Friday, January 23, 2015

The wound of my heart

I woke this morning feeling off.  At first, I couldn't tell what was wrong.  I went through a mental checklist-
  • Our family is safe and healthy.
  • I'm not angry or upset with anyone or {to my knowledge} is anyone angry or upset with me.
  • My husband and I are in a great place.
  • Our kids' hearts are peaceful - nothing is nagging at them that requires my mama heart to feel weighted down.
I could not put my finger on my sad heart...

until I sat to work on my Bible study.  I asked God to reveal to me what in the world was causing my heart to feel like it wanted to burst with tears.

I realized {thank you Lord} that my heart was feeling sad about my biological father.  There are times my heart will ache for the love he never offered me. 

It has been almost a year since he died and every once in a while I will get a jolt of the reality of it.  You see, I NEVER once heard the words I love you or I'm proud of you.  I never knew what it was like to be a daddy's girl or feel like a princess.

Please don't feel sorry for me or pity me.  I certainly don't.

The reality is that it hurts sometimes, but it doesn't define me.  I have come to fully know that God adores me and I am worthy and beautiful because of His love.  His love and my worth are not dependent upon human love.  The lack of my earthly father's love has no bearing on the love from my forever Father.  Just because my father could not, would not, or whatever not share love with me doesn't mean that I am less than what God created me to be.  All I have to do is open my eyes each morning and look around to see how much He loves me.

I don't share this with all of you so that you can think I'm brave, amazing, godly, or whatever title some may say.  I am human and have faults just like everyone else whom God created.

I share my heart with you in hopes that you, too, will know that you are loved by God no matter what your story is.  Yes, we may feel down and weary sometimes but God's love is more powerful and all encompassing than our wounded hearts.  Human actions and rejections are extremely powerful, but I have good news.  God's love and opinion trump all human power.  He gets the final say - and He says we are worthy and loved.  We were created specifically so that He could love all over us and spend eternity showing us how special we are. 

If your heart has wounds, let the above paragraph speak to it.  Allow God to trump all of those hurts and hold you.  Life - people - can kick us and knock us down, but God can pull us up and cause us to walk with a spring in our step and a love song on our hearts.  Let Him pick you up, sweet one. He is holding out His hand ready to dance with you.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Your biggest critic

If I asked you to write down who your biggest critic is, I’m pretty sure I could guess the answer without even peaking.  If you’re anything like me, you wrote your own name. 

We tend to critique every single thing about ourselves.  We can pick out that one strand of hair that refuses to cooperate.  We notice a fat cell on our bodies that no one else can see.  We question our intelligence and we play the compare game.  At times, we are our own worst enemies. 

If you sit and really think about it, that is so disturbing.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  We would never allow, not for one single second, someone to bash our children.  Our mama and papa bear instincts would kick in and we would growl and show our teeth – even if just for our kids to see. 

God created you and He created me EXACTLY how He desired.  He didn't create us in a hurry or with someone else in mind.  He looks at us and sees beauty.  Why don’t we??

My husband and I were discussing a party we had to attend.  I immediately began thinking of all of the women who would be there and started digging myself a hole.  What if they are beyond beautiful and dressed to a tee and I am the frumpy Cinderella in rags?  I told him how I was feeling and he looked at me as if I had grown another set of eyes and turned purple.  

My husband told me that of course I would be the most beautiful one to him at the party.  He told me that he always thought I was gorgeous and he loves me more with each day.  Sweet, I know.  The problem, however, wasn't what he thought about me.  It was what I thought about myself.  

My sweet husband gave me a wonderful reality check.  He reminded me that I am beautifully and wonderfully made.  He encouraged me to see what he sees and, more importantly, what God sees.  

So the bottom line is...why in the world do we do this to ourselves??

It's that old stupid compare game.  I hate the game, never volunteer to play, but sometimes get sucked in and then lose every single time.  

Guess who the author of the compare game is-
the stupid, no good, squatty devil!!!  He WANTS us to feel inferior to others.  He whispers in our ears that we aren't good enough, smart enough, and pretty enough.  He magnifies other's qualities in our minds.  

Here's the thing....he does the same thing to others about US!!  Other people compare themselves to us.  Ugh!  It is a nasty and viscous cycle.

I don't want this game in my head anymore.  How about you??  Are you done with it too?  It only causes heartache and pain.  Let's make a pact to throw it in the stinky trash.  Every time it threatens to come out, let's kick it and believe what Jesus has to say about us.  He says we are loved beyond measure, His children, and created in His image.

We can beat this, friends!  We can choose to believe Jesus over satan.  
__________________ is beautiful and wonderfully made! {Fill in the blank with your name.}

Friday, January 16, 2015

Be encouraged-your legacy is not your past

Do you have a closet of skeletal bones that if the door was opened, you would be horrified?  Do you have past sins that pain you when you think upon them?

Yea, me too.  My heart aches at some of my past choices and sins.  Sometimes I think upon them with such shame and wonder what in the world was I thinking!?

When I feel the heavy heat of shame overtake my heart, I have to remind myself that Jesus' ways are not my ways.  His thinking is not mine.  He isn't seated on His beautiful throne reliving our disgusting sins.  He is filling His heart each moment with love for us. He is looking upon our obedience and desire to live for Him and saying, "That a girl!  I have faith in you, sweet child."

You may be reading this and thinking, "How on earth can you be so sure?  You have no idea of the sins I have in my locked up closet."

I know because Jesus tells us it's so.  Allow me to show you-

Luke 7:36-50 tells us that Jesus was at the home of a Pharisee dining when a woman who was labeled a sinner came in and wept at His feet.  She cleansed Jesus' feet with her painful tears and rubbed her very expensive fragrant oil on them.  The Pharisee was outwardly horrified and disgusted.  He asked Jesus if He knew what kind of woman was touching Him and how on earth He could allow it.

The woman was labeled a sinner.  We are all sinners so I am led to believe that she had a very open sin that the town knew about.  The Scriptures do not detail her sin but if my guess is correct, I would say she was a prostitute.  I would bet she has a harried past and feels great shame and embarrassment.  I would also bet that many in the town treated her like yesterday's trash and looked down upon her.

Jesus explains to the Pharisee that those who are forgiven much, love much.  Jesus also tells the woman that she is forgiven.  He does not shame her or validate the Pharisee.  He actually calls the Pharisee out for being...well a Pharisee.

The best part of this story is told to us in Matthew 26:13-
I assure you:  Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.
Jesus assures us that our faith will be remembered, not our sins.  Our legacies will be based on our faith and devotion to Christ, not on our harried pasts that make our hearts heavy at times.
Isn't that an awesome balm for our hearts?!
While many of us wish we could erase our past sins, they are actually what have caused our hearts to be so devoted to our Savior.  Because we have been forgiven much, we love Him so very much.  He cleaned up our messes and threw His loving arms around us.  He welcomes us into His great Kingdom with open arms and a love that spins our heads with great devotion.
Be encouraged, sweet friends.  You are loved with a great fierceness by your King.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Word verification

I have had so much annoying spam, computer generated, or whatever they are - comments lately.  Because of these annoying people who create them, I have had to deal with my computer continually alerting me to viruses trying to attack my computer.

Why, oh why do people think it's cool, fun, hip, etc. to do this type of stuff??  It must be a sad life to mess with other people's things.  Growl, growl, growl!!

I have had to turn on the word verification for my blog comments.  I apologize for the inconvenience of typing letters and numbers to prove you are human.  In my case, I need more than numbers and letters to prove I'm human.  There are days I'm not certain I am human. ;)
Love to all of you sweet people...and thanks for not commenting with spam, robots, computers, etc.! :)

Muck is yuck

Our garbage disposal has been broken for quite a while.

 {Ok-I found out on Saturday that it wasn't really broken, it had just shorted out.} 

Because of the so called broken disposal, water backed up in our kitchen sink every time I ran the dishwasher.  I would have to sit in the kitchen for the hour the dishwasher ran and periodically scoop rising water out of the sink so it wouldn't overflow onto the cabinets and run down to the floor.

I became so used to the task that I didn't even mind.  I ran the dishwasher while I read through blogs, wrote, or read a book. 

On Saturday, we had a new sink, faucet, and disposal installed.  Yes...this girl did a happy dance!!  My step brother is a plumber and he kindly drove an hour and a half to install it all for us.  My dad joined him and we drank coffee and chatted.  Who knew that having a plumber over could be so fun!?

{My step brother is the one who showed me that our disposal really wasn't broken, just shorted out.  He showed us how to fix it if it happens to the new one.  If you ever need help starting a disposal again, I'm your girl!!  I now know you have to do more than push the red button on the bottom of the disposal. :)...}

Prior to the old disposal being removed, my dad stuck his hand down the drain.  When he pulled it out, it was covered in nasty muck.  Ugh!  It was nasty...and he told me so! :)

I began thinking of Psalm 40:2-3....

 Psalm 40:2-3:
{2} He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure.  {3} He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
Our lives can be so full of muck.  Our hearts can be filled with things that weigh it down and cause it to be unclean.  This muck can cause us to feel unworthy and unlovable.  It can cause us to be full of guilt and anxiety. 
Just like I was used to sitting in my kitchen and scooping water, we can become used to the muck that fills our lives and makes us feel yucky.  We begin to think our muck is normal.  We become immune to the weight on our shoulders and just try to get through a day.
Thankfully, God can clean out our muck and renew our hearts.  ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS ASK HIM AND THEN TRUST HIM. 
Psalm 40:3 promises that He will put a new song in our mouths and people will see our changed lives and trust the Lord.  What a wonderful declaration!!  Our old muck and new lives will cause others to trust in God. 
Who else but a Mighty and Wonderful God could, and would, use nasty lives restored to cause others to trust and love Him??  God takes all the dirty, grimy, nasty muck from our lives and fills us with beauty and peace.  And the good news is, He doesn't just do this once.  If we find that we are drowning in muck yet again, He lovingly washes us clean.
Do you feel weighed down by grimy muck?  Is your heart heavy with anxiety, fear, insecurities, pride, sinful behavior, lack of trust, etc.??  You don't have to live with it any longer.  Call out to God and tell Him you are ready for change.  Ask Him to cleanse you and show you a new way.  Once you do, breathe in the peace and trust that He has cleansed you and made you new.
Be free, sweet friends and enjoy your clean heart. <3 div="" style="text-align: left;">xoxo


Monday, January 12, 2015

Learning to Take Care of You

Mark 6:31
He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while."
For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

When my oldest was a baby, we lived in New York.  My husband and I are both from Texas and our little one was the first grandchild on both sides.  Needless to say, we flew home a LOT!!

Every time we flew, the flight attendants made sure I knew that if there was an emergency I needed to put my oxygen mask on before putting a mask on my little one.  Thankfully, I never had to experience this for real!

Because of all the flying we did, I adopted the phrase, "Put your oxygen mask on first".  When I am speaking to new mamas, worn out friends, or even myself I use this phrase.

We cannot be at our best if we feel depleted and lack the fuel we need to operate.  On a plane, lack of oxygen will cause us to pass out and eventually die.  In life, lack of care for ourselves will cause  burnout, depression, anxiety, and lots and lots of stress.

Often times, we feel guilty and/or selfish if we take time for ourselves.  We carry around the mentality that we have to be super people who give, give, give and never relax.  In our world if someone is not a super achiever, they are labeled a slacker.  Thankfully, that is not God's label.  He created rest and desires for us to use it.  He knows that without some rest and rejuvenation, we will not be on our game.

God did not create us to save the world.  He did not create us to fix everything, solve everything, and be everything to people.  We will never be difference makers if we fail to take care of the person God created us to be.

Putting on your oxygen mask will ensure that your heart and head are well rested.  You will feel revived and refreshed.  There is no shame in needing your oxygen mask!

Individual oxygen masks look different for each person. 

For me, I like to wake before my family and have quiet time with Jesus.  Also, it helps me to read at least one chapter in a book each day.  This reading can occur anytime throughout the day.  It is soothing for my soul to steal away and get lost in a book.

My husband's oxygen mask consist of quiet time alone doing yard work.  It is so soothing to him and allows his mind to be refreshed.

What does your oxygen mask look like? 

What causes you to feel refueled and refreshed? 

What is holding you back?  Keeping you from getting your God prescribed rest?

No matter what your oxygen mask looks like, don't be ashamed to admit you need it.  Failing to consistently put it on will cause you to feel overwhelmed and lack the essential body and mind energy to successfully conquer each day.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is energy for your soul.

If you find it difficult at first, try scheduling it out.  Make yourself a priority, sweet friend.  There is joy in rest and rejuvenation.

And when you find it difficult to settle down and rest because of guilt, a mile long to do list, etc., remember the words of your Savior - the one who calls you to rest.

Mark 6:31
He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while."
For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

Loving you all,

Friday, January 9, 2015

A few of my favorite things-

I am a woman who strives to live out loud and for real.  At the end of my life, I want people to know who I truly was and what I stood for.  My theory is, "What good is my life if I'm not living it for real?". 

I'm fairly sure you all know my heart pretty well.  I hope that I write with honesty.  I have written about fears, insecurities, blessings, and desires.  My life story has not been a bed of roses, but my hope is that my thorns have helped others in their journeys.

In order for you guys to know me even better, I decided to share my Top 10 list of favorite things.  I hope you enjoy peeking into what makes me smile. :)

1.  My kiddos.  You knew they would make it on my list - they make my heart strive to live well. 

2.  My little desk area.  It's small but it's mine and this is where I write and study God's Word. 

3.  My pink Bible.  I adore that it's pink!  It is written all throughout and the pages feel so comforting to my prying fingers.

4.  Our couch.  This is where we huddle together to watch movies, TV shows, sporting events, etc.  Many of cuddles have taken place on this couch.

5.  My make up.  I am a girl who enjoys all things make up!

6.  Books...need I say more!? 

7.  Our Nutra Ninja.  I love throwing in all kinds of good for me foods.  It's so easy and convenient and it makes me feel like I'm doing something good for my body and the bodies of my loves.

8.  My washer and dryer.  :)  I am one of those crazies who looks forward to laundry days {Every Sunday and Wednesday}.  I love the way the clothes smell and feel when I take them out of the dryer.  Maybe it's the sense of accomplishment??

9.  My morning cup of coffee.  I set my coffee pot each night to brew before I get out of bed.  Oh man, that first sip is always the best!!

10.  My husband...<3 nbsp="" p="">

I placed my kids first and my husband last because my family are my bookends.  Their love holds everything in place.

All of you are my #11.  I have met some wonderful people through blogging and my heart is so grateful.  I am sending all of you hugs and love!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Parenting...The Toughest Job Ever Created

Let's just be honest and get this out there -

Parenting is tough!  So many hats are required and often they must be worn at once.  I don't know about you, but there are times not one single hat seems to fit and I want to let my hair fly in the wind and be carefree.

The thing about parenting is that the little people in our lives rely on us for everything.  Regardless of how old they are, they want and need someone who will guide them, protect them and constantly have their backs.

Below I listed just a handful of hats we are required to wear-
  • Spirit lifter
  • Counselor
  • Chauffeur
  • Personal shopper
  • Confidant
  • Homework helper
  • Chef
  • Role model
  • Boo boo repair person
  • Teacher of Jesus
  • Forgiver
  • Grace giver
  • Relationship coach
I bet if we put our heads together, we could create a list that is several pages long.  We have huge responsibilities in our little human bodies.  Do you ever feel like you are ill equipped for the calling?  Yea, me too sometimes....

A friend of mine said something huge to me the other day and I haven't been able to get it out of my head.  She said -
God entrusted US to raise His children.  Would you trust just anyone with your children??  He must really love us and trust us to hand over His babes to us.

Her statement has caused me to really investigate the way I parent.  How am I talking to my kids?  Do they feel completely safe with me or do they fear telling me things?  Am I protecting them from the world, yet teaching them how to live in it with Jesus as their guide?  Do I show them grace just as my Father shows me?

That is a lot to think about, isn't it??

As parents, it is our number one job to teach our children the love of Jesus.  We are to help them as they grow hearts for Him.  This cannot be done with merely words.  We must live it every single minute of every single day.  We must love them with open hearts that accept their quirky ways and hard heads.  

When our children mess up, speak to us in ugly tones or are just in rotten moods we have to show them grace.  That doesn't mean we allow them to act like hooligans.  But it means we never withhold love and we offer forgiveness.  

Loving our children the way our Savior loves us means never shaming them.  We must never make them feel unworthy or unloved, regardless of what they have done.  Let's face it, we have done way worse and Jesus never shames us.  He loves us through it with redirection and guidance.

As parents, we are going to mess up.  There will be days that we are certain God should have never entrusted us with His babes.  These are days where we will have to ask for forgiveness from our children. While we may feel like idiots, these times are perfect learning opportunities for us and our children.  It is good for them to see us mess up and it is good for them to see that we, too, must ask for forgiveness.  They will learn the art of forgiveness and grace not only from our examples but also from our mistakes.  God can always take the ugly and make it beautiful.

Parenting is tough - the toughest thing we will ever do well - but it is so worth it.  The love that blossoms is worth more than gold.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Pop the Bubble

Have you ever noticed that it feels much safer to live in a bubble?  Within our bubbles, we guard ourselves from pain, rejection, and failure.

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone and she could not admit that certain things frustrated or upset her.  Out of her mouth kept coming, "Oh, it's fine.  Really it is.  Everything is great."  My heart ached for her because admitting discomforts, frustrations, and anger can be so healing.  I wanted to throw my arms around her and tell her that it was perfectly ok to just let it out. 

I'm certain that the reason my heart ached for her so much is because I have been in that exact place.  I know what it is like to protect my heart so much that I become numb.  I am not faulting her, judging her, or pointing the finger at her.  I could write the book on bubble life.

To live in a bubble is to live void of trust.

That's a difficult sentence for me to type.  To type it, I have to admit that when I live in the protection of my bubble I am not fully trusting Jesus to lead me and protect me.  This mistrust is not done out of spite.  Rather, it is done out of self preservation and is due to experiences and traumas that have been experienced.

I lived in a bubble for years - and if I'm being completely honest, I still sometimes crawl into my bubble and get comfy. 

Within our bubbles, we aren't living the lives that Jesus has for us.  We are avoiding situations that may cause discomfort or effort.  It is in these situations that many people could be touched by us. 

Can you think of a situation or a time when you hid yourself away only to realize later that you missed an opportunity to share love with someone?

These times aren't necessarily times in which our physical bodies weren't present.  More often, these are times in which our hearts weren't present.

I recently read something that said when we feel fear rising in us say, "I trust you Jesus". 

Isn't that why we crawl into our bubbles in the first place - fear??

What if we choose to trust Jesus more and hide in our bubbles less?  Oh the victories that would be ours!

I want to live out loud for Jesus even when it means avoiding my bubble.  It's not easy - in fact, it may be one of the hardest things we do - but it will be so worth it to live a life of pure and complete trust.  It will be worth it to lay our heads on our pillows at night and know we completely trusted in the One who created us.

I wonder what we can accomplish for His Kingdom when we choose trust over bubbles?

Won't you join me?  Let's do this Jesus living for real!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Plaque of Insecurities

A friend and I were recently discussing insecurities.  We were feeling frustrated that we are plagued with various ones.  We are Jesus girls, by golly, and we want complete freedom over things that cause our hearts to wilt a bit when ugly winds whip through our minds.

We pray, we read our Bibles, we make choices that honor Jesus, we use edifying language yet, at times, we can feel icky.

I'm guessing you are shaking your head because you get exactly what I'm saying. 

My friend and I discussed how these insecurities can make us feel so defeated at times.  Not because we allow them to overtake our hearts, but because we feel like phony Jesus girls. 

I mean, really, shouldn't we have all of our stuff together?  Shouldn't our bags be empty and nicely tucked in our well organized closets?

Thankfully, Jesus does not think the way we think!!  He doesn't see us as phony girls.  He sees us as girls who are trying with all of our might to live for Him and by His word.  He knows that the world can bring us down and cause us to hang our heads sometimes.

The good news is that we are the only ones beating ourselves up.  When we are down and out because of an insecurity, Jesus reaches down His hand and waits for us to grab on so He can pull us back up.  He doesn't shake His head and say, "Ugh!!  What a phony loser.  I am so not wasting my time!"

My friend and I came to a couple of conclusions...

1.  If Jesus expected us to never feel an insecurity, He wouldn't have included verses in the Bible about leaning on Him when we are weary.
{Matthew 11:28...Come to Me, all of you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.}

2.  When we are plagued with an insecurity, it is in the way we handle it that matters.  Will we give in to the insecurity and believe the lies or will we go to Jesus and let Him build us back up?  Will we be victims or victors?
{Philippians 1:27...Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.}

Jesus doesn't promise us that our lives will be peachy keen and trouble free.  He does promise, however, that He will be with us every step of the way.  We don't have to feel shame because our hearts feel insecure at times.  We don't have to be robots that try and convince ourselves that life is perfectly wonderful.  We are instructed to tell Jesus and then let Him mend our hearts. 

There is great peace when we stop trying to be perfect and we allow our hearts to be soothed by our King.

May you never feel shame over an insecurity-