How do I find my voice

  
In a single minute we have more access to technology than many of our ancestors would even know what to do with much less care to utilize. I could look up the statistics, but that would be in direct opposition to what I’m thinking on today. 

I’ve seen several posts regarding national women’s day which have mostly included pleas concerning their own daughters finding their strength, voice, wisdom, etc. I don’t have a daughter, but I am a woman. 

I love people and learned how to do that from my husband (after deep conviction from the Holy Spirit that this is a main crux of the gospel). I don’t love as well as I would like and find myself frantic to invest into my children, be active and helpful for our parents (however, they’re honestly STILL doing this in our season of life more than I would have chosen), and to come alongside my husband’s endeavors whatever that may be (him being out after or before work to serve/minister, giving him time alone to rest and Sabbath-though he’s stubborn there due to his lively & passionate desire to be with us, pushing him to take time away with friends, etc). 

I don’t feel neglected or lost in my identity. I know Who I belong to for eternity and for whom I’m living here on earth. My husband is steadfast in ministering to me in so many ways–sleeping in (my love language), encouraging me to have a day for the boys to go to grandparents and I spend time alone (again, my love language) and so many other ways. 

Because sleeping and being alone are my (jokingly) love languages, I am hampered in building friendships. My new diagnosis (Multiple Sclerosis) has given viability to those loved activities (sleeeeeeep please) and anything alone to refresh. There is a take on energy called “spoon theory” and it is referenced by most chronic autoimmune disease sufferers (MS has been thrust into that category, though, like all things MS, still mostly unknown). It basically means you have only so many spoons of energy a day and you have to choose wisely how they are used for the day. Let me just say, on a rare day filled with fatigue, a shower and getting ready is pretty much ALL of my spoons (and it makes me so angry because I’m learning how this does not equate laziness but goodness it so FEELS like it). But, I’ve learned how to maneuver that and make it work for our life because I cannot slow down and won’t. 

Finding my voice takes energy. Finding my voice takes thought and action. I have preferred the written word for much of my life. Want to know what I’m thinking? May I send you an email? Some of my best friends have said “can you just call me?” Because I can text with you into the depths of my heart and you will get more of my soul than anyone on earth standing face to face with me. It’s a flaw for me, I know. It speaks to my heart when you’ll take my test conversations. I have learned that if I want to be loved by a friend understanding that I would rather text, I have to live by understanding they’re a verbal processor and I need to call them. This will land on the hearts of some of my people and make them think I never want to talk in person or on the phone, ever. That’s not true, this is how we grow in finding our voice. It’s not about me being heard. 

Finding my voice is about me growing and taking baby steps to be stronger. These same friends now text and let me process via text and allow me, in my own time, to call them! And I do. I’m much faster to pick up the phone now. It’s not about being awkward or uncomfortable like some of my introvert friends. I’m the most outgoing introvert there ever was and continue to enjoy being around and with people. But, I have a “recover time”. Anyone else? 

This is still my happy place. Writing. Conveying my thoughts, ideas, convictions (risky, given the absurd speed at which “opinion” travels and the backlash that can ensue before you can ask “I can’t have an opinion?!) and hopes, dreams, and fears. 

Scripture tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. I have a love/fear relationship with one of my giftings (prophecy). It prompts me to think beyond the heart and feelings (which is healthy) but sometimes keeps me in my head (my momma always said I had common sense 😂) and out of my heart. It has proven to me that I must seek to be like Christ because a prophet sees the hard and real and sometimes misses the mercy and grace. 

Today, on national women’s day, I’m finding my voice by admitting that I have some serious steps to take in building deeper friendships. Our culture of women keep talking about “my people” and “my tribe” and though it sounds wonderful, I want to make sure mine knows I’m just as much a part of being honest and vulnerable in having a voice to share as much as I ask and wish from them. 

It seems ironic to say I’m going to talk and not just listen, but to reciprocate friendship I have to be known, too. It seems arrogant. I have wisdom that tells me many of my closest friends who know me and value me will be elated to know I’m ready to be known, too. I won’t just be asking the questions anymore. I won’t just be saying “I’m okay…how was that….the other day that we prayed about?” 

Finding my voice will be a work in process. When most of us process, we start where we’re comfortable.  I’ve started where I’m comfortable but it’s vulnerable and I’m trusting the Lord to move mountains in my heart and flesh. 
  

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my blind spot is multiplied

There are so many reasons why it is hard for the human heart to be vulnerable. But the “let’s just be real” reason for me most of the time is my great want for authority, respect, & admiration. I told you I was getting real. I could put that blanket reason out there-pride. That generic description doesn’t get to the root of my sin though, that word just give my root sin a label.

When it comes to conviction & sanctification, wouldn’t it be soooo much less excruciating if the Spirit just pierced out hearts? I mean, I would rather the Spirit deal with me right down to the heart….just me & all alone. I’m a coward at heart.

But He knows far deeper ways to permeate my soul & flesh. It’s far more sifting, sanctifying, & lasting for Him to go about dealing with my heart by actually utilizing the very depths of what make my church.

Let me just try to face it, I’m like my 3 year old when it comes to obedience to the Lord in becoming more like Christ. I’m going to grunt, growl, stomp, run away, cross my arms, and scream when it’s hard for some hard obedience. Especially the kind that requires a change in me & from me.

Here’s how He reveals my blind spots. He uses my husband & children. CRINGE.

Not fair, says the immature 32 year old wife and mom.

I was looking in my rear view mirror to change lanes & I thought, I rarely even use my rear view mirrors. It was busy traffic & I desperately needed to change lanes. I want to make sure those blind spots were clear.

Instant parallel. I wanted to make sure my family was safe, so I checked my blind spots. Same principal in life. When He’s leading & speaking, check my blind spots. Where am I missing Him and where I am trying to just “make things work” by just weaving in and out of traffic? Jumping around in life and not really being intentional (buzz word I know, so TRY to think about the reality of that in relation to what I’m sharing).

We love people. We love serving. This is what God uses to purge the sin from our flesh. This side of Heaven, He will not ever finish sifting us. I’m thankful that He pursues me hard and constant to purge the sin. It may take so very long in some places, but He never gives us. I must learn to not give up checking my blind spots. My blind spots are usually revealed by my relationships with my husband and children. As much as I would love for them to not have to learn of my sin or be a part of the purging thereof, I’m grateful for the great testimony they are of God’s grace.

They love me just the same.

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

What is vulnerable?

It’s telling you that I’ve had a day full of “I wish I was……” insert anything from prettier to a better cook. This thought life is actually very uncharacteristic of me.

I’m not the most confident person in the world, but The Lord dealt very seriously, albeit graciously, with me concerning my self-image and self-condemnation a few years ago. It has been a point of interest for my heart & a place I speak Truth to myself about on a regular basis.

So for this day of useless comparison and self-loathing to be battering me, I felt a little caught off guard. Every picture I saw contained someone with bold fashion statements, risk-taking make-up, toned physique, steel like nerves with their children…..all the qualities I felt were supremely insufficient in my existence.

Then I remembered my post on Facebook yesterday.

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I let him in…he stole from me. I felt betrayed. Then I remembered that’s his nature. I’ve never trusted the enemy so there was nothing to betray. I let down the guard. I wasn’t vigilant with my heart or my thoughts today.

Thankfully, The Lord empowered my weak mind and heart to see what today held for me in terms of my need for a Savior.

Just like that::I repented & forgiveness separated me from the sin that had entangled me for a moment.

when answers don’t come

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when driving home for nap time, I whispered “please God, send the rain” and i heard about 30 times “PLEEEEEEASE God, send the RAIN!” from Drake. we got home and he said…”I guess He didn’t want to send rain right now”. a theology lesson ensued about how God answers prayers. i think the lesson was more for me than my son.

if you didn’t know, northern texas is on the doorstep of Stage 5 drought conditions. it’s devastating. i dare say you can understand if you haven’t seen this kind of dryness. our lakes are drying up. our yards are dead. our trees are dropping huge branches. it’s terribly sad.

there are areas of our family’s life that have seemed like the wilderness. places in our life and hearts that we have prayed for years that God would deliver and heal. so far, he hasn’t done either.

then there are places in the life of our family that we have prayed, and immediately received exactly what we needed and/or wanted.

did the same God handle both of those circumstances? absolutely. he was not a better Provider for us when He gave us our request than in the places where He hasn’t given direction or resolution.

where we lack for understanding, He is still Providing. He’s providing because He is walking with us, teaching us what it means to trust Him. He’s providing because He is giving the faith to realize and proclaim that we believe Him….even when we don’t understand, even when we hurt, and even when we have severe wants.

we are not exempt from the struggle of this world and the struggle with sin when we trust Christ. we are given a new set of tools with which we can maneuver this earth. what grace and sufficiency He is to empower us with great access to wisdom and trust. we just need to ask. sometimes our knees, but ask nonetheless.

He’s always there. He doesn’t see our times as good or bad. He seems them as He ordained them-we walk, knowing He’s in control and sometimes He’s more interested in growing our hearts and character than growing whatever might come from our requests.

Psalm 139

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in [f]Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will [g]overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark [h]to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

so you think this is hard.

many of our college students, friends, family, and even ourselves are going through some really hard things.

just today….

i visited with a friend who just said good-bye to their Ethiopian daughter they will never bring home. you can read their story HERE.

a couple from our church lost their sweet twin boys. you can read their story HERE.

my husband’s journey. you can read that HERE.

my most recent trial(s). you can read that HERE.

i received a text from someone on the verge of divorce. their last ditch effort is a conversation tonight after their kids are in bed.

a girl lost her grandmother last night and she’s grieving while comforting her mother.

various and serious medical issues for 3 men in our family.

a girl being inconvenienced by check fraud. and violated.

hospital visits and death in our family over the past 3 months.

fostering and adopting families on journeys with only unknowns, nothing predictable, and the emotional roller coaster it is

just today i prayed over all of these. these people. these journeys. these seasons. these questions.

as i was praying, the Lord pricked my heart. He reminded me of a situation…..a circumstance…….a heartache…….a shift in my journey…..a turn i wasn’t expecting…….a decision that seemed abnormal for me……….

while He flooded my memory and heart with these, i realized they were all memories NOW. at the time of their dramatic descent on my rather “perfect” (rose colored glasses are deceiving, eh?) life, these were not memories, but very real interruptions. they brought me to my knees. sanctified me. sanded and sifted in very painful, real ways. i had no choice but to walk through these moments. to experience them. to hurt through them. to ache.

when we’re faced with the tragic, aching, seemingly unfathomable….we have no choice but to walk through. He brought us to it. the moments i’m talking about are the ones we didn’t choose. we didn’t create. the deaths. the steps of obedience that seem painful. the miscarriages. the end of a dream for adoption or fostering. the call of a minister and family to a far away place that is exciting but hard all at the same time. an unexpected pregnancy. a diagnosis.

while remembering many of these in my own life, He also revealed me to myself. who i am today is a direct reflection of all the hard. the joy is there because the hard was there. the shiny exists because He has sanded….and sanded….and sanded. when the difficult comes now, i can say,

experience this season for all it’s worth because there are diamonds coming out of this rough.

it has taken a lot of hard times, trials, hurting, and sifting for me to be in a place that welcomes the hard and difficult moments of life. because i see now that those only lasted for a minute in His eternal perspective. some of them are still working on us. He sees the end. He’s working in and with me now to grasp all that i can from the difficulties of each season.

we’re all in a season. and each season has it’s own unique description and purpose. He has ordained our story. before we were born, He knew us and our story. i want to walk through each season, getting everything out of it that it’s truly worth. i want to gain everything from each sanctifying time that i can because there is something coming in the future that He will use this sifting experience to prepare me for and it will be more bearable and more intentional if i grow and ache through this now.

James 1

New King James Version (NKJV)

Greeting to the Twelve Tribes

1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:

Greetings.

Profiting from Trials

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

The Perspective of Rich and Poor

Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

Loving God Under Trials

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

Qualities Needed in Trials

19 So then,[a] my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Doers—Not Hearers Only

21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone among you[b] thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

what i’m not taking for granted.

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we left saturday at 9am to travel to colorado with our two boys and my parents. we were headed there for my grandfather’s (my dad’s father) funeral. so many have asked about the circumstances. he was ill, but it is never expected and it is always grievous to experience loss.

we lost my grandmother (my mom’s mother) in december. she was buried christmas eve while i was in the hospital.

having experienced loss and a temporary goodbye, my heart is in the place of receiving grace and giving thanks for the now…

salvation. 1. i am redeemed & expecting eternity with Christ. 2. my loved ones will not have to ache in wonder about my eternal destination. for the sake of the cross, your eternity, and your loved ones…accept the sacrifice and blood covering for sins of Jesus.

my husband. 1. he’s the greatest person i’ve ever known. 2. he is redeemed. 3. he loves me like Christ loves the church:::sanctifies me and leads me.

Ephesians 5 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

4. an exceptional father. he is intimately involved in every aspect of our children’s lives.  from morning until night he is top notch and top request (DADDA!!!) for both of them. 5. his sacrifice:::for me and the boys. he sat in the backseat with an uncharacteristic gigantic fit throwing baby so that i wouldn’t get car sick. needless to say his chronic pain didn’t do him any favors, but he calmed a baby and saved momma’s stomach. i cried the entire time.

my children.

Psalm 127:3

New Living Translation (NLT)

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.

1. i know what it is lose a child. i love all three of mine, including our baby not here with us. 2. i grew to appreciate all moments with my children this weekend (locked up in a car with them screaming in car seats, in a small hotel room with little space for little adventurers, no media for entertainment, no privacy for sleeping for them, happiness when we can make small luxuries for them happen, joint bath time for them that seemed like a bath tub birthday, a grandparent induced chuck e cheese visit, the list could go on and on). 3. the richness of hearing “i love you momma” over and over and over from my 3 year old. i’m not sure if all kiddos do this, but it sure does wipe away the screaming fits of disobedience when i hear this.

understanding. 1. sometimes we ask questions about our family circumstances. i’ll leave that broad. but in reality, it’s God’s design for you to be with the people you are with and related to your specific peeps. i got to see some family this weekend i haven’t seen a while. we may not see each other for a while. it’s cleansing and bonding, though, to grieve with others who you are confident understand your ache and hurt. we shared the ache of losing someone recently, losing my grandfather because we all love him, and hurting for each other as we walked through this.

motivation. 1. to love more intentionally and specifically. i feel confident i do this well with my children. 2. i have taken this area too much for granted concerning my husband. i am not taking for granted the motivation to love him more intentionally and to show him more often.

friends.

Proverbs 11:25

New Living Translation (NLT)

25 The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

1. i never realized what a definition in my head for what a friendship is or should be. that has been butchered and redefined as i have received hugs, texts, facebook messages and posts, cards, etc. people watch, care, pray and meet our needs. that is friendship. even if it’s “just” through facebook. they took the time and shared their heart. that’s vulnerable and compassionate. that’s a friend.

i could go on and on about what i’m not taking for granted especially since i’m not in my big, warm, comfortable home in the quiet while the boys are visiting their other grandparents. but i’m going to rest and relax while i can and then eagerly pick my boys up and squeeze all of my friends and family i see today.

though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes with the morning.

i had a few moments of feeling a bit like David recently. (i mean, seconds. especially once i got to the end of this psalm and read his resolution). this psalm has followed me since Shane & Shane released a song utilizing this particular psalm. i was listening to their cd (yes, we did use cds at one time) and while i was listening i was reading this psalm and the corresponding song came on at the same time. that was a time of the Lord’s deep moving in my heart and i forever remember the time i spent with Him then. i thought things were very difficult at that moment. i had no idea how NOT difficult it was and what a preparation of my heart that time was for me.

Psalm 13[a]

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

disappointment and loss. grief. grace.

i woke up desperate for relief today. ever need that? crave that? and the worst part about our flesh is that we can “FEEL” like we need something, go to the ends of the earth for it, and not even know what we’re searching for….we just KNOW “it” will make us “FEEL” better.

i know what i need. i need Jesus. at all moments and at all costs. so this morning my desperation for a relief was not only a cry for mercy and grace but a plea for something different. so much had piled up over the last two years that i admitted today i wanted, needed, craved a “break” and i have no idea what that looks like, but here is my reflection.

on december 23, 2013 i decided (after 4 days) it was time to call the doctor. i had attended a family christmas out of town, cared for my boys, gone out to eat, and done various other things with most of my left eye out of commission. the best way to describe it was that everything was shiny, fuzzy like watching the tv with no cable, and just blotchy. i wouldn’t drive because the peripheral vision was nonexistent. so i decide, it’s the day before Christmas Eve at 4 pm. if i’m going to look into this, no is the time. i start realizing it’s no aura with migraine because i’ve had that a few times and went it away in at least 30 minutes and sometimes with a headache. neither had happened here. my husband had been on vacation and he was using this time to take care of our boys while i lay in bed. not an ideal vacation in that his whole family wasn’t present.

when i talk to the doctor he says that is not normal and he’s calling an ophthalmologist. the one he contacted was so gracious to meet me at his office after hours. he does a complete eye exam and several tests (that i’ve never had because i’ve always had perfect vision) and said my optic nerve was swollen. he says i need steroid infusions to get the swelling down and that’s a pretty normal outpatient situation. however, all of the infusion therapy clinics are closed and will be until thursday. oh man. the dreaded words. you need to be admitted for iv steroids.

my husband had been driving around with the boys after he dropped me off. through dilated eyes i tried to text and then just called. we have to implore grandparents. my grandmother’s funeral was the next day (Christmas Eve) but my mom was so gracious to help and picked up the boys. one of my best friends spend the night at our house with our boys and then my in-laws stayed at our house the whole time with our boys with a few breaks from my husband and my parents. and my father-in-law was ill most of the time and i’m pretty sure my mother-in-law was too but all of our parents are so kind to us. we are loved well.

so disappointed. Christmas in the hospital. without my children. my sweet husband who suffers from chronic pain slept on those uncomfortable chair/recline/pull out beds they have in the rooms. we were visited, showered with flowers, gifts, sweet words, facebook messages, texts, etc. the redemption? my husband (who is the most gifted and sensitive to what redeeming means) brought Christmas decorations to the room and my gifts. i opened up a necklace that i have wanted since Drake was born. it had a pearl and a hand stamped initial for each of our boys and the sweet first child we lost through miscarriage. perfect and perspective and healing.

i missed my grandmother’s funeral. my eye waited until the 11th hour to start getting vision back. right before the last dose of steroid in the iv i started to see better. i went straight to the ophthalmologist after being released. my eye was doing better. i had to go to my regular doctor to get a blood sugar test kit (steroids can mess with blood sugar. a new low—-pricking my finger for blood. thankfully brady did that. and i never had to give myself a shot).

i was told to take oral steroids for several days. i was so messed up. brady and i will probably remember for the rest of our lives how i acted those days. i tore our house apart to clean and reorganize. i only slept from 330-6:30 am most days.

we will also never forget what happened when i quit them. cold turkey. i had flu like symptoms. i was “depressed”. i started crying so hard at one point i was weeping and convulsing. i looked at him to try to explain and probably laughed the hardest and loudest i ever have because i had no words. no idea why i was crying.

this condition i have now been diagnosed with is a precursor 40% of the time in women age 32 for Multiple Sclerosis. so, in the hospital the neurologist said when the steroids had cleared my system i had to have a lumbar puncture. i’m pretty laid back, but those words sent me into a frenzy of anxiety and fear. my husband has had two and assured me if i had endured labor i could handle this. we’ll see.

two weeks ago i had the lumbar puncture. it was terrible. i was dehydrated. it took way too long. and the next day i got a spinal headache that lasted five days. i text everyone i knew who had one and asked what “normal” was for these headaches because i didn’t want a blood patch.

last night we received word that my grandfather passed away. my dad’s father. my last living, blood related grandparent. i had not received closure from losing my grandmother, is my assumption, because i cried longer and harder than normal for myself when finding these things out. no matter who it is, how close you are, what your life is like, death of someone or something is sanctifying.

loss brings perspective if you’ll let it have it’s toll and work on your heart. i fessed up to myself that i had feared so many unknowns and so many possibilities that just aren’t reality right now. what if i experience this with my eye again? what if i lose my vision? what if i have MS? and i won’t list out allll of the history we have with my husband’s medical history recently…you can read that here.

there is so much grace for the loss, for the sin, for the hope, for the disappointment.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

today’s demands teach tomorrow’s grace

the day is nearing the end. the pressure to meet the demands is over. did you meet them? what is success?

define success for yourself so you know your own expectations for yourself. evaluate them. make yourself some benchmarks. no one hits their success of huge goals immediately. it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

in fact, that’s what usually keeps me from making goals. or making attempts at my own expectations. i have failed before. i have hit the evening (it seems every day) with a miserable gut check that i accomplished NOTHING i set out to complete that day.

the reality? i didn’t set out to complete anything. i had a mental to do list. and a child woke up too early. he demanded specific items for breakfast. said items ended up all over my sheets. youngest child wakes up screaming, too. they both have pungent diapers and soaked clothes. now to more food and bottles and cups full of milk. toys spread everywhere. fingers touching dangerous things. tiny bodies climbing to high places that cause immediate danger and panic. they’re quiet now……interrupt productivity to find the children. toys everywhere. one wants to paint. can i watch a show? let’s have a snack! momma we miss dadda. why are you screaming? snack? milk? diaper? align the cosmos?!?! oh it’s lunch. what are we having (that would have been on my mental to do list—meal planning, maybe at naptime). oh you don’t want to eat anything on your plate? out of the 7 options i put on there? hm. time for nap. no one wants to take a nap? momma does! can we trade?! WHEW. youngest is down without a hitch. spanking. screaming. gnashing of teeth. compromise. promise. spanking. screaming. gnashing of teeth. no sleep today. no nap=nothing accomplished for momma. every one up. snacks. milk. more milk. they drink milk all day. could i be a dairy farmer? nope. i’d never make it. thought detour. clean up kitchen. get ready to start dinner. MASS HYSTERIA AND EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MINDS. momma is going to cook dinner? act like a crazed maniac! because….she doesn’t cook dinner ALMOST every night??! i mean, what a shock! cooking to the music of screaming, yelling, fit throwing, ……. DADDA IS HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we’re the happiest boys alive! oh? that screaming? we just wanted to see how many decibels she could take! and dinner. bath. clean up rooms. bed.

the end of the day. i survived. but i did i thrive? was there joy emitted? today’s demands have made me aware that it’s night’s end and i must accept the grace for the moments that were not beautiful and walk into tomorrow with grace for the moments that will be challenging.

for where i felt like a failure today, i can only make a goal for how to approach that situation again and what it would look like to be a success. i was never a failure. feelings are NOT Truth.

progress, not perfection is the strategy with which i’ll run this marathon.

i want my husband and children to see grace. lived and offered. not the cranky, i’m short tempered with the world because of my own shortcomings, attitude i’ve exhibited lately. they don’t need to be effected with emotions for where i THINK i’ve failed, they need to have me fully present in my calling as a wife and a mom and the TRUTH of what that calling is—that’s where i am seeking my identity. not the 10 absolute best aspects of 10 people that i expect myself to be all wrapped up in one individual.

marathon. not sprint.

what we learned from a prostitute last night

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Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

September 5, 2013

Week 1

Read Joshua 2

Rahab is a prostitute.

The  New Testament references to Rahab indicate that she was an immoral woman. The Greek word used to describe Rahab is “porne” the word from which we get “pornography.”

  1. Rahab makes a choice.
  1. It involves a risk.
    1. Her family
    2. Her security
    3. Her life
  1. The spies make a covenant with Rahab.

What are the responsibilities of both parties? Rahab? The spies?

Rahab waits…..

  1. How God uses Rahab
  1. She is obedient.
  2. She believes God.
  3. She is an example of how God knows us.

She suffered some unknowns in her steps of faith.

Rahab stepped out on faith. She was not from a culture who believed God and trusted Him. God met her where she was and walked with her after, giving her a new future and a new hope.

The waiting is over. Rahab’s impact on believers.

  1. She saves her family.

Her first priority was acting what she knew of God. Her second priority was saving her family.

  1. She is a gentile.
  1. She is in the lineage of Christ.

Read Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:30-31, and James 2:25. Rahab and Salmon had a son, Boaz. Boaz was the father of Obed; Obed, the father of Jesse; Jesse, the father of King David. And from the line of King David of the tribe of Judah came the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.]

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Rahab (and our) response to the Lord – where she has been exchanging her body, now she is exchanging ownership of her body for righteous purposes.

How have you exchanged your body or self for a relationship?

Remember our discussion on boundaries?

I’m going to trust God can bring me better than what I can do by exchanging my body or by giving up what God has called me to hold fast to in this world.

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart FALL KICK-OFF

ImageThis Thursday, September 5 @ 8pm we will be kicking off our fall college ladies discipleship study in our home. To say that I’m eager to spend time with our college women would be an understatement. My heart has yearned since Brady came on staff at FBC to be able to spend time with our college women in an environment where I could pour into and invest in their lives spiritually. I have taken opportunities in small chunks in the last 5 years to do this, but we are now in a season where we can make this happen on a weekly basis. Every Thursday through November, there will be college women in our home, desperate to hear and walk through Scripture and what it speaks to them about relationships. I’m fervently praying for them as I know the Lord has already started to permeate my heart about my own relationships and my own attitude towards others. I believe and trust that He will cut through our flesh with Truth and deep repentance and will replace the dross that He removes with compassion, obedience, and purpose. We are praying for fellowship, life-changing decisions, and healthy relationships.

Here’s a peek at what we’ll be discussing this week:::

“By faith Rahab the prostitute escaped the destruction of the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace.” HEBREWS 11:31

How did God use a prostitute to aid in the fall of Jericho? Rahab chose a life of obedience to the Lord which saved her family and aided in the fall of Jericho to ultimately deliver Israel to their Promise Land.

We will be delving into Rahab’s decisions and how they forever impacted her life, giving her a role in the lineage of Christ.

Do you actually believe that you are a part of the expansion of God’s Kingdom, and if so, at least in a spiritual sense, a part of the lineage of Christ?

See you Thursday!