Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What I Really Want To Say

You know the times, the situations, when you listen politely, give a hug, say I'm praying. I say I know, I understand..... But what I really want to say is this. Just don't quit, don't give up on this. Don't believe you or anyone else is too far gone. Don't believe that new is always better. Don't believe that it won't be hard work too. Don't fret when it seems that doing the right thing always means feeling left out. Don't forget where you came from or what it took to get you right here. Don't forget why you chose this to begin with. Don't believe the lies that press in and tell you that it's over and this is the best it will be. Because it isn't. It just isn't. Don't believe you don't matter, that your words don't count or that you have nothing to say. Yes you do. Even if it's to one other soul. Your words, your life can change everything. I've seen  4 minutes of a life forever change someone. So don't discount your value, your impact. Your worth. Each life has purpose. Thankful. 

They Say It Comes In Three's

It's New Year's Eve. I'm off work today. Actually for a string of days. I started the barroom remodel. So there is that. I just laid here for a while. Praying. Talking. Listening. My verse. Hebrews 4:16. Drawing near to the throne. To find grace. And mercy. And the amplified reads well timed help..... Yes. Help. I let that settle in and then my other verse made me smile. Isaiah 43. Forget the former things.....yes. Forget. That seems a strange word that has taken hold of me. But if we run boldly to His grace and mercy, we can forget. We don't have to hold onto our sins, our mistakes. Because He keeps no record of them. And if He doesn't then why should we? And if we are running to Him and He will send timely help, just as we need it, then what is there to fear?  Because I fear forget. I fear being forgotten.  Because I have felt that. And it is unbearable. Somehow though, I know it's time to forget the former, because the new is coming. Those deeps planted seeds, they don't stay down forever. They burst forth. New. And you forget it was ever dead dry earth. You forget that you ever wondered when and if. You can't remeber the barren because the harvest is so very full. You forget the pain of the toil, because the harvest of the sheaves leaves you crying tears of joy. Forget what was to have vision for what is coming. There is one thing that I won't forget. He inscribed it on my heart and literally sent it in form of binding it around my neck by way of a beautiful necklace. It need always stay. I need always remember. It's my word. Thankful. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bathrooms

I came home Christmas Day. I had 3 days ahead of me. That was probably the worst feeling ever. I had no idea what to do with myself...and all these memories. All these things flooding back. Reminding. And I could run from it. I've done that before....and we know about right back rounds now don't we? Yeah. So this year they hit full force. And I decided to let myself be sad about it. And for the life.....I couldn't help myself. I got really ticked off at the wall paper...for the love. It has peeled and sucked for 17 years now. Seventeen. And I.  Hate. It. So I peeled back one big strip and that was that. No going back. Been there before too. Opened that can of worms that cannot be contained again....no. And He presses me. Thing after thing kept peeling back layers and opening up spaces that aren't better left set. I could pretend the wall paper was just fine, look past the peeling paint and all that makes my blood boil. I could pretend that what has been the last three years is good enough. But it isn't. It just is not... But am I brave enough to walk through this....

Paper peeled and the bathroom is stripped down to nothing. All its imperfections showing. All mine are hanging out like laundry getting mighty clean and dry. All the soft spots, all the rough spots, laid bare. The bathrooms too. What's underneath? I've been wondering. So we stripped and scrubbed and cleaned and laid it bare. But it's real. And its never been cleaner. And it's never had more potential. Me too. Thankful. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Single

I envy you.... That took me by surprise. Those words. Because who would envy me? I let the words settle while the water washed over. Oh the words that space contains. The prayers that travel upwards with the steam. I suppose that when I look at things in the proper light, I do. I have blessings abound. And I stopped looking past today and just settled into right now. I'm choosing to be grateful right here. I made hot chocolate for my youngest. With a whipped cream tower. Just like he has always loved. Another year with him. I'm heart full. My girl, we talked today. She was with me in my anxiousness. And she is a comfort and a joy and fiercely protective of her mama. And tonight I settled in. And I pulled out my great grandmothers tea cup. So small and beautiful, yet it has withstood all that the years have brought. And it seemed like a better choice than my normal oversized cup. One small portion at a time. Simple. Lord tonight I just ask for sustaining grace. Help us hold fast to You and Your promises. When all else may fail. You do not. Thankful. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Letters

Joining Kate Mountage at her site today.  Her New EBook Letters To Grief is available and she is hosting a link up.  
These aren't always the easiest of days still.  Just when you think you are over it, that you SHOULD BE over all this by now, a wave of it overtakes you and knocks you down with its strength.  And it feels like square one...but it's not really.  You realize that these waves over and over have somehow made you stronger in the getting back up, they might take your breath from you, but you know now, how to keep from going under and make it back once again.  Certain that this will forever change you, but this, it will not be forever.....

You circle round and grip tightly before I can even realize at times. And you settle in. Unmoving. And I realize your coming and going is a process. It peels back a layer or two each time we come face to face. Eye to eye. Because I'm not afraid much anymore. Of you, of your coming. Because you go. You cannot stay when I turn it over, let the tears fall, scream my whys until my voice is a whisper. Sometimes you are heavy and you threaten to overtake me. But I have learned the remedy. Each time I stretch out my hand, each time I give what it is I need to hear myself. Pressing the seeds of hope deep into places that seem void of any hope, but that void is just the preparation to hold what will be. 
Thankful.
#letterstogrief

We Made It...Day 23

I didn't manage Christmas cards this year. Not surprising. Three years ago was the last time. And I can't quite get over how beautiful and amazing and perfect they were...how perfect my life looked in black and white with a splash of color in between the tri-folded structure. A perfect picture of the perfect family. Because everyone said so. Because the card said so. And a month later it would all be gone. I have photos and memories of beautiful moments from the past 357 days and I can't quite manage to put them together, slap a stamp on it and say Merry Christmas. Not this year. Not just yet. Writing is hard fought lately. Words are not my friend at times and it's just a battle. The card that seems to fit our lives this year would say Bless, we made it, praise Jesus and we need a nap.... But I'm feeling like somehow this is the end of the tunnel, that light is shining brighter and the morning is coming to replace the mourning. My desire feels more like a Happy New Year card... Let's do this! It's gonna be amazing. Because the bottom line is it IS amazing....that I'm here three years later. That we are all here. And we were not destroyed. A little bruised and beaten but not really worse for the wear. No, better for it. Better because of it. Beautifully imperfect people who have an amazing God. He can do anything you know....Thankful. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

1,084

Seems random. It's days. Steps. Do overs. It's how many times I have woken up since the day I woke up and my life changed in an instant. And I don't count them much anymore. But today, I wondered. Because today I asked the question again....how long Lord? Because the season is pressing tight and my tendency is to run. But I haven't. Not for a while. And the days totaled up don't seems to have the hold on me they once did. The pressing seems to be attacked by other things that pull me through. Smells. They affect me in a way I can hardly put to words. They are powerful reminders, swayers, transportation to a memory. My girl, she's home. These two weeks surrounding the end of the year feel like being thrust on to a merry go round I can't get off of. Hard for a girl like me who needs constants and routines. But she's here, and she fills the space with her nearing adulthood. And it's an amazing thing to watch. She baked last night. At midnight. I slept through it but at one point I woke up and the house was filled with the most beautiful of smells. It was weight to me. Tangible. This house has been through so many changes in the last decade. So has my life. A decade ago I had just walked in to a new career, was finding my way being a working mom again, and wondering what God wanted from me. 10 years later, I'm in the same boat. New career, kids going to new places and juggling this single thing. And there's a depth to it. A change. I see the parallels. But I see the growth. And I'm certain that's the point. I'm different than I was just 1,084 days ago. Nothing left untouched. I'm choosing gratefulness for each step. Each day. Each wake up. Because I'm certain it leading somewhere. Somewhere. Thankful. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Salt Water

I cry. A lot. I always have. It's my emotion for everything. Seriously. I don't know how I manage to stay hydrated sometimes. And it's something that has irritated me most of my life.  Made me feel weak. And I have realized something over these past few days. Something about me and my heart. There was a time I didn't cry at all. My emotions were so heavily sealed off that I felt only numb. It was safer that way. And then God began the process of chipping away at that wall. And when it broke, it broke. And it changed me. I find myself at times bracing against emotions that are painful. Holding my breath trying to escape those feelings. And there comes that wall. And I am finding that the tears come from the breaking over and over. Because that wall holds me back and other out. And it prevents healing. I get frustrated when I feel as if I'm caving in again. Why can't I be stronger. Why can't I just be, well, not me. The tears keep my heart soft. Because He made me that way. They bring forgiveness and love over and over. They carve out places for joy to seep in deep. They are my thorn, but they make me able. They frustrate me, but they make me humble. They make me remember. Thankful. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Overflow

Loaves and fishes....that was the sermon. What do I have to bring? What is it that I have to offer? My willingness. To open my hands. To walk to You with what seems pathetically incapable. Incapable of meeting these sea of needs I'm surrounded with. But then again, all that has ever been required is my willingness. To make a step. Whisper a prayer. Offer up what little I have so You can take it....and break it.....yes, the breaking always precedes the miracle...and make it enough. More than enough. So I'm standing here Lord, my willingness to let go of my broken pieces and let You do what it is You do best. Feed Your children.....spiritually, financially, relationally, emotionally....in everyway. Help me overcome my fear of want, my fear of need, my fear of not enough, my fear of left out. And fill me with You. More than enough. Never wanting. Thankful. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 18

It's hard to balance some days. I see that. I see what He's doing. And I fight it. Why now I have no idea. When I have settled under it before, He handles it. And maybe that was going to prepare me, to remind me, what to do this time. It's harder now. More coming at me. He gives me much time of slow, of rest. And I struggle with it. It makes me afraid. And He takes away things that let me keep staying comfortable. Pushes me. This week has been just that. And by Monday, fighting a cold and the fear of this season had worn me down. Tuesday found me just about to drown in it. Two choices. Sink or swim. And so I got up, got dressed and said I have to do this. It's the only thing I know. My girl was up and moving before 10 am....obviously God was up to something!! So off we went. And I let go of the fear and the worry about what will be or what may happen or how I'm not doing any of this right. I spent the day living just in the moment with my girl. I've never had a problem planning for tomorrow, seeing how my actions can best suit long term. I do struggle with being present. Just living in the right now, and finding the joy in it. But for one day, I did. I did. And it was beautiful. And we prepared for Christmas. And we got excited for gifts for friends and family. And we had lunch and walked and talked and made the best memories of all. New ones to replace ones that have made this a season of the not so wonderful. The most beautiful things are often found in the most mundane of places, the most routine of days can bring life changing gifts. Just like Christmas. With a baby in a manger of hay. In the middle of a barn. On a single simple no special night. He made it life changing. Thankful. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Are We There Yet?

Two weeks. It's been two weeks. And I have been ever so aware of Advent this year. Boxes and drawers and numbers....counting, looking, anticipating....waiting. Each day of waiting brings a gift. Not yesterday's or tomorrow's. Just today's. But you have to choose it. Unwrap it. Take it in. And choose to be satisfied. Advent is the wait before what we truly anticipate arrives. I have advent in my heart. And the silence that terrifies me is the silent that is needed to hear the proclamation. To hear the good news. Silent night, holy night.. The waiting was not in vain or without end. It brought the greatest Gift. The anticipation grew heavy as the time grew near. And the silence thickened as they waited to rejoice. Waiting. Thankful. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Handle With Care

This place feels a bit scary. I hear the words and I start to get apprehensive. And I just have to say what I know. Even though right now looks can be deceiving. My boy had an all day thing. He's becoming all that he loves. And God set that up. Dropped it right in my lap. Timing. And my girl came home and so we ventured out and shared the day and explored and made some new favorite things. We laughed. I mean snort laugh. From the inside out laugh. And we drug the boy with us. He's getting used to us. We are all getting used to a lot of things. New memories. New friends. New plans.....laced with things that were. Dreams. Today my girl made her first stockings. Just like I do and have always done. I showed her what I do. What we buy.  Passed it down. The staples. All things stocking for our Christmas each year, yes.....passed down and begin and again. Brand new. We took pictures, watched Rudolph, ate ice cream...and my heart feels full tonight. Solid. Thankful. 

Big O' Tents

Another week finished. And I settled in. It's been throwing me some hefty curve balls. And this advent, it's settling in. My youngest checks his box each morning. My girl tells me of her gifts too. Maybe it wasn't as much of a failure as I first believed. I know I have so much to be thankful for. And I am. And maybe right now that's enough. I am finding myself with a stretch of down time.  And it throws me into panic.  And I fight it.  And He just keeps bringing me right back to do over.....So yesterday, I gave in.  I slept until time for the youngest to get on the bus, I drank entirely too much coffee, I pulled off my own version of Christmas decorating, did 10 loads of laundry, cleaned two bathrooms, made one trip to Target, watched entirely too much television, ate tater tots...TWICE..and I didn't run one little step.  All of the things that can throw me into a tailspin.  All the things that when I have them under control make me feels as if I'm under control.  Nice and neat.  Well, everything is not nice and neat.  And I have the urge to untie a few big red bows.  And maybe it's ok to be broken in some respects right now.  There are place in my life that still need some healing.  Some old faithfuls that need to become memories, maybe for a little while, but maybe for always.  It's the not knowing.  It's the fear of failure.  Because let's be honest, I didn't keep it all together, in a lot of ways, I did fail...epicly.  So whats a girl to do with all this handful of fail and fear and fright?  My verse today talked about Paul talking about his weakness.  And the amplified worded God's grace covering Him.  Like a tent.  And I love that.  Cause I need some tent grace...how bout' you?  Tent grace sounds like there is plenty to cover you and me and whoever else may need to join us....grace is always better when you share it with a friend anyways.  Thankful.

5 Minute Friday - Prepare


FMF - Prepare - 12.12.2014
PREPARE....Go:
I've seen it strung through these last months and years. He has prepared me for what was coming, what would be. It made no sense at times, these random things one after the other. But one would prepare me for the next step to be taken. And I feel that way again. I see Him preparing me for new, for what's next, for what will be, even though I can't see it just yet. He's making a way. Preparing. And I think of the song.....let every heart, prepare Him room.... He wants to be there. In the good and the bad. And He wants to use it all, to prepare us for our calling. And I can use this time to stress and wonder or I can sit quietly, and let His peace come in and prepare the way for blessing. Thankful.
Stop.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday

I had lost my words and whatever I imagined this advent to be in a sea of despair.  And it hit hard.  And I just went right back to bed.  I know that sometimes the breaking comes to show us things.  And I know that breaking can lay me flat.  And so I let it.  I stopped fighting and let it overtake me.  Sometimes getting back up and putting one foot in front of the other is your calling for the day.  It's your best yes.  And so it was mine. I had gifts to buy for children who have such a need that my own have never experienced.  I had food to buy for the family I have around me and the honor of caring for them, feeding them and loving them.  And I let thoses truths surround me, pull me back in and change my perspective.  I let the reality of what I think I need show itself for what it really is.  Nothing can fill the hole He placed in us that was made for Him and Him alone.  He makes a house a home.  His presences is the Giver of life.  If you gain it all and don't have love then what?  Then what...... I breathed a prayer of thanks for a Father that gives His hard-headed daughter far reaching grace when she needs to learn some things the hard way.....once again.  When experience is the best teacher, the best reminder.  And I am never too far gone.  And He does make His path abundantly clear.  Not the journey, but the path.  He pulls me away into the silence, into the quiet to let me feel the full weight of my choices.  So I can't hide from what He is speaking behind busy or other things.  So I can come face to face with what I already know. With what He has already spoken to me a thousand times.  And He will do it again.  Thankful.

Can You Hear It?

Psalm 144:1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,who trains my hands for war,my fingers for battle. 
This verse. It caught my attention and I just can't let it go. Because He did that didn't He? Trained my hands for war....and the battle raging was to build up in the middle of the tearing down. To love in the middle of such hate and ugliness. To hold, to surround with His love, the one who caused me this torment. Yes. That was the very heat of this war of souls. My fingers were trained with pen and paper. Preparing the way to share with others I may never know. But we share our words, our stories, our very own lives. And some days that in itself is a fight. To keep speaking when our hearts break, when we make a wrong turn. When we are not even sure we are getting one thing right.  Today feels like a battle. It feels like an unending war. So what do we do on the days where it feels as though our prayers hit the ceiling? Perhaps it's time to listen. Thankful. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Be Still

So I slept in. And when I woke up plans got changed and all I had was quiet. And it made me break out in hives. I've been fearing it. The quiet that settles in. Because let's face it, I'm quite afraid to hear what He's going to say next. I busied myself and then I sat down to do the thing I know He's been calling me to do. And I put it off because of fear. And the emotions of days.....years...past come tumbling down and out through tears. But I can't help but be reminded of where I am today. Of where He has brought me from. And these things that plague me over and over, well, slowly they will become distant too. This isn't easy. And honestly I'm just praying for the time when it all feels good again. When I look forward to plans instead of getting a knot in my stomach. And each time I face it, I get a little stronger. A little less sad. A little more hopeful. I've run from Christmas for the last three years. And I'm really tired. Tired of less thans and settling and the lies that say this is the best it's ever gonna be. Because it isn't. It just isn't. Thankful. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Count The Blessings

Such pockets of grateful. I have so much. My health comes to mind. My ability to move and exercise and eat. I am blessed. I'm tired, but usually that's from long days at a job I love and then an hour in the gym with beautiful friends. I am privileged to share what I have learned with others and get to watch their health being changed in the process. How amazing is that?? I've also been blessed with the gift of forgiveness. Of healing. Of a tying together things that were once my biggest anxiety. Yes. God has healed that. And so perhaps it's a reminder that what is hardest today will not always be. Perhaps the healing comes from the hard. When you have seen someone at their worst and some how, some way, God births something beautiful when you dare to let humility come. Not humiliation. But the grace that God allows when He bends you low. When you can then see things from another perspective. There is healing there. And then you pass it on. You meet others there. You become a hand holder. And everyone is stronger. Thankful. 

Try Try Again

Its day 3. Day three of advent. I'm exhausted. I'm not sure exactly how this whole gift thing is working out. Maybe it's me. Maybe they are too old, maybe.... But these pockets of beautiful come. Little gifts wrapped. I walked in to work Tuesday frazzled. I had forgotten my lunch for two days in a row, picked out the size too big pants to wear I thought I had given away....yeah. Happy Tuesday. And as I walked in and settled my sweet coworkers made such a fuss about how cute I looked and my new boots. And then out of the blue, as we began talking about exercising after work, something we have grown accustomed to doing, one sweet friend said...you have changed my life... Shut the front door. Heart overflowed. And I cried. Holy cow at the power and the honor in those words. It took me 2 1/2 years and 16 applications to get hired..... 15 no's before I got a yes. And I almost gave up. Almost. Almost said what's the point. But I gave it one more shot I did. And that changed everything. And more than just my own life in the process. Thankful. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Am I There Yet?

Advent. Day two. But technically day three....yeah. I'm new at this. And how ridiculous does that sound. But I'm digging this year, into what is more than presents and trying to pretend that it isn't December again and thinking that somehow perfect has illuded me once more. It hasn't. This is where I'm supposed to be as frustrating as that is to type. Active waiting, her words said. Yes. I'm reminded of 17 years ago. I was actively waiting then too. For a little boy to join our family. I would keep on waiting a bit longer. Longer than expected. Yet he did eventually arrive. Yes he did. I see that very same boy growing in his faith. Momma prayers heard. That makes my heart overflow. I'm thankful for a church that has held me through three long years of this journey. Who has been there in my questioning and wandering and seeking. That makes me feel settled in my own skin. No pretending. Just me. Whoever this is He is making me to be. They are my people. Thankful. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Do It Afraid

I sat in church and let it settle on me. The first Sunday of Advent. And I'm not even really sure what it means, but I know this year we need to remember. To take a look at where we have come from. Where we are about to go. The verse that struck me so this morning. Mary, having an angel come to her, and my Bible read that she was greatly troubled and wondered what his greeting might be. And that gave me hope, it did. Mary had plans. She had dreams. She had her future waiting for her.....but God. And she was afraid. She could have said no. She could have stayed comfortable. God asked her to do something she had no answer to.  God asked her to go first. He asked me to go first in this journey of mine. To be uncomfortable and inconvienced. To lose, to be humbled, to let Him have His way. To do it afraid. And I have to believe her answer came not through assurance of anything other than her belief of who her God was....and still is. I'm Your servant. Let Your Word be fulfilled. I'm thankful for her choice. To step into her fear and do something amazing. This day one finds me stepping out, doing this afraid yet again. But somehow I believe that He is bringing a miracle out of this. Out of the quiet, most humbled places, His glory shines even brighter. Thankful. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

So She Came Bearing Gifts

I've got to take Christmas back. It's time. We need to remember. We need our joy. And it doesn't have to look anything like it has in the past. In fact, I don't want it to be. No. Advent is is not something that I have ever deliberately celebrated with the kids. And quite honestly at their age, how would you? But it stuck in me. Made me loose sleep. Made me feel compelled. And well, when that happenes I usually can't rest until it's done. I had visions of how to do it just perfectly....yes. But when has my perfect ever turned out like I thought it should? So we ended up with two overflowing boxes of wrapped gifts, one for each day and my slightly less than perfect notes on each one. I had visions of scriptures and stories....I got my girl threatening to open them all if I didn't wrap them individually. Her box is going to college. And most days she has her mommas patience....we know how scary that can be ;)  so I wrapped each one and stuck a note tag on. I reminded them to be nice, be kind, share and that I love them. Hit the basics if you can't manage anything else.... And such panic and frustration has come up against me since doing this. And so I'm praying. And I'm pushing through. Because enough is just quite enough. Come Lord, just as You promised. "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her WILL be accomplished." Yes. Thankful. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Give

This morning left me seriously contemplating whether or not I had a thing left to give. Seriously. It found me wondering if I even desired it. And so I did the only thing I know to do, I sought the answers in only Place I know. I smiled knowing that three years of storms makes one well able to find Shelter. And so, as I searched for the verse that fell flat on my heart, I asked Him....give me what I need.....and my attention was caught in Acts chapter 27. The Storm. God gave Paul a promise. And He fulfilled it. "So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me..." Yes, just as He has said. And that gives me breath. I see God working in the pages of the verses left for us to read. Left to give us hope. Left to show we are not alone. Left to give rest to the others in the storm. Thankful.
Stop

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful

Its my word. It found me. It's a constant reminder. I need it. I have a tendency towards forgetting. As I was driving home, letting the day settle, wondering what the next few days might hold I was reminded yet again. As much as things have been up in the air for so very long, I remember. And so I began to recount all that is right. The amazing job I was blessed with this year after two and a half years of trying and the opportunities it presents to me. Health insurance for the kids and I. Our home. Our very own space that has been in our family since it was built. That I have a safe roof over my head and my own bed to crawl into each night. That my children have their own rooms. That we have a full pantry and refrigerator. That I can feed my children good food. That I had people to teach me how to be a parent. That I have stories to pass down. That I have two children and 18 years of memories with them. That I have been loved and can still love freely. That I can provide them with warm clothes and hot water and heat. That every bill is paid. That I have people to share my days with. That I am healthy and have the ability to exercise and run and move without pain or restriction. That I have things some may never gain in a lifetime. Yes, my heart is full. And I am blessed beyond measure. Thankful. 

All Things

It was Thanksgiving Day 3 years ago. On the way home from visiting friends and family, we were going to change and get ready to go to visit more family. And as I continued driving home, bemoaning how late we would be, I drove through the intersection, my green light signaling the way. And as I crossed through, he never stopped as he turned into the front of my SUV. As he struck the vehicle and glass shattered, we came to an abrupt stop....on a small overpass bridge....over water. He had tried to correct ever so slightly, because had he not, he would have hit where I was sitting straight on. Instead his vehicle ran all the length of my side, making it impossible to open a door and shattering all the glass. My kids. One in front and one in back. They were ok. They were unhurt. I was stuck. I couldn't unlock my phone to call anyone. I started screaming. It was my girl who pushed the numbers to make it all work. Neighbors came because they heard the loud crash. I called the one who was my own then.  We have been in a horrible wreck I cried. Then then phone was dead. But I knew it only meant he was well on his way to come to us. And that he was. The driver was arrested. He had been drinking. And as shaken as we were, we were unharmed. 

When I think about that time, in the middle of what was the hardest point of my marriage, a literal month before the destruction that awaited us, I wonder.  What plan did God have for all of this past three years that perhaps the enemy of our soul wanted to prevent from ever beginning? God protected us, spared our lives only to see the destruction of our family days later. Why?  It reminds me that His plan is greater than any other. It reminds me that His ways don't always make sense. That His purpose in all things will always prevail. That the destruction He sometimes brings is to give life, not bring death, although sometimes that life is preceded by the loss of things we do not understand. I am breathing, so there is purpose today. Thankful. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hearing

Taylor Swift somehow made it on to my iPod.... in triplicate. And I love her music, don't get me wrong, but teardrops on her guitar are not encouraging me on my run... And so as I fast forward....many times....I find something suitable to keep me going. And my thoughts wander. And I realize. I am strong. I have become something I never thought would be. And it all has come from this hard road. I made choices and kept going long after what seemed reasonable. Why? Why would He ask such a thing?   I've known God my entire life. I accepted Him as a 22 year old.  And life got harder.  And I went back and forth, learning and running away, coming back and falling short again, confessing my desire to follow Him and then following my own path.  But it all brought me here.  It all is a part of my story, my faith, my words.  And most days I wonder does it have to be this freakin' hard??  I'm always writing verses that come to mind or that He gives me down on anything close by.  As I pondered many things this morning and made my way into the kitchen to make my lists for shopping, I dug out this piece of paper. And the verses I found at the bottom of a recipe gave me pause...we  store up in the silence what we need in the storm.....  I had questioned.  He answered.  Why does this feel unending Lord?  Why does it feel like it is taking so very long?
Exodus 13:17-18
17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.[c] Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.[d]
Had I known three years ago what I was facing, I would have run screaming and never even tried.  I was not ready.  I was not strong.  I was not prepared.  I was not able. Such the reminder that He is already up ahead, providing everything we need.  The right answers at the right time.  The right way, never left on our own, no, He is there.  Even when we cannot see, He speaks.  And our heart knows.  I heard something fall as I lay in bed last night...I knew exactly what it was.  And I smiled.  I was questioning yet again, getting all worked up when I needed rest...and the card on my dresser mirror slipped down.  I knew the sound.....His voice in the smallest of things resounded big in my heart....
Joshua 1:9  (NLT)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Thankful.

Stop

It was late, I was tired and I wanted to go home. Sitting at the stop light seemed to take forever. Minutes passed. And more. And I wondered if I somehow missed the green light, my turn to go. And it kept being red. Over 10 minutes. I started getting upset. Is it broken? Am I stuck here? So I started looking for a way out. Because this couldn't be right. Cars kept coming. I couldn't turn to the right and go the wrong way to turn around and come back the right way. And I couldn't turn left. Because the light was red. Stuck. And then I saw the yellow appear. Really? Is it going to happen finally? And as I turned in the correct direction after waiting much longer than I ever believed, He whispered.....stop being so impatient. And it knew it had nothing to do with the red light. He has saved me many times from taking matters into my own hands, going the wrong way in hopes of getting around waiting to do it the correct way. And many times in the waiting I have felt that big red light screaming no. And I have felt stuck. And wondered if all I believed is somehow broken. If there is something wrong with this wait...or something wrong with me. Some days you can only just sit and wait it out. And you can fill the time with being anxious, or you can choose to spend it acknowledging the One Who created the wait for your safety, to get you on to the next place at the right time and in one whole piece. Thankful. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Notice

Five Minute Friday....5 minutes, just write...
NOTICE.....Go

I notice....these questions that come, the ones without answers today, they don't quite sting as they have in the past. I notice, that even on the hard days, there is a knowing that the answer is coming. I notice that thanksgiving comes without the effort it used to take. I notice. Prayers are answered in the order that He deems, but even so, they are answered. I notice that so much has fallen away, but so much has rooted and taken to growing. And I notice that there is a quiet trust in my heart. It is all going to be quite right. I notice how He planted me. And I feel the roots pushing deep. I notice the strength that has grown over three long winters and the sustaining power of what He purposes. I notice this tiniest of girls doing very big things. Things she never dreamed. And I notice that there are even bigger dreams....and He takes notice. Thankful.
Stop.

Five Minute Friday - 4

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Journey

Psalm 130.....a psalm for those journeying to worship......  Indeed. It's where I'm heading. To worship. Because there comes a time when what is required is the sacrifice of praise. And it's a sacrifice I assure you. It's not what you might expect in the middle of all this. But I imagine He listens closely for the one who has learned....eyes on Me.... Not the circumstance or the day or the questions or the impossibility of it all. No. Eyes on the One with Whom all things become possible. Thankful. 

Brave

Brave.  It's this word that keeps coming over and over.  It's this thing I know I need to be and need to do.  It means going, turning, moving in a different direction.  And the unknown of that scares me.  Because it is the exact opposite of how I feel this should work.  But how often that is the case anyways.  I was brave before. What made me choose it?  To go against all that looked to be the way to go...how did I know?  I didn't.  It's just I could not shake the deep down belief that it was the only way.  The only way.  It was a step towards my faith and away from all that was comfort.  It was a step to what I wanted, only I had no idea how that was actually going to turn out.  So finding myself here at this place I keep wondering how do I know this is the way, that this is the way I should go?  It's the knowing where you belong, where home is, that allows you to be brave. It let's you step out, set sail all the while knowing you have a place. Home never leaves you, even when it is you who leave home. Whether you are stepping out, staying put, leaving for a year....or maybe three...home is the place you circle back round to.  Home finds you when you are lost and think that all is lost.  So home is settling in on me these days...and He's asking me to be brave.  To wave goodbye if I must for just a little, but that's ok.  All is not lost, no.  He gathers, He brings back, He restores.  Perhaps none of this can ever be if we don't let Him stretch us, reach through us to gather those far off.  Thankful.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

To Follow

It's Sunday. And I'm sitting in bed. Thinking of lists. Things to purchase. Things we need. Things to not forget. And I realize the peace has settled in. I realize that when I seek I find. And I also realize as I take a deep breath, letting His Word settle in deep....this sucks sooooo bad.  Yes, I am scared to death. More scared of what will happen if I don't do it His way. So just be brave. Just hold your nose and jump. Because His promises are true. Yes they are. Even when this feels like I'm heading in a way wrong direction. I'm not. Pockets of thankful and hope and expectation find a way to the surface. They keep bubbling over. I learned how to do it afraid long ago. Doesn't mean it is any easier. I just know to follow peace. To open my hands is to let go, but to prepare to recieve. Little by little. He comforts me. Thankful. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Show Me The Way

So it has been quite the week. Ups and downs and not unexpected. Sometimes you have to keep opening up your hands, letting it go. And then you breathe. Because you have done it a thousand times over it seems. Two steps forward, one step back. Wash, rinse, repeat.  This time though, it's left me a little tired. A little over it. And little wondering if this is pointless and will it ever end? And so I talk it out with the One Who knows it all....the real story. The deep down frustration that comes from this waiting. I pray and pray and question and ask and rant and pray some more and give up and hand it over and wonder am I doing this right Lord? Is this really the way because I'm terrified and every step feels so unsure and all I can do is cry out to You and hang on for dear life.....yes indeed baby girl, yes indeed. Because what if that is exactly what happens when we are going the right way? We can't do it on our own for one second, no. So as we cling to You and cry out and pray and seek, well then, that certainly is right. Because the wrong way never felt wrong until we hit the dead end       The wrong way never requires asking Your for guidance. No. Maybe all this struggle is what is heading me right in the direction I'm supposed to be going. Right decisions aren't without fear and hard work and sacrifice. But in the midst of that, there is always peace. And the command to love is still His way. Thankful. 

#FMF - Still

Five Minute Friday...5 Minutes, unedited, just write....

Still.....Go...

Be still. All week it has been. In the middle of what could be chaos, be still. He has reminded me that is where my strength comes from, where the answers are found. In the quiet. He calls me to the still to remind me. His is still His way for me. This is still the call. Still His plan. My eyes opened early this morning. I waited patiently for the verse to load. Just like each morning. Yet today my heart was stilled by the verse that began it all. No mistake. This surely isn't, no. It's His plan, I need only be still. Jeremiah 29:11.  Thankful.

 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

There Is Nothing Wrong

There is nothing wrong with me. I realized that. It wasn't earth shattering or a huge revelation. It's just regardless of the bumps, the surprises, change of plans, redirections..... I'm ok. My prayer of late that just won't let me go is I want to be obedient Lord. It's not in me. Help me. And guide my steps.  And He has. Every single time. And some days it makes me squirm with fear. Other times it leaves me panicked and confused....but only for a moment. Because I remember...  I can make all the plans I want. His will always trumps mine. Always. And I can do it His way or mine. Obey or be disobedient. Do it right or do it over. But His plan wins. Obedience may not be popular or win you friends or be the path well traveled. But it's the right way. And I guess I'm tired of worrying about who gets it and who doesn't. Who accepts it and who walks away because if it. There is nothing wrong with me because I have chosen a different way. Thankful. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Turn


TURN.....Go.....
It's in the turning that it all changes. It's the turn that changes your direction. It's the turn that makes you run to and not from. The turn puts you face to face with all that you fear. Once we are His there is not turning back. Once we are His there is only turn back arounds. To turn is the scariest thing I've ever done. Turn the corner, turn the page, turn and face all that I lost in hopes that by doing so, I can see what is coming from those ashes torn down so very long ago. Turn and run straight to the thing that scares us to the point of death. And take a step. And do it anyways. Because it's the only way. Thankful. 
Stop. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Review - A Mom's Prayers for Her Son


This book was an answer to prayer. Literally. I find myself at a loss at times, praying for and raising this amazing young soul entrusted to me. So many of the pitfalls and battles I just don't understand. And being a single mom on top of it all makes me feel less than equipped most days. And so as I turned my prayers into pleas for help, this book arrived. And my boy was the one who opened it. The look of happiness on his face when he asked "mom what is this?!" I told him it was something to help me in my prayer time for him. Each chapter has verses and a beautifully laid out petition not only for my child but for me as his mom. The author shares personal stories as well throughout the chapters. This is an amazing tool. Sometimes words fail and the direction we need to take for our children in prayer seems confusing. This insight and direction shared in these pages has give. A renewed sense of praying over one of my biggest treasures. Thankful.

was graciously supplied with a copy of this book in order to give a review. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

When Your Sprint Turns Into A Marathon

So I've cried more in the last 4 days than I have in a while. That used to scare me. Today I thought that maybe this is part of the sacrifice of praise. If you can be thankful when your insides are turning inside out, just maybe He's got a hold of you. Just maybe that's the sacrifice of a broken girl who is giving her last two mites. It's all I've got. And when I say that He keeps reminding me about running the half marathon.....I know, you probably want to say enough already!! But I can't help it. You see running that was never a dream of mine. I just wanted to run.I don't want to compete or race. I just want to do my own thing. My thing is finishing. So as I ran it I really had doubts I would finish. But then there is that whole not quitting gene that has surfaced in me and I knew I would somehow make it. I never dreamed it would be what it was. It was not my favorite experience. It was not my best run ever. It was not even fun really. But it was amazing. God is amazing. He uses that experience to help me walk this. He reminds me of the last part of that journey when I thought I had made the biggest mistake in doing it and even worse I didn't believe at one point in could finish. But I did. The end was the worst part and harder than the beginning. But it took the beginning to get to the end. I wanted to quit then. I want to quit now. But that girl at the end saying "don't you see the flags?!? That's it! Don't stop. Keep going!" Yeah. She keeps popping up, she does. So maybe my words are just to keep me moving. Maybe they will be a reminder for you today too. It's so much closer than we realize. Let's finish. We won't be sorry. Thankful. 

Of Beginnings and Endings

Day 1. This ever running theme in my days. These begin agains. Reminders that things change. Beginnings happen. Just like endings. Three times now I have walked through this ending. Three whole times. And perhaps this year I am more honest with myself and my feelings. Perhaps I am more aware of the truth. But more aware that forgiveness is the only way. Every October the 31 Days. And I take it on. And I complete it. And it changes me. The hardest days to write through, yet I committed to finish. There is irony in that. I commited to finish more than 31 days of writing. And perhaps a commitment fulfilled without any sacrifice would hardly mean a thing. Then anyone would do it right? And it would loose it's power of grace and redemption. It would loose its life altering and life giving gift. I keep asking what, WHAT is it that He wants from me that I have not already given. What am I doing wrong that I find myself knee deep in this when surely it should have been over so long ago. Yet that is not even close to the answer. Write it down, make it plain.... You see I make it so much harder than it has to be. He never promised short and simple. Easy was never a part of the agreement. I keep wanting to know what I can do and what I can say and how can I fix this and how can I be enough..... I can't. And that leaves me in a heap of tears wondering why for the love He would ask such a thing of such a tiny little girl who came into this with less than enough to ever hope to stand up to the giant in front of her. And He reminds me of battles past. And I look around for my stones. And when I see them I know them. The sacrifice is the one thing that requires something of me. Not anything that is natural to me. The sacrifice of joy. Of praise. So only One can claim the glory. Which was the whole point of it all anyways. Thankful. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days - Day 31 #FMF



LEAVE.....Go


This was the first day of the rest of what was my life. I didn't want him to leave. He did. And as the months came and went and the day arrived and then passed, the next day, this day, I slipped my rings off my finger. I didn't want to leave them set in the drawer, hidden away. Forgotten, just like I felt. I had to leave behind what was and walk towards what He was calling me to. And perhaps that leaving was only for a season. Sometimes you have to leave in order to come back home. Better. Stronger. Changed. Thankful.

Stop.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days - Day 30

This has been a week of Joshua 1:9 and the simple instruction to hold your words. I don't get that much. But it has purpose. Sometimes saying nothing is the absolute best thing. Because the power of life and death are in the tongue. This I well know. So when this week came along I knew what He was saying. Choose life giving words when the ones that could come out would only bring destruction. Some battles are best fought with words of prayer and songs of thanksgiving. Be obedient. Leave the rest to Him. Thankful. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days - Day 28

This is the longest month. And I am praying for a time when I can look forward to the days and not keep letting it catch my breath. And I realize that in all this, I'm the one with options. Choices. True freedom. And I want to look ahead with excitement. Not back and remeber. So I'm hoping to leave the past in the past once these 31 are gone. I'm hoping that new will fill these days again. Thankful. 

31 Days - Day 29

This was the day. The last day. I was terrified. And at the last minute a way out was offered.  Literally, I had 30 minutes. And I had no idea what to do. I wanted so badly to not have to face what was coming. I didn't want to face my fear. I wanted to run. With no words and tears running down my face I prayed for an answer. And I got it. I would have to face it. I had to follow through with what I knew was right. And the answers that escaped me then seem to escape me now all the same. And I've learned a few things about questions with no answers. Sometimes you have to do the right thing even when it makes no sense. Even when it's the hardest thing you have ever done. Thankful. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

31 Days - Day 27

When I was little I remember in the night I would wake up with horrible leg cramps. I couldn't be still. I would toss and turn from the pain. Finally in tears, I would go wake my mom up and tell her I was hurting. She would get the afghan blanket off the couch, wrap my legs in it, sticker under the covers with her and hold me close. Be still...she would say to me. Let the warmth sink in. And I would fight it for the longest time. Then I would settle. And sleep would finally come. Ya how I feel these days. Growing pains again. And be still seems to be the answer yet again. And there are times that I can't settle. That the pain presses in and I make it worse by all the movement. I'm praying for calm, to be wrapped up in that peace yet again. Thankful. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

31 Days - Day 26

It's one of those things you see, and it sticks.  It just opens up so many answers to so many whys....He can't work through us if we can't love.  Yes.  It was His love for us that brought Him to the place of dying.  He said I was worth it.  He said you are too.  So if His love can't break us wide open then how can we ever be used by Him?  If I can't learn to love through the hard, I really don't know how to love in the good.  If I can't love Him the most, then what am I setting in His place?  I keep handing it all to Him.  All of it.  It has taken the deepest grief, the most grievous loss, the most humiliating of circumstance, the humbling that laid me low...all of this to let me grasp the one simple truth that He whispered when I told Him I didn't understand.  Why now?  And the song that ran through my mind said it.... All You ever wanted was my heart..  You didn't want for it to take all those things to get my attention, but it did.  You didn't want to see me hurt, but it served a greater purpose, You had no intentions of it destroying me, but the idols set in the place of the One Who wants first place in my heart.  It taught me to love You more.  It taught me to truly love period.  It taught me that love makes us do the hard work no matter the cost.  My heart in Your Hands makes me able.  Thankful.

31 Days - Day 24 #FMF

Dare.....Go...
In the beginning of the worst thing I had ever faced, the weeks had then turned into months, it was the song that got me up off my knees. It came on the heels of yet another hard day and I was overtaken by the stress and grief that continued to barrel over me. And I sank to the floor. And I cried. And when that song played it made me stop cold. Dare you to move....dare you to lift yourself up off the floor.....dare you to move like today never happened before.  Is it possible, to love like today is a new day? Like the sins and the hurts and the cares are cast off each morning and things are made new? It's how He is teaching me to live this life. Shake it off, get back up and just don't stop. Love like you want to be loved. There is strength in that. A love dare, if you will. He dares me to do it everyday. Thankful.
Stop.


31 Days - Day 25

It's the Saturday that happenes twice a year. It's the day two and a half years ago that wrecked me. It's the day that same year I couldn't bare to be a part of, because what was my life seemed like it was over. Like it was dead. It's was the Saturday that last year, I went back, even though I did it afraid. Because I was going as just me. No strings attached. I was making my own way. It was the Saturday I looked forward to this past spring. And also the day I did something else brand new that I had never done before. Yes. This day seems to hold more than just memories. It's a reminder of old made new. That you can come back. That it can be different, but somehow better than it ever was. This Saturday found me happy. Settled. Hopeful. Changed. Thankful. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days - Day 23

Today is a what if day. What if I let Him settle in deep into this quiet. Yes what if. What if I heeded His whisper. And I did. And He moved. And what if I let Him drown out the screams of the one who is continually against me. Because sometimes sowing into that soul is worth more than an extra paycheck. And that's risky. And it's scary. And it's not playing it safe. No. But what is there to loose baby girl. You can gain a few dollars and die a little inside. You can take a chance and fail but at least you know....yes you do. There is no wondering what if on the other end. The what if that sours your soul. No. Thankful. 

31 Days - Day 22

It took my breath a little. The peace that came. I realized that I didn't feel anxious or sad or less than. I realized that this season of being single really isn't a death sentence or an indicator of my future. It's just the place I am right now. And I'm ok. I can enjoy this season, this time, right now and not waste it. Because there are far worse things than single. Because I have been lonely before even surrounded by people. I have the opportunity to speak into so many lives, to focus on things differently right this second. But I have also gained an appreciation for things I have taken for granted in the past. God used to speak to me be thankful for this... And I ignored Him. And I wasn't. And what a waste it was. But God. He is restoration and redemption. He is grace and forgiveness. He gives lavishly more than we ever deserved. Thankful. 

31 Days - Day 21

I'm behind in my writing. Raise your hand if you aren't surprised. This year has made me less fluent with the words I share. It's been more one on one. And that takes a lot of time. And while I know my blog has purpose I don't know what direction somedays He is taking me. So I keep doing the last thing He said. Isn't that the scariest thing though? Doesn't it bring doubt on the hard days? Yes it does. Maybe overcoming the doubt is part of the plan. Or maybe doing it in spite of the doubt is the lesson. Thankful. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

31 Days - Day 20

I noticed something recently. A times God calls things as they will be. He speaks to what the end result will be. There are days when I just can't see it. There are days when I don't even really want it. But it's not really our choice. To go opposite of is just as miserable. And there are obstacles that come to slow you and stump you. But still. He calls you by who He made you to be. Thankful. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

31 Days - Day 19

I slept. The weight of the week pressing and whatever this faint illness irritating me is, I slept. And hands wide open seems to be the theme. And letting go of seems to be the only way to walk. It's all unknown. Trusting. That He is good. That this is good. That this is best. Thankful. 

31 Days - Day 18

It was dinner. Dinner with my family. And somehow on the inside there is peace. A peace that although this is so unfinished, right now is just fine. This writing isn't easy. Not now. Not even last year. But I guess for me, pretty much every month holds a memory. Good and bad. And that's just life. And right now is just fine. Thankful. 

31 Days - Day 17 #FMF



LONG:   Go....
The end of a very long week found me heavy in wondering.  The "what if's" took an ugly turn in my head.  I was just flat tired.  Tired of the questions that just don't have answers right now, tired of trying to decide if I'm doing this right at all, tired of wondering how I can make this all just come to a stop.  Enough.  Cause most days lately I am feeling that I have been running this race way too long.  It feels like I took a wrong turn and a slow boat to China.  Long and hard and not what I ever imagined this would turn out to be.  I keep remembering running my half marathon.  Mile 12 was UGLY.  And I thought I would be happy at mile 13.  Anyone can do one mile....yeah, not so much.  I cried (again) and thought this is really never going to end is it?  Never.  I swear this can't have been the way.  I think I ran way off course.... I didn't.  Just the last 3 miles were run in some pretty scary and abandoned and forgetten places.  The scenery was awful.  This is why I ran?  To see this?  to not finish and be stuck here?? That's how this feels a some days lately.  I know there is an end.  I know why I ran that race and I know why I began this one too.  I had no idea what the end would be then and I sure don't know what the end will be in this either.  But no matter how long, I know I will finish.  I know the long distance has a purpose.  It's how He made me.  Able.  Thankful.
Stop.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 Days - Day 16

What if my momma prayers really
Do make a difference? Of course they do but when I see them, I think huh....You did hear me.... And they are covered. And He will write their story. And I can trust Him. And it's just not all up to me. Train up a child...the Bible says that, it does. And when they are old, they won't depart from the Way....I'm proof of that. No matter how far it is you run, He circles you right back round to the way. His way. The way. Thankful. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

31 Days - Day 15

I say it a lot when I talk about exercise, running and eating. It's cumulative. You'll have setbacks. You'll have days where it all falls into place. You'll have days when you want to quit and days where you wonder if it matters. Days when you can't see anything. What if I take that perspective in all this. It didn't all crumble overnight. Why would I think putting things back together would be any less.  Each thing, each setback, each step forward all bring change in someway. Each time a little closed to healing. Thankful.   

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

31 Days - Day 14

"It's wonderful what you can do when you have to".    C.S. Lewis

Yes, isn't it though. I'm the hard headed type. Many times I ask do I have to? Uncomfortable is not my favorite. But it is becoming my answer. I'm stalling less and taking the steps forward more. I was reading a post from someone who hasn't had an easy road either. Her daughter spoke of rocks for steps and roots for handles. Yes. When we look at where we are and use what He has given, these are the times we do what we have to. Amazing things. My question lately is what if all this was truly the only way? What if all this is what it was going to take to fulfill all He whispered to my heart? What if all this is what it would take to make me truly, thankful. 

31 Days - Day 13

It filtered in my inbox yesterday morning. It didn't produce tears or any sort of emotion really. It's what I already know.  There are days when I don't have any tears left to cry. So I read the words that started it all. What if.....I prayed, let this settle in and just know, You have this under control. My part is to be obedient. The rest is up to You. What if I walk today in a different type of assurance. The assurance that Your promises hold. You made me able to come this far. You will see it through. Thankful. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 Days - Day 12

When is the last time stepping out in faith caused you fear....made you step out of your comfort zone?.... My pastor asked this in church today. I cried. Less than a day ago it was. Yes it was. And the fear was great, but that shred of peace whispered loud. It was right even though it scared me. Because the what ifs were so very loud. But I'm finding they fade too. Proper perspective comes with each hard, right choice. When you decide based on what is true, then you can see past the lies, past the things that keep you held in the place you are bound. What if all this time has been preparation for this, right now? Seems crazy to think, but then again, learning takes time. Changes take time. Thankful. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

31 Days - Day 8

So much can happen in 7 days. When you take one step towards facing what you fear the most, when you just stop running and look it in the eye and do the next right thing anyways, well, it changes something in you. It isn't the absence of fear, it doesn't make it easier, it just makes the next hard thing do-able. Because you know it won't kill you. And as bad and as terrifying as it feels, something in you says that it actually feels less awful than if you had gone against what you know is right. Yeah. It still makes my insides shake. But I can't unknow what He has shown me. I can't choose something else over Him this time. No matter how much I love it or how much this hurts, this is the way. Thankful. 

31 Days - Day 11

I was standing over bacon. Frying it for something that I didn't have the main ingredient for. I should have looked first. Should have made sure. All but one ingredient. The most important one. I made a wrong choice. Shocker. All the ingredients weren't there. I have learned that God can redeem even our wrong choices, but here's the kicker. Redemption does not come in singles. He redeems big and wide and He's going to use yours to work it out in others. That is a hard and messy thing at times. Yet it changes everything. Wrong choices made right. Thankful. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

31 Days - Day 10

Lots of walls collapsing these days. I see them. And somehow they just don't frighten me. I've been here before. I've sat among the rubble. My own ashes of a house burned straight down to the ground. Rebuilding is never easy. In fact, it's terrifying. The memories, they are there. Grace is how I made it through. Grace is how I made it out from under. My reaction is to rescue. Sometimes the better answer is to let Him do the rescuing and me, well, perhaps the learning to be still sunk in after all. And it rips me in two. But I know the way I came. How it shaped me. Changed me. The struggle. The fight. The surrender. Thankful. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

31 Days - Day 9

It hit me today. Somewhere between driving home from work and trying to talk myself into eating at 7:45 pm.....I'm a grown up. Me. The tiny girl that prayed a big prayer about wanting to learn to stand on her own two feet, yeah....me. How did this happen? I can't say really. I felt it while running sprints last night in the place God brought me right back round to. How many nights did I run it out on that ground under that moon? I'm not the same girl I was when I left there. I'm stronger. I'm changed. What if........all this is what it took to make me, me? What if.... Thankful. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

31 Days - Day 7

I'm back in the space and activities that carried me through many hard days. But I'm just the new girl this time. Nothin to prove. And it makes me happy. I'm not bound by any label or expectation. And I'm stronger than when I left. The nights aren't filled with trying to exhaust myself so sleep will come. They are a challenge to push myself. I know what I am capable of. I know what the hard work will accomplish. Thankful. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days - Day 6

Listened to the story of Elijah. He got tired and he got scared. And so he ran. What are you doing here? God asked him. Yes, what indeed. He's been asking me the same thing. Why are you running like all of a sudden you don't know Who. I. Am? What if I listen to what He says instead of this fear. Because if I'm honest, I'm afraid of what I'll hear. Because fear screams loud. And it's hard to listen to the whisper. But something happened when I stopped and turned. I learned something I can't unlearn, when I faced it head on. Now go back the way you came. Thankful. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 Days - Day 5

I still live fearful. I know it's something He is working out in me. Listening to church online this morning pierced such a sore spot in my heart. My older brother mentality.  When I complain that this seems to be such a long road and don't You even care what all I have been through Lord? Don't you see what I am walking? Is it ever going to be enough? Am I ever going to be enough. That's really the question. Because surely by now I would have gotten it right. And I forget about grace. I forget just how long I walked away. I forget all the benefits He lavishes on me. And I panick. And fear and frustration take hold. And I pout. And I forget that I am not doing this thing perfectly either. And in the depths of my own sin He still covers me. I'm still taken aback by a lesson learned this weekend. I'm still trying to let it settle in deep. When I threw it all off, and risked humiliation and correction, punishment and hard truth, I found grace and healing. Not excuses saying I was right, but understanding saying we all fall short. This isn't the best way, so remeber what you learned in this and let it shape your future choices. Yes. So why do I so easily fall back into the arms crossed position. Why do I think God will take any less care of my every need when He asks me to sacrifice something for another. What if today I just remeber that grace isn't in limited supply. It isn't in danger of running out. And it is poured in so it can be poured out. Water set unmoving will stagnate and become useless. Water continually flowing spreads wide and deep. But is also changes the vessel. That's what grace does. Changes me as it is given to another. Thankful. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

31 Days - Day 4

These days have been hard and long.  The last 31 as a matter of fact, perhaps, some of the hardest.  That is saying a lot if you know about the 973 that preceeded them.  I walked outside this morning to find the brightest sun and the coolest, hard breeze.  And I could breathe.  I've been running for a little bit.  Running from.  This fear that has been terrorizing me, I have pretended it wasn't there, ignored it, hid it, still....  My heart was so heavy this morning.  What if....I faced this and just got the answers I need.  Even if I am scared to death and I have no idea what to say really.....anything is better than one more day of this.  And so I did. Sometimes what we percieve will be, is worse than what truly is.  This is deep water in an unknown sea.  I'm scared of what will be, but even more so, I'm scared of not trusting God big and becoming everything He wants me to be.  Thankful.

31 Days - Day 3

What if....you are just honest about it all. Your feelings. Your wants. What if.....and so I was. So grateful for the opportunity. Such a window God opened. Answers to prayers seeping deep into cracks. What will come, I do not know. But I know the seed sown. And grain seed has never produced watermelons. You reap what it is you sow. Thankful. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

31 Days - Day 2

The weight of this day settled in hard. I could only trust. What if...... Just trust. And so deep sighed prayers, all my loves seem to be having such the struggle. The glue baby girl... Yes, He had said that to me hadn't He.....and so I just prayed help me help them. And He did. Little by little strides made, challenges met. Little by little right back round. Thankful. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days- Day 1

I can't tell you how much of a struggle this truly is right now. How overwhelming 31 days of writing seems to me. Oh the shaking. And then my 31 days words....what if. So today, I just began as simply as I could. What if today, I choose to be thankful. To slow down and listen when I know He wants to speak. To make the best choice the first time instead of facing another do-over.  Yes. Today. Thankful.

#31Days

Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Saturday, September 27, 2014

5 Minute Friday - Because

I've been writing, just don't hit publish so much.  Not for lack of anything other than rarely do I get to sit down at my computer these days.  And quite honestly, most days it's just a battle to get the words out and not feel weary of hearing them.

Become.....GO...

Because I have been lost, because I have failed, because I have been weak and unable to pray for myself. Because I have lied, cheated and stolen too. Because I have felt the fear the panic and the pain. Because I have tried to fill that void with lesser things. Because I have coveted. Because I have fallen short over and over and over again. Because I know what happens when I come to the end of myself and God takes over. Because I know what grace and forgiveness can do to a life. How it changes everything. Because it is what He asked of me. Because it is what He does for me daily. Thankful.
Stop.

Five Minute Friday - 4

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Days

Revisiting. Things that have come back into my life. It's different. I'm different. It's not my identity anymore. I'm surprised at the very little resistance I feel with so much change. I'm no less surprised at the irritation that seems to have crept in. Mostly with myself. It's not that He isn't working. It's not that things aren't changing. It's just falling down, getting back up, wanting to quit and the words of grace that continue to direct me, well you know......yeah. The change I want isnt necessarily the change that has arrived. And I have to be quiet and let that settle. 

I realize I'm sitting here where I was almost 2 years ago. And I'm different. The questions, same. Answers, same. But I'm not the same. Not by a long shot. Funny how paper clothing can make you feel very stripped away of the things that normally I might hide behind. I'm sweating because I'm nervous. And the more I wrap this paper tight, it tears. The more I wrap myself in the illusion of control the more I tear as well. And so I settle. And I breath. And I remember. And I let go. What was then isn't what's now. What I have traveled to get here......well, I'm just trusting His plan in this because let's say I want a different right back round. I want a different outcome. And it's possible you know.....Different. Change. Growth. Impossible. All of it. Thankful. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Snip

It was a chunk. I noticed. But you know how you think, maybe it's me?? Maybe it's not really there. Not as bad as I'm thinking. It's fine.....but it was still missing. No matter how I washed or straightened or parted or twisted. It wasn't right. And I tried for 3 whole days to make it right. And so because that nagging set on top of me for said three days I took a picture and texted her. What do you think? Can you look at it?  Come, she said. So I did. And I sat down and she began the cutting away. And the panic set it. I couldn't let it stay like it was. I couldn't stop now either. I eventually ended up with about 6 inches gone and more face framing than I have had in a while. But the thing is it cut away all of the dead stuff. All of the pieces that I held on to because even if I don't always admit it, I let it define me. There is such the parallel here with what I am walking in my life. She didn't mean to cut a chunk. She is fabulous :) but had I settled in and held on because I was afraid, I wouldn't have had peace. My hair feels short!! But it feels healthy. And it looks a million times better. I wouldn't have been able to choose that on my own. Sometimes He has to force us out into an uncomfortable place so we can let go. So the new that comes will be healthy and beautiful. Thankful. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

31 Days

31 Days.....it was my challenge last year and I'll do it once again. But what to write, what to write. As is with most things writing in my world, He springs them on me. I have been reading Spiritual Misfit. Beautiful words that embraced me and my questions and all that come along with it. What if? She wrote. Yes. The what ifs. But this is different. Saying what if about God, what if His promises are true, what if His word does not return void....what if with God in the equasion, everything changes. 

I scrolled, and I saw it....what if. And there it was, there it was. My words found me, they did. They always do. He always persues. Never stops. Thankful. 

Love

Ephesians 5:1 
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Love like that. Some days I ask questions without answers. Some days I have to settle into the not knowing. And then the words come. The answer to all of it really. Love. I have come to know love is not a feeling or fluffy or soft or easy. It is a choice, it is strength, it is bold and long suffering. 

It. Is. Hard. 

But I was made to do hard things. Yes. I have accepted this fact. Sometimes less than gracefully. But He uncovered a strength in me long ago. And it has filtered into every fiber of who I am. Give away what you need the most. And perhaps I, who has been quite unlovable at times, am the best to give because I am the best to understand how much that grace can cover, can heal, can change everything. Yes. Sometimes the only answer is love like that. Thankful. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Will you?

It's the quiet that comes after the breaking. It's when He binds up wounds to heal. But before He does....He plants the seeds. He whispers....will you be inconvenienced?.....will you be uncomfortable? I know what He's asking. I know where this is going. Right back round it is. And somehow that's ok. Somehow, as I drove home, it became clear...You know I'm staying Lord. Whatever is is You are asking. It's yes. I can't do it any other way. 

Thankful. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review: What Your Heart Needs For The Hard Days by Holley Gerth

I smiled when the book arrived. It arrived on the day that began a series of very hard days. My girl was excited. She opened it. She has been facing some hard days too. Seemed this is what both our hearts would need. There are times when just a word, just a hand, just a hug....can change everything. Not even in big and grand ways, but in solid truths. They can give the ability to take a deep breath and take another step. Dust ourselves off and keep going. Holley's words in this devotional are just that. Words of friendship on the hard days. They don't try and explain away the difficulties or the tears or the pain. They reach down into it with God's truth and say come on friend, here's my hand. We will do this together. The 52 entries give you enough for a year of devotions or if you are like me, one a day seems the better fit. Whatever you choose, her wisdom and the strength of her words will ring true in whatever season of life you find yourself facing today. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Solid

Seems to be a theme for me this year. Day ones and back rounds and solid foundations. My girl turned 18 she did. Day one for real so many years ago. I couldn't believe she was real. That she was mine. God promised. He told me about her. And then she came. 

I have been so anxious this month. So much I didn't want to face yet again. But I did. And He met me. And He changed me. Then He tested me yet again. Still I hear His promises. Yesterday was not what I expected. It was more. It was solid. It was what is left when the furnace burns hot. It is the foundation left standing. The people He brings back around. The ones He put there. 

Today is a decade ago that my life changed forever. That is hard for me to grasp. I loose my words. I can't quite say I wish I could change it. Because I would not want to loose one single person I have met along the way. Maybe this was the only way to get to them. Maybe the family you begin with will not be the only ones you end with. And maybe you have to walk the dirt roads to find them. Thankful. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

5 Minute Friday - Reach

I am reaching for anything that will hold. Reaching towards Him. Oh, these words that will not let me go. No. I read them late last night. And it is as if God opened up heaven and whispered a little secret. Just between us. Like He was waiting until just now to share it with me when nothing around me is making any sense at all. What do you know baby girl.... And I respond that I know nothing right now. I just don't know. Lean in and let Me show you....

[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14 AMP)

What would have become of me had I not believed in God's goodness? That stopped me cold. How has He brought me this far? How can I trust Him in the middle of what looks like I'm going to drown? Because I believed. Some how, some way, in all the chaos that was, I chose to believe in His goodness. I chose to believe His voice when everything was in opposition to it. I believed He had a plan for my good. Not to harm me, but to  give me hope and a future. 

What would have become of this girl had I not chosen to believe the God Who called me. I cringe at what I see. Because I know that girl and all her flaws and weaknesses. But I am not that girl. No. I am not the girl who walked through that door 3 years ago. All that changed when I reached out, when I believed I would see God's goodness. The fulfillment of His promises to me. Yes. And look what has become of that tiniest of girls who had nothing left but a very Big God. 

As I search again for His way, His voice, I find it right there. Right there. It never left me. He never leaves either. Verse 14. Wait. For. Him. 

Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her. (Luke 1:38 AMP)

Let Your will be done Lord. Just as You have spoken over me. Just as You have said. Thankful.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hallways

It was 3 years ago to the day. It was one of those days I was stepping out of my comfort zone. This was pretty new to me. My dad asked what I wanted for my birthday. I told him I wanted to attended an outdoor boot camp that was starting. I had been wanting to go for about a year. And this one was close to home. The first class was open to the entire community. It was a Saturday.  The day I turned 39. And i made it through and quickly realized that this was not going to be anything I was used to. Quite honestly this was going to change everything....but I had no idea.

My friends that owned it were there. I didn't realize that they weren't going to run this camp. Someone else would. And when I saw him I thought holy cow please do not let me have to exercise with him!! But he was indeed my trainer.  

I had no idea my entire life was about to change. I had no idea God was preparing me even while I was still running from Him. He was setting the stage for this crazy ride I was stepping on to. I had no idea how tattoos and yelling would push me in ways I never dreamed imaginable. I had no idea it was this trainer and his family that would sow into my life what I needed to become the girl I am. They are my family. 

This one choice opened the door to show me what strength I had deep inside, that not giving up would produce something I never dreamed possible and led me back to the church that would help save a girl quickly drowning when she lost it all. Yes, well in advance He set a stage. Friendship and opportunities and people all lined up for an appointed time. 

It is such a huge reminder to me today as I stand here yet again. Three years later on the very same day. Knowing a little more now than I did then about how God works. Knowing He's calling me into a new place. And realizing that I am scared to death. But I know if He had a plan then, He still has one now. And it scares me. Just like it did then. But I know now what He can do. And that gives me hope. Thankful. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Timing

I was 23. She was due 3 days before I was to turn 24. And when 3 days past rolled around I say crying, on my birthday. Not the news I wanted to hear. If nothing in a week then, then, we will decide. I bawled. She was late, I was massive and it felt like I would never get the thing I had so desperately waited for. Shouldn't she have arrived by now? It's way past time. I can't take this anymore!! And even through tears my birthday ended up being special.  She will be 18 this week. 18 years. Feels like I'm waiting again. I feel pregnant with this thing God has promised. Yet it still seems so very far away. Hard to lay down our burdens sometimes. And sometimes we get to be uncomfortable right on up to the end. And the end catches us off guard and at times it feels like this was the absolute worst idea we ever had. But He brings us through. And we end up with the most amazing blessing. My girl is the most perfect reminder of that right now. Thankful. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

5 Minute Friday - Change

This word...change. I had no idea how all of these changes as of late would rock my world. They have unearthed things long since let to lie. Yes these changes have felt like a wrecking ball came right on through. But what have I learned, what is it that I know?

I have woken myself up praying, tears falling and the panic rising in my chest. And for the life of me I wonder what in the world. The fear of loosing, of being left yet again suddenly makes its way front and center. I can't tell you just how I survived it all before. But the fact is I did. I didn't die. The world didn't stop. And I learned a new normal. And perhaps it's time to unlearn it. It was only for a season it was, but changing things out to best fit what I'm walking into is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. The resistance in my heart is jaw dropping. Not one thing is altered in this. No ground falling out from under. No surprise threatening to be the straw that breaks things. I'm realizing that I'm not bound by anothers choices. I've made mine. And the chains that hold so tightly I am finding are my own two hands holding something that isn't mine to be undone. That changes everything. Thankful.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sorrow

Been thinking a lot. Lots of verses reminding me to keep my eyes on Him and my head in this race. Because He is the Author and the Finisher. He brought me here. He will bring me to the completion. I was listening to a series by Steven Furtick at Elevation Church. Death To Selfie. He spoke of our sorrows being the thing that creates the greatest strength in us.  That resonated with me. I remember fighting God about writing again. I had written for the entire year of 2012 with pen and paper. It was private. And He wanted something more. And I said no. No way I was putting my words, my struggle, my life back in public view. I had been away from social media for the bulk of the year and had just dared to venture back a bit. You want me to put these words on my blog. The one I have not written on in literal months?!? The one that talks about us and what was?? No. No I won't do it. And round and round we went. Until I knew it was utter disobedience. And so I grudgingly picked the simplest design I could find.  A new space, not the old one. Me, words, and that publish button.  And the name for my blog well, when I saw it, I knew it was mine.  Girl Made Lovely BY Sorrow....it was because of what I had been walking that God could begin to come in and change all the old and ugly dying parts of me. It was the deepest, most sorrowful thing I had faced that God used to bring about the change I needed most.  I literally lost what I felt was my security, my world, to realize that apart from Him, none of it mattered.  It would never work, never be enough, never bring satisfaction, wholeness or fill all the places that I sought so hard to cram full of what I thought would make me valuable.

So a year to the day that my world stopped, my words found their way slowly back.  I had no idea, no idea....God has done so much in this, with this.  And even in these days that have left me face down wondering who pulled the rug out from under me....I haven't lost my words.  These sorrows, they carve me out hollow.  Like water on rock, making a way where there was none before.  They carve out a place for Him to fill.  Thankful.


Press and Relax

I decided to go. Last week was my first visit. Today I went back. Dealing with my muscles. Keeping them in order. Not waiting until I'm in complete knots before I seek assistance. Letting myself become undone. I laid there as she pressed down on the knots, the places that were bound. And it was uncomfortable. Yet the result was relief. And as she pushed on my hip I realized how deep within the tissue the hurt lay. It was not easily accessible. It was settled deep within the muscles holding it all together. The pressing was the only way to get the pain to release. But then came the stretching. And it stopped me cold. Press against my hand.... And she slowly counted. Relax. And as I did she moved my leg over just a little further. Over and again we did this. Over and again until my leg was returned to its rightful motion.  Over and again to let it heal. The pressing in let it prepare to be moved. The pressing wasn't painful. The movement after was. But each time further along then the last. 

I have been pressed lately. The pressing finds me in a whirlwind. Numb. And then the release. The quiet. The movement. The pain. Yet I know, I know. Just a little further forward I am.  Thankful. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Of Meltdowns and Day Ones

I ugly cried. Right there as he walked out the door, it founds its way up and I couldn't hold it back. The fear, worry, concern....it hit me hard.  Because this is day one on so many levels I can't even say. And He waits, He does until I'm flat level on the ground to whisper it...that too love, that one too.. And oh my lanta.....yeah. Because I just don't have it in me to fight Him on this anymore. This is unknown and I could lose it all. But then I already did...and gained more than I ever imagined. These days right here they suck. I'm just tellin' ya. They are not the kind for the faint of heart. They are the kind that a girl who learned to trust long ago is facing yet again. Test me and see if won't throw open the flood gates.... He tells me. Test me and see where I am anxious....I had said to Him. And so He has. And so I will. Because you either face it now or run smack into it later. This is the .1...... Thankful. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ramblings

The words were spoken in a teasing way...you should find a good male role model for him.... And they stung all the same. Because no matter how they were meant, it reminds me that I fear I have failed them. I should have done better. And in the face of all we are walking these days that is a heavy cross to bare. 

I'm reminded, 10 years ago, it was my first year starting the school year as a
Preschool Director. It had been us three for quite a while. We always had each other. They made me brave on levels that I had never known before. Because I was their mom. And even though what I swore would never touch their lives became a reality, I could still change things. I could make it ok. And when things did change that fall, I took a chance. And we have found ourselves right back round to this place again. So much new. But what has not changed ever is that we have each other. 

He was there long before she ever understood what a brother was. He was hers from the beginning. When finally, finally, he would sleep for more than a half hour and without me holding him in the recliner, I would climb into the shower and scrub as much skin as fast as possible before he could wake up and scream. To my surprise and no sound, I would walk quietly to their room to see her in his crib. All 15 months of her. He need me...she would say. Apparently that was true. She could quiet the screams heard down the block with my one who is so desperately quiet now. 

It's always been them. And they have always been mine. And they are still. Mine. That is one constant. She called me yesterday...I want to come home.... And I told her to just come. Even if it's midnight? Even then love. The door never closes. And so when I did hear the door and the excitement of the dog child around said time I knew. It was my girl. And she crawled into her mamas bed to go to sleep. Sometimes we just need to come home. To know that door is always open. To lay our heads down in the familiar where we know we are safe and loved and true rest can be found. Same with God's love for His children. We can always come home. Thankful.