how he has little freckles all over his cheeks, his big beautiful blue eyes and how he has the cutest little smile that he will flash at me when I least expect it. This time I decided I had to take a picture and savor him, in that moment, forever.
The most recent opportunity that I was so incredibly blessed to have although I fought not to, was with my youngest son, last night as he lay in bed next to me as I was struggling to get him to go to bed. He was not supposed to be in bed with me, I originally put him to bed in his own room but fifteen minutes later it was extremely quiet in the house and I knew that he had not fallen asleep that fast so, I sent my husband to check on him and low and behold he had my brand new stick of deodorant in his bed and had smeared it all over himself, thus destroying the entire stick and making a terrible mess in his bed that he now could not sleep in. Perfect.
He smelt lovely, but I was less than thrilled. However, he won the battle and was now lying next to me smelling fresher than ever and so incredibly happy to be next to his momma in her bed where he wanted to be in the first place. I turned to look at him as I told him what a huge turd he was for doing that, and he proceeded to stroke my face and tell me how much he loved me. My heart melted right there. He pulls that card often, doing something that will get him in trouble, usually when he knows better not to and then pouring his love on me just when I am most upset with him. I would like to say that I am strong enough to resist him and continue to be mad at him in those moments. But I am not, and I do not stay that way. Instead, I just lay there while he strokes my face and gazes at me with so much love and admiration, just loving on me his favorite person in the world.
As I drove to work this morning, I was ruminating on these moments. Thanking God for blessing me and choosing me to be these two amazing little boys mama. Wondering how I got so lucky and then realizing God feels the same way about me, the exact same way, if not so much more than that. He is constantly in admiration for me and just looking down on me smiling no matter what it is I am doing, and in those moments where I mess up, which is often, he allows me to come to Him and say I am sorry and love on Him and He just soaks it up and loves me back with a love greater than anything I will ever know. He uses my boys more than anything to show me that, He is my daddy and I am His daughter and there is nothing I can ever do to change that.
I slept through my alarms this morning and apparently turned them off without noticing. I went to bed a little later than usual, which I am sure attributed to my tiredness, but the past few days and weeks have been overwhelming for me. The last two, in particular, have been the most draining. I hate when this happens to me, I have no control over it and it all boils down to my emotions.
I try really hard not to question God and why He made me the way that he did. In fact, especially when I do not understand it most, I attempt to appreciate the uniqueness that has been given to me and channel it towards Him and furthering His kingdom. The past few years have been the hardest in this area because my relationship with God has grown so deeply where He is stretching me and growing me as a person, in ways that I sometimes cannot keep up with or fully understand.
This past year I struggled with anxiety, really bad. Overwhelming anxiety that was so strong every day that even with medicine it was physically debilitating. Some days were better than others and some days I was so exhausted by it that I just wanted the day to end so I could go to sleep and be free from its burdens for a couple of hours, without interruption. The hardest part about it all was not being able to control it, not being able to pinpoint the cause of it so I could attempt to fix it or make it better.
My anxiety seems to stem from deep rooted emotions for things going on around me, most usually not even my own circumstances. I truly believe that God gave me a gift to be able to feel what others are feeling and be concerned for others when they need it the most. Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. This is something that I do, even when I am not trying to or honestly do not “want to” because I just do not feel up to it, yet it is a part of who I am and I cannot hide it or change it.
Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Towards the end of last year, my anxiety was peaking at an all-time high. With the upcoming presidential elections and all the hate and discord that happened during that time, to ongoing circumstances in my family that I could not change fix or heal, to everyday life with my children watching them grow before my eyes and all the wonderful activities that come with it. My anxiety medicine decided to just stop working one day and by mid-morning on each day that followed, I was usually having a full blown panic attack. Thankfully, through prayer and my favorite essential oils, I was able to get through those days and by the grace of God discovered a natural vitamin that took away my anxiety altogether, sweet relief.
That was in November and I can honestly say that I have been anxiety free since then, even through the madness of the holidays and all that comes with it. I was pretty chill during this time and able to get things done in a way that I had been neglecting for nearly a year straight. I was able to be in situations that in years past would have not been an easy feat for me. I have been doing things that I have always been incredibly scared to try, like leading a group of people in a bible study each week, cooking bacon for the first time in my life, or starting this blog.
You see, there is an overwhelming peace that comes with being keenly aware of your own emotions and those of others around you. There is also a sense of burden, confusion, and pain from not being able to separate it or turn it off. I am both humbled and honored that God would give me such a gift, and at times angry and tired and wish that He would just take it all away. But, I am thankful that I did not write my story or create the me that I am because I would miss it. I know God does not make mistakes and when He made me to care so much for others around me, He also gave me the tools that I would need to handle it and ultimately use it for good to bring glory to His name.
This past week, my anxiety returned. Not even remotely like it was before. But just enough to take my breath away, and drain me through utter exhaustion and bouts of confusion where I cannot think straight or do the things I need to do without struggling or taking twice as long to get it done. Although this week has been great in all aspects that pertain to me and my immediate family, it has not been so great for others around me; from the pain that they are enduring from loss of loved ones or the fear that comes with it once they have, to unforeseen circumstances added to an already stressful situation, it has been overwhelming.
“Blessed be the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corininthians 1:3-4
If you are still reading this, you are probably telling me; to stop. Mind your own business. You cannot let what is going on in other people’s lives affect you so much. It is not your problem so why are you letting it bother you. Get a grip. Focus on yourself and let other people worry about their own problems, you have enough of your own. Just pray about it, that’s all that you can do anyways.
Then I would tell you; I can’t. I was not made to. Oh trust me, I have tried. You try arguing with God and see if you win. Grow closer to God and see what he does to you. I have prayed about it and I will continue to, without ceasing, pleading with the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf when I do not have the strength or the words. Because that is all that I can do, and quite frankly, what I was called to do.
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18
Yeah, it sucks. But through prayer and trusting God, it will not last forever. I do not think my anxiety has returned and is here to stay, I just think that while I am dealing with some of the emotions going on around me I need to take my anxiety as a reminder to pray, hard, for those who really need it. The gift to love others so deeply that their sorrow becomes your sorrow and their joy becomes your joy is a beautiful blessing. Sometimes it is hard to cope with, especially in times of sorrow, but I think that’s why He allows us to feel their joy too, to remind us, that even though pain may come through the night joy will come in the morning.
Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life you can barely remember what life was like without them. That happened to me sixteen years ago when I met my best friend, who I am blessed to still have in my life today.
I never had any friends in my life, like the one’s I had when I was twelve. Stand by Me
We were eleven years old, it was the sixth grade, and we thought we were the coolest kids ever. We totally were not. When I look back at pictures of us then, I cannot help but laugh at our sense of style and remember our stinky teenage girl attitudes. We were inseparable then and I loved every moment I got to spend with her, even the moments when we were fighting and at each other’s throats, which happened more than I would like to admit. Every moment with her was an adventure and we made some really great memories. Middle school was an interesting time in our lives, one of the best, and I honestly have never had any friends later on in life like the ones I had when I was twelve.
Later into our teenage years, we got a little wild. We drove our mother’s crazy and we were rebellious in ways that make me scared now that I am a mother. But, we did it together and had so much fun doing it! If I had a chance to go back and change some of the insanely stupid choices that we made, I would not change one thing. Those memories helped mold us into the women we are today, which if you asked me, I would say are some pretty amazing people.
Into our later teenage years, we drifted apart, tried different things, and made new friends. We did not see each every day and sometimes would go months without talking to each other. This was a very different time in our lives where we were really trying to spread our wings and find ourselves. She was this free spirited fun loving girl that did not really care about what other people thought about her. She had ambition and studied really hard so she could graduate early and move on with her life. She was one of our only friends to have a job at fifteen and became one of the hardest workers I have ever met with a drive and love for life like I have never seen before. We were polar opposites. I cared about what everyone thought of me, I rarely threw caution to the wind and although I am proud to say I am a hard worker now, I really wasted some valuable time in my late teenage years.
The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart – Elizabeth Foley
They say opposites attract and in our case that could not have been truer. She has always been the yin to my yang, the left to my right, and gin to my tonic. There was a point when we were “really becoming ourselves” that I thought I might lose her. There was another time in our early twenties when I thought that I really had. But God had different plans for us, that I am so incredibly thankful for, which taught us that the most beautiful discovery true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.
Fast forward a couple of years and we both became moms. This is comical because she would swear to you that I said I would never have kids as long as I live (which is totally not true) and I would swear the same about her. But here we are, mid-twenties, two kids deep and loving every bit of it. I have two amazing little boys that complete me and all that I am, and she has two beautiful little girls that compliment every part of who she is.
I found my forever seven years ago and we have been happily married for nearly six. She found her forever four years ago and this coming October they will be starting their lives together as husband and wife, and I will proudly get to stand next to her. With tears I’m sure, but so much love and admiration for her and her soon to be that I could not have better hand-picked him myself, knowing her better than anyone else.
We live in two different states now and we get to see each other a couple of times a year if we are lucky. We try to talk to each other as much as we can and when life is not overwhelming us, sometimes that is every day. When I got her card in the mail asking me to be her Matron of Honor; I cried, because I’m a huge baby. But mostly because I am so incredibly happy for her, that she found someone who loves her so much and takes such amazing care of her, and because she still loves me today just as much as she did when we were eleven and wants me to stand next to her on the most important day of her life.
Most people do not get so lucky, to find their best friends when they are eleven and grow with them throughout life. But we did and it really is the coolest thing ever. This year will mark seventeen years with one of my most favorite people on the whole planet and I could not be more thankful to God for giving her to me!