Category: Anxiety

God: Where are You Taking Me??

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“Faith is taking the first step, even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Back in January, God planted the word “thrive” on my heart. I told the hubs about it; basically my convo went like this, “God wants me to do something in ministry with moms that somehow surrounds the word thrive. I don’t know what it is, I’ll let you know when I know more,” and he responded as he usually does to my bizarre tangents, “okay cool.”

“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your purpose.” Aristotle

It’s not the first time that I’ve felt God give me a glimpse at what’s to come. However, it doesn’t come in the form of a road map or a lightning bolt, but more like an itch I just can’t scratch. It started when I told hubs I would be leaving the salon and working in children’s ministry–even though I had no reason or desire to leave my current job.  Six months later in a  twist of events I went from giving blowdries to wiping snotty noses as a preschool teacher. The most unnerving was when I told him we’d be moving and he’d be getting a job that was more missional. A year later he interviewed for a position as pastor of missions and outreach, and we accepted the call at our new church  and moved six months later.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

I don’t share this because I want you to think I’m gifted, and certainly not that I’m psychic. It really has nothing to do with me at all. For reasons I cannot explain, God has chosen to give me these small glimpses into what he has in store for me next.  There have been other times I’ve been dead wrong, like when I insisted I was having a boy, and we now have a very healthy 2 year old girl.  The difference is when I try to make a prediction for my own benefit, its as hopeless as dowsing for water in a desert. Rather, these ideas enter my life as a thought in the middle of an ordinary day. Before I know it that thought has found it’s way into my chest where it rattles around insistently. Then at inconvenient times, like when I’m trying to sleep, it knocks hard on my heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”         Proverbs 3:5

This brings me back to “thrive” and my deep conversation with the hubs. Everywhere I turn, the word finds me, in books, in devotions, even in blogs and social media. Lately the clattering  in my chest has gotten louder as I hear about fellow moms who are feeling loneliness and / or hopelessness. They love their families, but struggle to find a sense of identity and community in their role as a stay at home mom.  As women, how can we grow and thrive personally  in a world where our children, our husbands, and our responsibilities are constantly clambering for our attention? This is a question that I grapple with as the wife to a busy husband, mother of a toddler, and mother to be of another beautiful girl.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me.  Erma Bombeck

I don’t have the answer, but this word and this calling will continue to knock on my heart and awaken me at night until God reveals what He has in store. I wanted to let you in on the process so you can pray for me, mentor me, or share the things that keep you up at night.

I’m Mediocre and Happy

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Blogging Barbies Move Over–I’m Mediocre & Happy!

We are surrounded by images on TV, in movies, magazines, and ads of women that seem to show no signs of “real life.”

Somehow in print, and on screen, celebrities have managed to avoid the ravages of child bearing and aging.

At 31, I have a pretty good self image, but I can’t help but notice the lines around my eyes, the stretch marks on my hips, and well, the other imperfections that come with babies and age.

But as if “keeping up with the Kardashians” isn’t enough, I find myself facing another group of women that challenge my sense of reality.

I will dub them the “Blogging Barbies.” Like Barbie, they manage to spin a reality of their domestic life that is shiny, and seamless, and pure plastic perfection. From their designer decorated homes, perfect pantries, down to their immaculate underwear drawers, these bloggesses (no auto-correct, not blouse, I’m inventing a word here!) seem to have every stitch in place of their effortlessly homespun life.–And don’t forget their gorgeously dressed and beautiful children with sweet and original names like Harlow and Dax–who also manage to put their toys back in the adorably labeled toy bins tucked away in their color coordinated closets.

I’m not dissing women who love pinterest, and are crafty, and have cute homes. I know quite a few, and I hope someday some of their talent will rub off on me!

But as I browsed the black hole of pinterest today, and fell deeper and deeper into my own black hole of negative thought, I’m so disorganized, my house isn’t cute, what do I do with all my time, why isn’t my bathroom matching down to the toiletry bottles?!

I decided to take a step back and celebrate that my house is relatively clean, my pantry is 65% stocked, and my kid and husband are fed, smiling and their clothes mostly match.

So today, instead of worrying about a reality on blogs that I will never achieve in my real life, I’ll celebrate giggles, sticky hands, and overall domestic mediocrity!

A Belly Full of Butterflies; A Heart Full of Hope

“Because butterflies mean God is doing a new thing…”

As we signed the final documents for buying our new house, I felt a flutter begin in my stomach. No matter how much I do to prepare for a changing chapter of my life, it all usually boils down to a moment where my new reality crystallizes, and I lose every grain of control that I’ve scraped and grasped tightly onto. With clenched fits, and butterflies doing their practiced flight within the walls of my tummy, I close my eyes and leap to the next blank page of my unwritten story.

“…although my life story isn’t written, He knows the ending.”

But as I walk to the bank to transfer our life’s savings into what feels like thin air, the familiar butterfly dance I feel, fills me with excitement. I remember the last moments I felt butterflies: when I found I was pregnant with baby E, when Bree was born, and when I vowed my life to my husband. These butterflies mark something new and exciting. I realize as a grown woman of 31, butterflies mean I’m still growing up, and I hope when I’m 85, I still get this fabulous and unnerving flutter in my stomach. Because butterflies mean God is doing a new thing, and although my life story isn’t written, He knows the ending, and He’s written my name on the palm of His hand.

” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” Revelation 21:5

 

Blessings Always Come with Responsibility

“Every good and perfect gift is from above…” James 1:17

Blessings always come with responsibilities. The greater the blessing, the greater the responsibility. When I was a kid, if my pockets were full of a few quarters and a couple cubes of bubble gum, then I felt blessed and other kids felt jealous. But when I got my first car, I quickly learned that cars don’t run on quarters and bubble gum. The blessing of a car meant the hard work of babysitting and odd jobs to earn enough money to fill the gas tank.

When I became a mom, the blessing of my daughter came also with the heavy weight of responsibility. Not only do I receive the pure joy and pride of being a mother to my gorgeous, stubborn, and independent little girl, but every time I look at her, I’m reminded of the great calling God has put on my life to care for her, to teach her, and to love her, even when that means the tough kind of love.

A person can respond to responsibility in a few different ways. We can resist it or even grow to resent the extra work that comes with responsibility. We can become a slave to it, allowing the responsibilities to run our life and become an obsession. Or, we can embrace it and lean on God to strengthen us in fulfilling our responsibilities.  When we remember the blessings that are attached to the extra work, it’s easy to see that it’s worthwhile, but our perspective can determine  whether we treat our blessings as gifts or burdens.

When we think of the James verse, it’s easy to think that a perfect gift means something that is lovely, flawless, and uncomplicated, like quarters and bubble gum, but in life we quickly learn that the most perfect gifts come with responsibility and sacrifice. We can choose to embrace God’s gifts and draw closer to him, or miss an opportunity for God to touch our hearts and lives with His call to greater responsibility and trust.