Wednesday, August 3, 2016

In the Darkest Places of My Pain...

When You don't move the mountains I'm needing You to move...
When You don't part the waters I wish I could walk through...
-Lauren Daigle

In these last 5 months, God has used these lyrics to pull me through, to stand me back up, and to light the fire inside that gives me His hope and strength and renewed perspective. 

...Oh, these last 5 to even tackle that mountain of a tale...

They've been among the toughest I've ever known.  

I've seen and felt God change me so drastically amidst it all...for this, I am so grateful.

...But like it so often goes, if it had been up to me, 
I would've chosen a different way..
an easier achieve this change.  

I can't tell you how glad I am that He didn't leave it up to me..this is the better way..even if it hurts..

I am certainly no stranger to back troubles, but up until this past March, these troubles were so very fleeting, and I would often marvel to myself at how quickly I healed.

Then, this March happened...
                          and along with it, back pain so excruciating, 
it had me writhing in pain through that entire first night.  

Physical therapy was the obvious choice to my doctor, so I willingly went, trusting a bit too naively that this was the answer.  A side note for a moment here...if you ever find yourself in therapy, and an exercise they want you to do is hurting you, STOP...even if they tell you to push on through it, STOP.  Listen to your body and honor your body...You know it better than anyone else...If it feels wrong, don't do it!

For me, it felt wrong...
                              ...but I continued...
...and now I'm at a new place, receiving new treatments, but this time for my spine as well...  

But alas, I digress...

So, these last 5 months have been brutal, at times.

I have soared on hope and promising progress,  
and I have also plummeted in despair and discouragement 
as my back experienced yet another setback.  

One step forward two steps back,
                                                two steps forward, one step back...
...Was I really going anywhere at all?

Pain is never an easy thing...

Pain while you're running a household
                                               and trying to be with your you always have...

Pain while you long to run again and swim again and be active again...

Pain while you long so much for the life you use to live...
                                    ...the very same life you now realize you took for granted...

Yes, pain can be complete and utter agony.

It's scary...
                 When will it end?  
                                            What if it gets worse?  
                                                                                What if I'm always like this?  
What if it's because of something else...something more serious?

It's lonely...
          you watch people continue on with their lives (as they should)... you try to explain to them how you're feeling, 
all the while knowing that very few can completely understand..only try to... 

It's frustrating...
                    you look at your children you want so very much to pick up... you see your now cluttered home...and the bathrooms that don't get cleaned...and the laundry and dishes that don't get washed because it's so uncomfortable and often painful to do..

Yes, pain can be a very frightening, isolating, exasperatingly depressing thing to go through, and my heart goes out to each and everyone of you that are going through it.

But don't much as pain, indeed, can be these burdensome things, 
there is One Who is waiting to take these burdens 
from each and every one of us.

This One is Jesus.

And, will He heal you?  Absolutely!

But He also teaches us patience and faith... even when healing might not come right away...
not next week...
...or next month...
...or even next year!  

It might not even be something that comes on this side of Heaven, quite honestly, but it will come...and His timing will be perfect when it does...

Someday we will see it and understand and agree He had the best plan all along.

See, rather than heal us of our pain in the way we think we need it most, God is actively at work on things within us that we often cannot see...things that need His attention far more than we are able to understand just yet.

I know for a certainty that, although can be difficult for me to thank God in the middle of my pain,
He is doing a good work in me through this, and He will not stop until it is complete.  
It is within this that I find hope.

I may not get my healing for months or years or not until I am with my Sweet Lord in Heaven, but I will get it...and until then, I rest in the awesome comfort that He is doing something incredible in me right now.

In my weakest my deepest pain and discomfort, He is right there with me feeling it too and holding me and brushing my hair back with His hand, just like my mother did when I was a child.

And I know...I just know...that everything is going to be alright.

Won't you let Jesus be your hope and comfort today?  No matter what you may be going can't be done alone.  Let Him comfort you in your darkest places...He's longing to meet you there..if only you'll call on His Name.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hasty Parenting = Hurtful Parenting

The Lord is my passion...the Lord first, and then my family.

I want more than anything to please Him and to love my family the way He created me and entrusted me to do so.

And I try...I really, really try,
                      and I believe that quite often, I am right on the mark,
but tonight, I'm realizing that I'm so far from where and who I thought I was.

Instead of love and acceptance, I've served criticism and rejection...

Instead of showing a heart full of unconditional love, 
I've taught more of a works-based love.

I thought I was giving unconditional love, I really and truly did...but, true to the Lord, He has lifted the veil from my eyes and shown me that, while that may be what I strive for and even teach with my words, that is not what I've shown with my heart.

We are a family of five.  My husband works two jobs so that I can stay home with the kids.

He is tired.
                  I am tired.

There is a laundry list of items that never get crossed off the list (especially laundry)!
Some nights the kids are screaming, everybody needs me at once, my back is hurting...and I get controlling.

Instead of seeing life through their eyes, I see it through mine, and all I want to do is control what's happening.  They don't listen (because, well, they're kids and they're learning) and before I know it, I've said something I shouldn't have said.
No, I'm not calling them names or streaming out insults, but I am reacting so quickly in a negative way that I've made them feel poorly about themselves instead of good.
Oh, it could be son tonight, for example, used a hand towel to wipe out our disgusting sink and then hung it back up for us to use to wipe our hands with.  Instead of focusing on his helping heart, I'd already zeroed in on the gross hand towel now hanging for all to use.  I'm reacting to that and have let his well-intended deed feel more like an embarrassment for him.

It's things like that that I'm talking about.  
Things that happen so quickly, it's too late to take it back, 
no matter how many compliments I try to bathe it in afterwards.

I love my children so incredibly much, but I feel sometimes like all I do is mess up, and mess up, and mess up.

I am so thankful to God that I don't have to bear this burden of my own mistakes.

I am so thankful to God that He is easier on me than I am on my own children.  

I am so thankful to God for unconditional, perfect perfect love, 
and second and third and fourth chances....

...and I am especially thankful that He works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)...

....and though I may flail and falter as a mother, 
I am not messing them up...
because He will take these mistakes of mine and 
help to shape these three amazing children of HIS to His glory. 

Does that mean I should continue to react so quickly and, sadly, so harshly?

Certainly not!

But it does mean that I can go to God, thank Him for showing me the error of my ways, seek His forgiveness, and then try again.

Knowing that God will work His good amidst my mess, 
gives me the relief I need 
to free myself from this burden 
and be the mom these kids need me to be.

What about you?  What are your weak spots as a parent?  A sibling?  A child?  A friend?

Bring your weakness (and your guilt) to the Lord today.  He will work His perfection through our faults and give you the hope you need to try again...yet not of our own strength...but His, and His alone.

Dear Lord,
I have been such a fool for the way I have treated the ones You have given me to love the most after You.  I'm so sorry for being a stumbling block when I wanted to be a stepping stone...I'm so sorry for not loving unconditionally, but projecting a spirit of works-based love instead.  I'm so sorry for bringing anxiety instead of peace and acceptance and open love and warmth.  Please forgive me, Lord, for not being the parent You have created me to be.  Thank You, Lord, that I am a work in progress...for not leaving me here like this.  Thank You for Your compassion, for Your acceptance of me just like I am, even when I am hurting the very ones You have given me to protect and love and care for.  Please help me to be more like You, Lord.  Help me to love be quick to listen and slow to react and to speak.  Help the words and the actions I speak to be those of love, acceptance and encouragement.  I want so much for these kids to feel good when they are with me, and confident of who they are...I want them to know that I am here for them and that I love and accept and want for them in the very same way that You do for me.  Help me to be Your face and to be it so very well.  Help the way I live and love and act towards them to make them want to know You more than ever.  I love You, my Father.  Your will be done.  In Jesus' sweet Name, I pray.  Amen.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Graduation and Letting Go...

Just yesterday, my son graduated from elementary school.  

For those of you who have "been there", you know how emotional this can be...

For those who are heading in that direction with your own, I'd love to advise you to brace yourselves for your own grappling to understand how your baby is already moving up to middle school...or for the panic you might feel as you realize they're slipping away, further and further from those precious memories and moments you shared in those first years, realizing there is nothing you can do about it except to let them go...but in all honesty, there's no bracing for these things..and, to be honest, I don't think I would want to...not for something like this, because to brace myself would mean to hold back parts of my heart so I didn't feel the emotional pangs of letting go, and I don't ever want to do that.  This mama is all in, which also means that these past few weeks leading up to his ceremony were wrought with all kinds of emotions and tears.

I've already written him a couple life notes in this time, but in my heart calls another:


I'm so very proud of amazed by who you already are and who you're becoming...

I sure can't stop you from growing up, nor would I want to, but let me tell you that this all is so much harder than I ever dreamed and yet so worth it.

Every day, I let go a little more, as I should, but every day I also love you more than all the other days combined.

I can't wait to see all that you become...I can't wait to cheer for you in your successes and cheer you on when the successes aren't as forthcoming.  I have told you before, and I say it again:  You are my physical evidence of the Lord's gift undeserved but granted all the same.

Thank you for the honor of being your mother...thank you for the privilege of knowing your life the way you have let me...

Follow the Lord's it out at all costs...even, and especially when it feels like everyone around you is walking in the opposite direction.  Some of your closest friends may fall and turn...but you, my love...keep pressing onward and forward towards His Kingdom, and surround yourself with godly influences to help you along your way, guarding your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

I love you, Poppy...

Congratulations again on this new chapter in your life...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Tug....

I know He wants me writing...I think about it innumerable times each day...

....but I'm so busy....

Every morning I sit in my daughter's room while she is still asleep in mine...I draw the shades and look at the sky while I have my time with God....

And I tell Him...

"Whatever You want me to do Lord, I'll do it..."

...but you see, I'm so so tired...

Life truly is an amazing journey and I love the living and the loving and the busy days I spend with and for my children and husband, for my God, yet I am so so tired...  

I have found myself injured on and off for the better part of a year now, with the 9 months prior to that finding myself in the throes of pregnancy...I've loved being pregnant with my third and I've loved every newborn moment of this last year with my third and my other two beloveds 

..still, I am just so tired...

...and the being to the sleepless nights given by my precious smallest one, the being injured part has been laborious to all kicked up a notch this past March, and while I have certainly improved, I am still on the road to recovery and it has been hard...the discomfort constantly reminds me that I'm not wholly myself , and the sleepless nights coupled with this injury well, they're enough to test even the most hardcore among us...

And yet still I hear Him unmistakably, in my heart, telling me to write...

And so I am...

...not as quickly as He has nudged me, though I'd like to say I responded so...

...but I am I'm ready to hear what He's been waiting to say...

Speak, Lord...Your servant is listening...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Goodbye to Blogging

...Goodbye least, to how I've known it so far.  

Up until now, I've been writing for an audience..or one I was trying to attract anyways...after all, I started this whole thing in the hopes of making a buck or two.  My husband is the sole income provider in the home, and I was hoping to bring in enough that would keep him from a second job.

Somewhere in the midst of it all though, I'd say right around summer, priorities changed from post deadlines and social media to my kids and I just never looked back.

That isn't to say that those that do both have their priorities out of whack, it just means they were able to do it where I could not, and I'm alright with that!

So I'm changing my whole approach to blogging...I'm still going to do it, but I'm blogging for myself and for my kids with the stories I'll keep for them within the contents of this blog...

I'll post when I feel like it and not when my schedule says I should, and I'll just enjoy that I'm storing up memories for them rather than worrying about numbers and who's seen what of mine on social media...maybe this will be something I pursue later when my kids are in school, but I'm alright with it if it's not.

So, farewell audience writing, I'm turning a new page now.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Confronting Your Fears

Some pretty incredible things are going down over here in our household...things that I am not yet at liberty to speak of, but I assure you, I will.

These very same beautiful things, however, are obligating me to face  my deepest darkest fears.  Oh sure, we all have them to some degree or another.  For me, I'm usually quite able to tuck them away without really having to deal with them at all.  I've had it tucked away for so long, actually, that I really was unaware of the power I'd allowed it to have until recently.  Before I ever even lifted my head off the pillow, mornings had taken to greeting me with a sour cup of dread and anxiety.  Over and over I prayed, but nothing seemed to be reaching me.

But then...a verse....and the walls of fear that had started to close in on me began to crumble:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace 
as you trust Him; 
so that you will overflow with hope 
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13  

There's so much power in trusting much more than any power that fear could ever hold.

It is only when we trust Him that that the walls can begin to crumble...and like the morning sun finding it's way through the cracks in my blinds, I found that I was soon able to hear God more clearly:

Don't worry about whether what you fear will come to pass or not, 
you're too far ahead...
Look at what I'm telling you in My Word...
and trust Me to overcome your anxiety.  

What I had wanted was a solution and a promise, absolving me of my fear of the unknown, but what I gained was a deep trust that God will hold me in peace right here.  Right now. He will take care of me always, and I've no doubt or hesitation about it...not for one minute

Oh, I'm sure anxieties will come and go, but I know that my King will overcome every time.  I know that all He's looking for is my trust in Him, and He will supply me with all joy and peace...not some, not just a little, or even enough, but all.  That's huge, and it's His promise.

So I've traded in my anxiety, my deepest darkest fear, in favor of a conscious and deliberate focus and effort to trust in my Lord.

What about you?  What fears are crippling your life...keeping you away from what God wants to give to you?  

God promises to release you of this...and He's the only one that could ever make good on such a gift.

Give Him your trust and attention, 
and just see how He, in turn, speaks to you.

photo credit: Achint Thomas via photopin cc

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome Back, Kotter

Alright, alright, I'm back...but I'm not going to lie, coming back hasn't been easy.

Those last couple of weeks before school were simply delightful, if I may say so myself!
I thought nothing of the blog and how was I going to fit it in amid the rest of life's responsibilities,

I just.  
....with my kids, with my husband, with whatever was going on with the day...
and let me tell you, being that way is a hard way to shake off, I mean, who would want to?!  

But I'm back...

I'm just really really hoping that my being in each of life's most beautiful moments never gets overlooked again...
because, truly...
once you're there, 
living like that, with eyes on God...
there's just no reason to be any other way.

Talk to you guys soon...