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Where’s Your Safety?

My daughter is 14.  I’m pretty sure I’m at that phase of life where I’m learning more from her than she is from me.  I woke up this morning and this is what she posted on her Instagram last night. “With what is happening in the world, I’m learning to put my stress and anxiety in the Lord’s hands.  He’s where I feel safe and I know I can trust Him. Life gets hard, there’s bumps in the road, but He has guided me around those bumps, like when the door is locked, there is a window, or a back door.  Just reminding you that He is always there for you, anytime of day.” Drop the Mic. Girl has a point people! 

It’s crazy to walk through this experience together and watch the emotions that each person feels. I mean, it’s not like we’ve ever gone through anything like this before so the territory we are walking on is not common. There’s no right or wrong way to feel it or experience it. For myself, I go from what can I clean next to nah, I’ll just sit and binge watch Greys Anatomy. Ha.  I’m starting to debate on asking my kids to just stay in the same clothes for like 2 or 3 days so that laundry doesn’t have to enter my vocabulary each hour of the day. I mean, it’s not like they are getting dirty or anything. Also, pretty sure I’m becoming a ‘yes’ mom. Kid, ‘Mom, can I have a Hershey bar?’ Me, ‘Did you eat a carrot? It totally evens out then. Go for it.” 

Ok, but let’s get back to the deep thoughts by Heather haha. Bottom line, you can never be isolated from Jesus. I know, I know, super cheesy but it’s true right?  I mean, my daughter is preaching it to you right there. Our safety is Him. We are gonna get past this craziness in a few months and begin life as usual and what’s gonna happen?  More storms will come our way. More doors will close where we wanted them to open. Social media won’t be so nice anymore ha and we will feel isolated in other ways. He’s never letting go though.  Many times it’s us that’s loosening our grip onto Him because we are scared, unsure. Now is the time to strengthen that tie. Now is the time in our unusual circumstance to jump into Him. I mean, it’s not like we don’t have extra time on our hands, right? 

Where are you at with Jesus?  Maybe you haven’t cracked open your Bible in years.  Maybe praying to Him feels weird. Maybe you are questioning if he even exists. Maybe just maybe in those places you are, you feel this tug, like there’s more because there is.  Maybe you’ve got a killer relationship happening but this situation in the world has caused fear, loss of belief, and just questioning. It’s so ok. The best part about our Father is he loves it when we come as we are.  You know why? Cause He’s our knight and shining armor that swoops in and saves the day. It gives Him a chance to show off and do His thang. Keep your heart open. He will meet you there. Just spend some time with Him. 

“Courage does not always roar.  Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

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We Shall Overcome

So here we go friends.  Not only will I be at least 15 pounds heavier by the end of hibernation but I’ll also realize I was not meant to be a teacher. Ha.  God bless all of you that deal with our children on a regular basis for the sake of education. In all honesty though, this is hard, scary, unsure, uncommon ground, unknown.  I’m not a big fan of any of those words. I was telling my hubby the other day, this really isn’t good for anyone that struggles with mental issues. This is all completely out of our control and no one knows the outcome or what’s next.  Yea, extra drugs may also be needed throughout our close time together. I’ve decided that it’s one thing to choose to walk into the unknown territory but when thrown into it without being asked, it leaves room for fear to creep in ahead of peace. 

I don’t know what these days of crazy brings for you. It could stir up fear but also anger, sadness, frustration. Not that this isn’t totally huge, but the way we react to this situation in our world should be no different then the way we react or want to react when it comes to those hard storms we encounter every day. This seems bigger though, I get it, but at the time, so did losing your loved one, or the loss of your job, or walking through depression, or abuse, and the list goes on.  Here’s the thing, the core of our being exists solely on the peace and hope of Jesus if He’s what we are focusing on and looking toward. I don’t have the answers. I’m frustrated that more than likely I’ll be cancelling my Spring Break trip, I’m angry that this is happening cause it’s cramping my style, but I’m also sad that there are so many that don’t know where to go with those feelings. We’ve got a Jesus that we can cling to, knowing He’s got a plan even if we can’t quite understand it right now. This is a beautiful time to speak truth into so many and especially our rock’n children. This is truth and power right here.  Isaiah 48:13, “My hand founded the earth; my strong hand spread out the heavens.  When I call to them, they all stand up.” Dude, think about that.  His power exists over all things.  This is HIS world not ours. If we keep some of that in check with our minds, the anxiety level of what’s happening goes down a couple notches. 

We’ve got this, friends.  Bags of chips and all! 🙂

“The best part of life is not just surviving but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.”

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He’s Got It

I was behind the stage and I thought for sure I was either gonna pass out or throw up.  I had a big solo and had been practicing for it all week. I was young. My legs were shaking it.  I remember praying my brains out like, God, please just let me make it through and not screw up. It was a big production put on at camp and I was starting to begin to see that performing was what I loved, singing and being on stage was my gift. It was now time to let it all go and give it away.  I had to know that I did my best to get this far and He has got the rest. I stepped on that stage shaking. I can still physically feel everything I felt but I killed it. I mean, not to brag or anything but heck, when you spend that much time preparing and more time flipping out, it’s nice to know it ended well ha. 

John 16:33 says, “I’ve said these things so that you will have peace in me.  In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”   If you haven’t heard, there’s been a few things happening in our world lately.  Unless you are living under a rock, which actually may help you at this point, things have kind of hit the fan. This has really hit my oldest the hardest so far.  He has a germophobe issue in the first place and loves to research and keep up with everything happening in the world. Needless to say, it has brought some high anxiety for him.  Yesterday he wore gloves to school all day. This being said, I’ve looked my kids straight in the eyes and told them, we believe in a HUGE God who has got our back. This doesn’t mean all the bad disappears but it does me he protects, He can give us peace when instead of focusing our eyes solely on the problems around us, we begin to look up.  I’m gonna say the same to you. We’ve all hit scary points in our lives and I think when the world collectively hits scary, crap hits the fan and we aren’t sure what’s up or down. You aren’t walking this alone. We aren’t walking this alone. Yes, we need to do the right precautions and do what’s best for ourselves and each other but remember that the creator of this world is hard at work.  He already knows the outcome. He already knows what tomorrow will bring. I personally would rather put my faith and trust in that then the unknown. Again, this doesn’t minimize what is happening and the truth of what needs to be done but I don’t want to sit in constant fear. In this truth, there can be peace. He has already overcome the world which means that peace lives inside of you.  He has already conquered this! Now good luck and God speed on finding your toilet paper and Clorox wipes! 🙂

The Light of God surrounds me.

The Love of God enfolds me.

The Power of God protects me.

The Presence of God watches over me.

The Mind of God guides me.

The Life of God flows through me.

The Laws of God direct me.

The Power of God abides within me.

The Joy of God uplifts me.

The Strenghth of God renews me.

The Beauty of God inspires me.

Wherever I am, God is!

(Written by James Freeman, a soldier during World War II)

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A Fishy Tale

So here’s a story for ya.  We had a fish. His name was Finnball.  Actually the fish was my youngests but he very quickly forgot it existed and I was the one feeding it. He was a feisty fish but held on for a good two years.  A few weeks ago, he was upside down. His time to be with Jesus had come. Thinking he would never know, I prayed Finnball down the toilet and called it a day. Not smooth. A few days ago, Cooper jumped up on the counter to say ‘Hi’ to his friend and well, things went downhill quick. At first, he tried to play cool.  That lasted for about 30 seconds and then he lost it. He was a mess till he went to bed, praying to Jesus before he fell asleep to tell Finnball he said ‘Hello.’ My heart is now officially ripped out of my body. 

As he was falling asleep next to me with swollen eyes, I began thinking, we are so quick to assume we know how people should or would react to certain situations. Cooper is my super soft heart, emotional kiddo.  I assumed by just taking care of the situation myself, he would never know or it would be easier on him. That definitely wasn’t the case. We all walk this life with so much we’ve already wrestled with or fought through. When you read quotes like, “You never know what someone is going through, be kind,” there’s so much truth to it. The battle that we are fighting each day or that others are walking through is not written all over everyone’s face.  We have a way of reacting or seeing things differently than the person next to us or even our best friend. There’s no right and wrong so there needs to be more grace, more understanding, more kindness. My other kiddos were quick to want to chuckle at him and I shut that down real fast. This hurt his heart when for them, it was just a fish. We need to step back more and maybe even close our mouths before we decide to judge how someone is trying to fight through life.  I know I’ve written about this before but I’m so passionate about it. Battles in life are happening to each individual and for some it might be a fish that died and for others it could be going through a divorce, abuse, depression, loss of a child, a loved one but no words are spoken. Instead they may end up losing it over a comment you said or just the way you looked at them. Pain has a funny way of showing its face at the worst times but if we combat that with compassion, sympathy, and some understanding, we could completely change someone’s life. Ephesians 4:2 says it best, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”  Side note, this applies also to your own heart. You’ve fought, you’ve cried, you’ve won, you’ve lost, you’ve endured.  When you have a day, cover yourself with love, compassion, warmth, grace, understanding because that’s what Jesus is doing for you already.  We need to follow in His footsteps. 

Don’t worry, another fish was purchased the following morning. His name is Finny and I’m sure my son will feed it for a few days and then forget he’s even there but you know what?  Compassion and understanding is what we left him with. No, suck it up! or, you did this! No pointing fingers, just trying to show love. Go out today and show love to not only those you make eye contact with but also the one you see in the mirror. 

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”

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Grab On

Is it a bad thing that your kids come home with their report cards, have straight A’s, and say, you wouldn’t know what that feels like mom, would you? Ha.  No, No I wouldn’t. I tell them constantly to not follow in my footsteps when it comes to school. I was the kid who smiled really big at my teacher, batted my eyes, and begged for a C so I wouldn’t get in trouble at home. I’m honest with them and say, I didn’t try very hard.  School didn’t come naturally for me so then I just assumed I couldn’t do it. When I felt defeated, I threw in the towel. I realize now that there were so many other things internally that brought down the confidence in who I was but back then, it seemed like a battle I just couldn’t win and didn’t feel like fighting. 

How often do we get to that point, right? We hit these roadblocks, these challenges, these moments of, that was not supposed to happen, and next thing we know we are throwing in the towel. Waving the white flag sometimes looks a bit easier than facing the ugly head on. There are a million times that I’m like, God, what are you doing? Ok, more like a billion times and maybe it’s more like, God, why would you have that happen?  The picture that He sees and the picture that I see don’t seem to measure up on a regular basis. In Proverbs 3:5 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”  Boo!  I know this is truth and I know His ways are better than mine but there are just days.  There are days when it’s just hard to see what He’s doing. I know you’ve been there or you are there.  It can be hard to lean on Him, to trust Him, to realize He truly does have our best interest in mind. He sees things we don’t.  He knows the future that will better us and we don’t. I’m realizing it’s a matter of getting to a complete surrender place. That surrender comes deep inside our souls because dear lord, our minds like to play games and tell us a different story some days. The heaviness that we end up feeling with the overwhelming situations in life is because we let go of His hand. When we loosen our grip, we step into the fear, into the unknown, into our own way of solving things. Pretty sure we’ve all seen what happens when we start playing god. 

Just in case you were wondering, I wasn’t a complete failure throughout my whole educational career. By the time I hit college, which is crazy that I even made it in but we won’t go there, I let go of everyone else’s expectations, including my own. I dug down and started to find the truth that Christ planted inside of me. Instead of always trying to fix everything myself, I started letting go and passing it over to Him. I started to believe. We need to believe that good things are meant to be in our lives.  Sometimes we get stuck in thinking bad will always be around the corner. It’s just not how God works. You are meant to do amazing and beautiful things, filled with a life of love and joy. Just give him your hand. He will guide you through the unknown. 

“When you let go, something magical happens, you give God room to work.”

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There Are Days

There are times when I get flashbacks so bad that it stops me in my tracks. I’ll be at the store, driving my car, cleaning the house ,and I’m frozen. The pain rushes back through my body and I physically can’t move. The faces of my kids, my bedroom, all these triggers that my eyes see what happened again have a tendency to spiral my thoughts in a million different directions. For a moment I’m back there.  My safety is gone. My innocence is lost. A piece of me is stolen. Inside I’m screaming for help and no one hears me. 

Ummm…so that’s depressing, you say.  Ha, I’m not gonna leave you there in my yucky place, don’t worry.  We’ve all got a piece of our souls that got hurt, that were torn out, that were so gut wrenching that we think we aren’t gonna live another day.  It’s in these moments that I feel as if we all should be allowed to move to a beach far far away, right? We all wish, but instead we’ve gotta fight through.  For a long time I hung out in this feeling, I’m not a gonna lie. It was easier to just sit in this pain then claw my way out but I learned and I’m still learning that I’m bigger than the pain.  I’m more powerful than what happened to me. If we stay in the agony we feel, it will disable us and not allow any movement to move forward with our lives. I literally visualize me placing all of that which is inside of me at the time in my hand and literally throwing it, whipping it across the earth.  Maybe I’m throwing it into the arms of Jesus because in all honesty, I just can’t carry it anymore. 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is enough for you, because my power is made perfect in weakness.”  We will not be defeated in our painful situations or with what has inhaled our hearts with hurt. The pain that you feel is inevitable but suffering in it is an option. You decide. Jesus is there to pick us up when we have days where walking out of the house seems like torture. Jesus is there to take the heaviness in our hearts and fling is across the earth.  You just gotta give Him a chance. You just gotta let Him in. 

Yes, we need to feel our pain.  We need to find the truth behind why it hangs out there but let it change you.  You are so brave in waking up each day and conquering the thoughts and feelings that could swallow you up. Change isn’t black and white.  Change doesn’t happen overnight. (Hey, I just rhymed ha!) The journey is slow and scary at times but so worth it. 

“I have no power to control the weather.  But I can bring an umbrella.”