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)

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.”

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.”

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.”

Seriously Though, Stay In It

There’s value to your lane. Stay in it.  Her body is not supposed to be your body.  That job was not meant for you. That friendship built outside of you wasn’t meant for you because there’s another bff coming in your lane.  That perfect life portrayed on social media has its flaws you know nothing about. Stay in your lane. Here’s the thing, when we start jumping ship and flying into the next lane we are gonna hit some serious traffic and potholes. We aren’t meant to drive in someone else’s lane. Your beautiful life was shaped just for you.  The job that you are sitting in wondering why you are even there has a purpose. The unending piles of laundry we are forever folding has a purpose, or does it? hahaha. You get where I’m going with this. 

 Man, it’s so easy to compare and think what it would be like if I could just have so and so’s life or so and so’s body or so and so’s job or fill in the blank. We miss out on what’s sitting right in front of us if we are constantly looking into the lane next to us.  It’s never gonna happen. It’s not meant for us so why do we keep drooling over it? At some point, looking straight ahead and allowing our minds and hearts to focus on us, the good that resides around us, needs to be it. Period. Yes, we’ve all got some serious flaws, rough relationships, scars for days, living paycheck by paycheck, kids screaming but look ahead in your lane. What’s there?  What have you accomplished? Look at how far you have come and what you have achieved. You are perfectly created and beautifully made. Your lane consists of intimate details that only you can conquer and follow through on. Your dreams and your desires are only found and met in your lane. Your Jesus is walking with you in your lane. He can’t meet us where we need to be met if we are all swimming in another lane and flying somewhere else, ya know what I’m saying? Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  We’ve gotta delight in Him all over the place while walking confidently beside him in our lane.  He knows what you need, what you desire, what your heart is longing for and he desperately wants to give it to you but He can’t if you aren’t standing on the sidewalk with your name on it. 

Don’t miss out on what you’ve got going for you because you’re too focused on what’s not meant to be yours.  My lane consists of pink hair, lots of tattoos, scars for days and the list goes on but that’s me, not you. You might be deathly afraid of needles and pink hair makes you want to puke.  I’m ok with that, I think ha! Honestly though, You are made perfectly flawed just for your perfectly flawed lane. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t need our perfect Jesus. Now go get your drive on. 

“You can only run your own race.  Stay in your lane. Don’t look at what others are doing.  Those that look back in the race usually fall off.”

Time to Get Out

I love closets.  I know, you’re like, what?  But hear me out. I think we’ve all been there and used the closet as an escape. There’s something safe about being enclosed. Well, I guess you might not enjoy it as much if your closet is a hot mess but each to his own ha. No one could touch me there or so I thought. I’ve cried in there, journaled in there, escaped screaming children in there, cut in there. It’s a place where, for some reason, it just feels like no one can see you. It’s a place where I feel or often felt like the world outside stood still for a second while I tried to pull everything together.  The closet wasn’t going to tell everyone I lost it, or I couldn’t get my crap together, or that I was failing and fearful. 

In the end, I eventually needed to come out. I needed to face that fear or that failure head on. The closet is ok to get lost in for a time but eventually when we step out, what we are running from is still there. My cutting escaped the four walls of a closet and kept getting worse, fear and sadness still met me when I opened the door. Here’s what I’m learning my sweet friends.  Yes, we need to meet those ugly emotions head on but also, coming out gives the opportunity to grab happiness and joy instead of sitting there waiting for it to come to us. We need to open the door and allow it all to pour out. We need to allow the ugly to come to the surface so that we make room for the good that’s waiting on the other side. What brought you into that closet does not define you. What brought you into that closet doesn’t have to control you.  What brought you into that closet needs to be crushed by the hand of Jesus. He gives us this promise, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has a passed away.” Revelation 21:4.  There’s nothing too dirty or ugly or smelly that God can’t completely wipe away or give to goodwill. You’re precious heart is held in His hands daily.  Every second of every day He sees you and walks beside you. It doesn’t matter if you are hiding in the closet or screaming from the roof tops, He’s there. 

How long have you been sitting in the closet beating yourself up?  How long have you been hiding in there thinking that everything around you will disappear?  I so get it, like so get it BUT the sooner you step out, the sooner you step into grace. You will be surprised that you aren’t alone in where you hide or sit. We’ve all been there, so together lets walk out and seek our truth.  Let’s all step out together with our shields up and fight. 

“There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.”

Embrace What Is

Change. Sometimes you just want to flip it off, right?  Maybe it’s just me. It can break you. It can spin your brain into a million different places until you land on what’s really the right direction. There can be change in circumstances, relationships, your body (hello 42!), your emotions each moment, and the list goes on. Sometimes we are the cause of the change and sometimes change happens without us even being asked. It can cause your whole life to transform in a blink of an eye for better or worse.  There are times where you can control which direction it goes and times that your hands are tied. 

Consistency has not been common in my life. People have broken my heart in two, unexpected crossroads has made me question which direction life is really taking me. My sweet daughter came home from school the other day and you know what she said to me? “Mom, we were talking about eating disorders in health class today.  Actually, we’ve been talking about almost everything you’ve dealt with in health class. You really lived a rough life.” Sweet baby girl. Guess what, I know each of you have had a rough go too. I don’t say that to make anyone feel sorry for me. Truth, it actually empowered me. Here’s the thing, change normally doesn’t have a pretty face on it in the beginning. We question why, what’s happening, what do I do with this.  Then we go, we embrace it because, I mean, we don’t really have a choice, and we change with it. Life has taken so many unexpected turns in my life, especially these past couple years that I’m almost surprised I take a shower ha! Can I tell you something though? I think God protects us in the change. There are things we don’t see. There are conversations and situations that He can only witness and protect us from.  Many times we think that our road is paved out and we are walking all confidently but little do we know there’s a massive fire crossing over the path. Psalm 121:7&8 gives us this promise, “The Lord will protect you from all evil; God will protect your very life.  The Lord will protect you on your journeys–whether going or coming–from now until forever from now.”  Sometimes change happens because remaining on that path will cause pain that will almost destroy us. He knows that before we can even see it.

I shut down.  That’s what I do with change.  I think I’m protecting myself when really I’m delaying the blessings that God has in store for me in the change. What’s happening in your life right now?  Are you in the middle of change? Is change on the horizon? You are brave and courageous my sweet friend. Together we need to build off the new instead of fighting to get the old back. We need to jump into the new chapter with some new dance shoes on, embracing the possibilities of what could come. 

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.”