Tag Archives: faith

Flocked in His Grace

Flocked tree

We had our first big snow recently. Heavy, wet snow fell over the course of 2 days. 2 days that Dominic was out of town and my oldest away at college. Yes I cried and whined having to shovel twice in 2 days and still hurt from the after effects. (Old age stinks) ūüėČ

In an effort to embrace this expected season change and colder weather I tried to focus on the positives….most of which included how beautiful the trees look after a heavy snow. The entire block was white and the once brown, dead looking trees, looked vibrant again.

Yesterday I was driving out of town and while some of the snow has melted, most of the trees were still covered. They glistened in the sun and it was a beautiful sight.

And for some reason I had a flash back to a memory long forgotten.

For years as a child, my parents would take us to get a real Christmas tree at a local nursery. Long before trees were available at every Sam’s Club, Home Depot and Costco, there was one special place we would go each year to get our tree.

The smell inside the nursery was heavenly. The front shop was filled with handmade wreaths and trees decorated with ornaments you could purchase…and then there was a special place in the back corner.

If we were lucky there would be a tree in the contained area that had just been flocked that we could see.

For those that don’t know what flocking is, they use a substance that is white and spray it all over the tree, it makes it look like it was snowed upon. Flocked trees were probably double the price of a regular tree.

I knew they weren’t in our budget, but I always thought they were interesting. It felt like those trees were reserved for the elite, the “special” and just knowing that made them desirable to me.

As I was driving yesterday I realized¬†that the trees outside looked like they had been flocked. Covered full in white, so beautiful….and it was a reminder for me.

I have been walking through the past few months feeling like the brown, dead tree.

I know that I am a sinner, we all are I get it…but there are times that the weight of the person that I am is too much. I get stuck in old habits and patterns of behavior that have long been unacceptable, but I tidy up just enough so that I don’t have to deal with the underlying issue.

I place so much emphasis on how things look on the outside that I have ignored the inside, heart issues, for way too long.

Becoming aware, even slightly of the work that now needs to be done, feels overwhelming and I (as is my nature) want to give up.

Sometimes redemption seems impossible, and grace – real, life changing grace, feels out of reach.

And then I get a simple reminder in the picture of some flocked trees that I too am covered by God’s grace.

Isaiah 1:18 says Come now, let us reason¬†together, says the Lord:¬†though your sins are like scarlet,¬†¬†they shall be as white as snow;¬†though they are red like crimson,¬†they shall become like wool.”

Jesus paid for my sins. How quickly I forget that. I get wrapped up in my own emotions and feelings about my present state and forget that the Son of God bore the weight of MY sins when he hung on that cross.

He did it for me.

And as a result, in the eyes of God, I am white as snow.

Now this doesn’t give me free reign to go and continue to allow sin to wage a war inside of me. There are things I can and need to do with God to work towards freedom.

One of the first things is changing my perspective.

I have believed that I was like¬†that dead tree and couldn’t ever see myself as the beautiful flocked tree.

I could only see the sinner, forgetting what grace looks like. I get stuck in the hopeless and don’t know how to move forward.

My eyes need to be fixated on that vision of grace. I need to embrace it for my own life and then be as generous with it for others as God has been with me.

It is a start, and for me at the end of this year….I guess it is the place that I need to be.

Maybe you have been struggling with something too, feeling like that ugly, dead tree for so long that you have forgotten grace is available for you. Friend I am grasping at these truths with all that I have and want you to know that you aren’t alone.

You are beautiful and loved and flocked by His grace.

Photo Credit: JusDaFax

The First Song


VHS

Dominic discovered our wedding videos several months ago, the old VHS tapes that have been stored and saved and unwatched for years. He thought it might be fun to convert them to a DVD so that we could watch them again and found someone that could do that as a surprise for me.

A few nights ago we sat down together to watch it. It was something that we both really needed to see again. I can’t remember the last time we watched it…maybe 10 years ago? We are coming up on 20 years of marriage and it is sad how much about that day I have forgotten.

Seeing family and friends that we haven’t seen in years, some now gone from our lives…it was bittersweet hearing their voices and seeing their smiles.

It was interesting to see the events of the day through a different lens. Apparently there were 2 cameras set up, one at the back of the church and another at the front. Wear, time, maybe heat exposure had damaged the VHS of one of the views. It was distorted and blurry. Thankfully the view from the front was still in tact.

One thing that I remembered from the wedding was that my sister sang a song for us. We were married young (21) and my sister was just 16. She was always involved in show choir or music of some sort and had a powerful voice for a young girl. And the bravery it took to sing in front of that many people, at that age…is amazing.

We have talked about that song over the years because she had a hard time getting through it. I hadn’t remembered the specific details, but knew she cried during the song and she was so upset afterwards because she thought she had ruined my wedding. (She didn’t)

I never felt that way….I remember being touched that she was emotional about my wedding. I wasn’t the best sister…no strike that, I probably would have gotten an F for sister kindness. She was young enough that I didn’t really take the time to get to know her. We didn’t have this wonderful sister bond growing up…so knowing she was¬†crying over me was really special.

As we watched the video I can see why it was hard for her. The song came right after we had lit the unity candle. We then walked down so that we could present roses to both of our parents. So as she started to sing, she also had to watch as we hugged our parents. It was an emotional moment, and completely understandable that she might have been crying watching that.

But here is what I had long forgotten about that day.

There was another song. A first one actually. A song that she sang at the very beginning of the wedding after we all walked into the church. It was strong and beautiful, and yet I had forgotten. How could I forget that bravery…why had we remembered the struggle and not the beauty?

As I was thinking about that this morning I realized that I do this in so many ways.

I have memories from certain situations or circumstances, and so often I only remember the negative parts…even when there is beauty interwoven throughout, I forget that.

Why do we do this? Why do I do this?

I look through life with a distorted lens.

I see the hurt or the embarrassment, the shame I felt, or the anger. ¬†Those become my core memories and all the good, all the happy moments, become less and less. It isn’t that they aren’t there…but I am not allowing myself to see them.

I want to start to see my life through a new lens.

I want to look back at my life and see that yes, there were times of hurt or pain, but they were also filled with beauty and hope. And I need to spend more time focusing on the good than how I felt about the bad.

So many of my memories are wrapped around how I felt at that particular moment. If I didn’t feel good….then I allow that feeling to take over, to become the predominant memory I have.

Pretty soon I am unable to see the good, my vision is clouded and blurred…it is distorted.

Thankfully I know today that I can make a choice to try and see the whole picture, to remember everything and then choose to have a right focus. To see opportunities for growth, to see bravery that wasn’t acknowledged before, to seek out the positive and let that be my focus.

It’s always been there, but I haven’t been willing or able to see it.

Today I am choosing to see, to remember the first song and be grateful that. I am walking forward today with a new hope. I have seen how God has taken my broken pieces and made them whole again…yet I stumble through life with the baggage of my mistakes, unwilling and unable to let them go.

Yes, I am still a broken woman. There are still hurts that I need healing from, and pain¬†I have caused that needs forgiveness…but I don’t have to define my life by my struggle. Instead I am bringing all of me to my God and asking Him to use each part, each moment for His glory.

And I am hopeful that the song that will come from the good and the bad, will be beautiful.

Seeking Him First

31 Days of Seeking Him

Tomorrow starts my series of 31 Days of Seeking Him and I invite you to join me in the journey.

I wrote these words initially for this space here, but as I am entering into this new month I am seeing that these words were meant for me as well.

I have been hearing a song on the radio recently that speaks so completely to what I want to see in my own life of seeking God. Lauren Daigle’s FIRST.

For so many years I have used God when it suited me. I came calling in the midst of crisis, asking for help. I had a heart of thankfulness for all He has done but I wasn’t living in that gratitude.

I want my life to be a seeking of God FIRST.

Before I bring my requests, my sorrows and demands…I want to seek Him, to know Him fully first.

Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
And seek You

Before everything else, I want to seek God.

This doesn’t come naturally to me, I’ve got to be honest. I am selfish and self centered and look out for what makes ME feel best first.

But there are some strongholds in my life that have been present for FAR TOO LONG. I am over them, I want them out and I am coming to the realization once again that I need to let go of it all and first seek God.

Before I speak a word
Let me hear Your voice
And in the midst of pain
Let me feel Your joy
Ooh, I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I speak a word
I will bring my heart
And seek You

So it is my prayer that through this month we might walk together on this path of seeking God first. Of listening to His voice and finding Him in every moment of our day.

You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
I seek You

Our treasure and reward is God Himself. What a gift to have a Father that loves us so unconditionally and seeks to bless us. Oh that my life would be a reflection of gratitude for all God has done for me.

I am sharing the video of the song below. I hope it blesses you as it has me. Email Subscribers, please click here to watch the video!

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A Rich History

church 2

Today we honored a man who has provided such a rich history for our extended family. A husband, father, grandpa, uncle, brother and friend…a man who touched many lives. And yet this man, deserving of honor and praise, wanted those attending his funeral to know that it wasn’t about him, but about Him.

His greatest wish in leaving instructions about his service was that the message be about the God that offered immeasurable grace to him. The God that poured out His blessings on my extended family. My grandpa wanted everyone to know his Savior. THAT was what is most important about today.

The message shared was filled with hope. Hope in the eternal life offered by trusting in Jesus. My grandpa was able to see God’s hand throughout his life and while it wasn’t always easy…he trusted God.

What an amazing legacy he left us.

The committal ceremony was at the cemetery across from the church my grandparents were married in. We had an opportunity to go into that church after the ceremony and see where they had exchanged nuptials a little over 67 years ago.

My great uncle Al, who grew up in the church, told us a few stories about the history of the building. Re-built in the early 30’s after a fire destroyed it, the church that stands today looks just like the church before the fire. They rebuilt it exactly the same!

The walls were lined with huge stained glass windows. Windows that apparently cost $66 back in 1932. Cheap in todays standards, but in the Depression it was a lot of money.

church 1

The original organ was destroyed in the fire and a new one was placed in the balcony. It was HUGE and apparently made beautiful music.

church 3

Al told the story of when the church was on fire all the farmers from around the area were called and they worked to save as much as they could before the fire destroyed it all. The pews were screwed to the floor and somehow in the fight to save them, these men ripped the pews out of the ground without unscrewing them! They also worked to save the alter before the rest was lost.

church 4

The wall behind the alter was destroyed but then rebuilt. The stunning beauty of all of that woodwork was amazing.

Apparently earlier that day a couple had exchanged marriage vows, just like my grandparents did 67 years ago.

I felt very aware of the juxtaposition of one new life full of hope and promise just beginning and another life lived so well, ending. 

67 years ago I would guess that my grandparents exchanged vows filled with excitement and hope. Promising to love one another until death would part them, they stepped out in faith and trusted God with their new life together.

church 5

They would face heartache yes, but also experienced years filled with the blessing of family and God was with them through it all. My grandpa loved his community and worked to serve others. He volunteered on different boards and committees. He gave generously in so many ways. He sought to share the blessings God had given him. He had a true servants heart.

Some of those very things that are a part of my natural makeup come from him. What a rich history he left me.

I am so fortunate to have been raised in a Christian home. The legacy of faith passed along from generation to generation will make an impact that even I can’t fully appreciate right now. Just like the beauty in the walls of an old church, we each have¬†a story to tell.

I think that is one reason I love to write and tell stories, the good and the bad. When I share all that God has done in my life, I am establishing that rich history. There have been fires at times, situations that felt overwhelming. But as I look back at all the ways God has been with us, I can see how He made beauty out of ashes.

Yes today we remembered my grandpa and celebrated his life, but even more so we praised the God that offered grace to each one of us by sending His Son. My grandpa wanted everyone to know that peace. To experience the full life that can be found in a life lived with God. I am honored to have had him as my grandpa and grateful that his faith will live on in my life and my family.

A rich history indeed.

Clearing Away the Cobwebs

CobwebsIt all started with a chair…

We bought a “fake” leather chair for Isaac to take to college on clearance at Menards. It sat in our living room for several months until a few weeks ago when we moved him to college. It was our only recliner and there was this empty space where it once was. We talked about replacing it and when we went and looked we started talking about getting an entire new set.

My mom had said we should wait until our kids were more grown up…less chance of it getting stained/ruined. And it made sense, it really did. We asked her honest opinion and appreciated her insight.

We have had the same couch for 10+ years and it was showing a lot of wear. The cushions were sagging and stained. It wasn’t nice to look at and it wasn’t very comfortable. We had a love seat that we bought off Craigslist for $80 when we moved here and the dog ate a portion of the arm off it so I had to patch it to keep it from coming apart.

But as we looked I thought, you know why not enjoy it with the kids. Sure it will get stained, but we have loved the life out of our old couch and what if we had waited to get that? It was well used and appreciated…and if we got new furniture it would be the same.

So we bought a couch and some chairs. I guess maybe I justified it all in my mind and I honestly felt good about it. I almost wrote a post about how we should go ahead and enjoy life, even if it gets messy.

Then we went to church on Sunday and our pastor preached about this need we often have to “keep up the our neighbors.” Our need to have everything now. The new car, a phone upgrade every time it is available….he challenged us to ask ourselves what we might do instead with the money we would use for that new phone, or a newer car. Do something radical like buy meals for a needy family each week for a month.

I will be honest I left feeling a little guilty and ashamed.

And while I don’t regret our choice to get the new furniture, I do recognize that this need to have what others have is a problem for me.

When we moved to this house I loved it, it was our dream home. We moved from a very small starter home to this one that had more space than we could have dreamed of. I imagined it to be the place that our grown children and their families would return to…I joked that I would die here, never moving again I declared!

The yellow walls were inviting and a change from the all tan walls in our old home. The grey exterior seemed warmer than the stark white we had left behind.

But at some point the yellow walls in.every.room. became too much and three years ago I started repainting every room I could. First the entryway and hallway, the dining room and kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms followed. The paint changed the space for me and I was once again content.

Then the outside color of our home started to feel too “institutional.” It was bland and blah and I wanted a change. We had a girl stop by from some painting company offering a free quote. We said yes and I started dreaming of the colors that were possible for our home.

The bid was almost $7000, and even if we had the extra cash, it was an outrageous price to have someone repaint your home…”we could do it ourselves” we thought. But the reality of finding the time/energy to get it done quickly put that idea to rest as well.

Our neighbors got a similar bid and decided to do the work themselves and last summer repainted their home. It looked amazing and I was jealous. I had high hopes that this year before graduation I might tackle the job myself.

Let’s all take a moment to really just laugh at that one ok? Ok you can stop now, I DO realize how insane that idea was.

And recently¬†our other neighbors started getting new siding. It too looks beautiful and the ugly monster “envy” started rearing its head once again.

I called my close friend, the one you can tell your ugliest parts to and they still love you…I told her that I was SOOO jealous of my neighbors home. I wanted my house to look that nice. I wanted a new warm paint color and crisp white trim.

How quickly I go from dream house to dump.

It is a reflection of my heart really. This wanting, never being satisfied, content with all we do have. Always wishing we could have more. I can say I am grateful (and I am) but if I was really grateful, would I feel this discontented??

This morning I took a broom and started to clean up our front porch. It was littered with toys, and food wrappers, leaves and cobwebs. Oh the cobwebs. I started brushing and as I did my perspective of my porch changed.

As the cobwebs fell it took on a new life for me. Sure the paint is still chipping and the grey is still “institutional”, but it is clean and fresh again and I felt happy about it.

Sometimes we need to spend some time clearing away the cobwebs.

We need to do the hard heart work that God requires of us. We need to look at our motives and question why it is that we are making the choices we do. My pastor didn’t say we can’t have nice things, but he did say we should stop and think. Make wise choices and also be generous with others. Give back when we can and stop coveting what we don’t have.

Right now my house doesn’t look like I might dream it should. And when the yard is covered in white snow, the grey won’t feel bold enough for me. But for today I am seeing things with a fresh perspective, a new pair of glasses you might say.

No nothing has changed and it likely won’t for a long time…but I am going to be praying about being content…truly content.

I am going to stop and thank God for what I do have every time I start to covet something I don’t. It is a start. Yes the cobwebs may return…it seems they always do. But I have hope that I can once again get out my broom and work at changing my perspective. One sweep at a time.

Photo Credit: Stephen@home

A Lesson in Obedience

Gabriel's baptism 1

God has been using my children to teach me some pretty big lessons recently and today was no different.

It was a special Sunday at church. We have had church in the park the past 2 Sundays, but this week was also baptism Sunday.

For the past 2 years we have been talking to Gabriel about getting baptized. He has accepted Jesus in his heart, he knows God sent His Son to die for his sins…but the idea of standing up in front of people and talking about that was scary for him.

We have a service like that every year…and every year Gabriel has told us that he wanted to wait one more year.

As a parent this was hard for me. I wanted him to make the choice, wanted him to walk in faith and not fear…but I also wanted it to be HIS choice…not mine.

So a few weeks ago we talked again and he said that he wanted to do it when he turned 12. So one more year wait it was.

And then this morning he came downstairs and blew me away with his words.

He said he woke up and felt like God was telling him that he needed to do it today. He didn’t need to be afraid and Gabriel asked if I thought that our pastor would let him do it even though it was short notice.

He said that he had been nervous before but he felt like God was giving him the courage to stand up.

He was choosing to demonstrate his faith instead of letting his fear hold him back.

Gabriel's baptism 2And so we went to church and found Pastor Ray and asked if Gabriel could be baptized and he said yes. In front of a pretty large crowd of people Gabriel shared that he believed in God and wanted to be an example for his family and the church.

I couldn’t have been more proud.

I could tell he was nervous when he started talking…he said something like “God turns my good days into bad” ūüėČ and then realized that he mixed it up and corrected himself. But then he shared his belief in God sending Jesus to earth to die for our sins…

It is pretty amazing to hear your 11 year old articulate the basic fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Gabriel's baptism 3And so with his profession of faith he was baptized.

Dominic helped and I took pictures and a video.

The water was cold and it is a little shocking to the body to go down under the water and come back up. There is a big breath that everyone takes upon rising again.

A breath of new life.

Gabriel's baptism 5Hope is found in faith in Jesus.

We will continue to mess up and make mistakes.

Just because we believe in God it doesn’t mean we won’t have problems, or mess up and say the wrong thing…that is why we need the gift of grace.

But we have the promise of new life, new breath because of our faith. An opportunity to breathe deeply and fully in the One who created us.

Today my brave son felt a calling from God to be obedient.

He later told me that he didn’t think it was going to happen today…but after this morning he knew he needed to do it and he was glad he did.

Our family didn’t get to attend because we weren’t prepared in advance that this would occur¬†today…but it is ok.

It was a beautiful, sweet moment with our 2nd born, and thanks to the technology of phones and You Tube we can share those precious moments with others.

And like our pastor said…it is a day we will remember forever.

If you would like to watch the video I am including it here at the bottom of the post. For email subscribers click here to watch.

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The Revealing – a GSD Post

Road

Oh friends what a journey I have been on this year. I have said it before but please DO NOT chose the word DEPEND as your One Word if you don’t want a year full of stretching! ūüėČ

I feel like I have been on a bit of a roller coaster lately, but you know it is ok. I do know that God is working out some beauty in all of this and am trusting that He will be the One on which I can depend through it all.

He is faithful. He is steady.

When I am not, I can trust that He is.

I discovered this even more when I was on a family vacation in early June and I am sharing some of the newest things God has been revealing to me about myself over at God-sized Dreams today. Will you join me there?!

The New Face of Brave

Elijah pool 1Elijah has been taking swimming lessons every Tuesday and Thursday evening for a few weeks. The first night we got there they had him in level 3. We aren’t a huge “spend the summer at the pool” family…so he has been in a big pool maybe 3 times.

He didn’t know a thing about it.

They thankfully moved him into the Level 1 class after the first night and it has been fun to watch him swim. He works hard, and even when it is tough, he smiles and keeps going.

He is one brave boy, my Elijah.

Tonight the teacher asked at the beginning of the class who wanted to jump off the diving board at the end of class.

He initially didn’t raise his hand and I was secretly relieved.

I had visions of a drowning accident, what if he let go of his noodle…what if she didn’t catch him. The water is 13ft deep and he doesn’t know how to swim yet without assistance.

Quite honestly, the whole idea seemed ludicrous to me…what was she thinking?!¬†

At the end of the class they headed towards the diving pool….and there was Elijah right in line with the rest of the kids.

Was he going to go through with it?

Elijah Pool 2He walked out on that board and put his toes on the very edge just like his teacher said. She was treading water ready to catch them as they jumped.

And then he just went for it.

Elijah Pool 3

What I loved most was that he didn’t timidly jump in, he leaped.

He trusted the noodle float, he trusted his swim instructor and he went for it.

My brave boy Elijah is such an example to me. He shows me how to be brave.

Elijah Pool 4

So often I won’t even step up to the ladder.

I know that I am going to be scared looking down at the unknown. I feel unsure of the next step and so I quit before I start.

And taking that leap? Heavens no. I am not brave like that…

But my boy reminded me today that sometimes we make a choice to do something even when we feel afraid.

Elijah told me later that he initially didn’t want to do it, but then he decided to be brave and try.

We all have that choice don’t we?

When we are facing a big decision, a job change, an unknown situation of any kind…we have a choice.

We can make the choice to stay stuck in fear, or we can choose to jump anyways.

Elijah trusted he would be ok, he choice faith over fear and became the new face of brave for me.

What a gift to watch it all unfold before my eyes.

Next time I am faced with something that induces fear, or worry or doubt I will remember my boy who lept into the scary and came out a little bit stronger from the experience.

The Spoon

Spoon 2

A few weeks ago I picked Karlena up from daycare and as we were driving home I noticed that she had a toy in her hand. When I asked her what it was she tried to hide it behind her back.

A pretty clear sign to me that she had taken something that wasn’t hers.

When we got home I told her to show me what she had. It was a small toy horse. She LOVES horses right now and it was obviously something she didn’t already have at home. But I knew it wasn’t hers.

She reluctantly admitted to me that it was Markel’s. When I asked her how she got it outside without either of us seeing it she said she hid it in her shorts! In the waist band to be exact! Can you even believe that?!

We had a long conversation about taking things that aren’t ours and the next morning we brought it back to daycare and she told Markel the truth and apologized for taking something she shouldn’t have.

This isn’t the first time that one of my kids have done something like this. Last year it was Elijah and some shiny treasures from preschool. I might have cause to be worried but the reality is don’t we all covet what we don’t have?

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I don’t remember how old I was but I do remember the tea set.

We lived on a hill and there was a family that lived down the hill from us that had 2 girls just a few years younger than me. Sarah and I became friends and often played together. Her dad also had a red corvette and every once and awhile he would take us out in the “cool car” to McDonalds for an ice cream cone. That was always such a treat!

At some point Sarah got a brand new, huge white tea set for a birthday or Christmas present.

Oh how I wanted that tea set. I loved playing with it and wanted to have one at my house. But I didn’t. It wasn’t enough that Sarah was generous in sharing it with me during our play time…no I needed to have one myself.

And when I couldn’t have it, I didn’t want her to have one either.

Why is it that we do that?

When someone has something nice/fun/new why do we feel jealousy, why do we covet what they have? Why can’t we be genuinely happy for others and their blessings?!

I didn’t want Sarah to have something so wonderful, so one day when we were playing I stole a tea spoon. I hid it in my pocket and took it home with me. Stuffed under pairs of socks, it sat like a dirty little secret in my drawer.

It isn’t much fun to play with one spoon.

It really isn’t fun to play with one spoon that is a constant reminder¬†of stealing…of a lie. I would take out that spoon and feel guilty. I knew that I should give it back. That Sarah wanted her full tea set together….that it wasn’t mine and I didn’t have any right to take it.

I honestly can’t remember if I returned the spoon or not. I hope that I did.

I have a feeling that I would have been the only likely “suspect” and maybe the truth came out…but if I didn’t, I want to apologize Sarah for taking that spoon!

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I was thinking about that story this morning as I was laying in bed. I am not sure what brought it to mind really but I find that as memories like this happen, I process them best at the keyboard.

I have been pretty silent here lately. There are some things that I do plan on writing about, but I am still working through them. Some ugly, icky parts of myself, and my past that God is healing and restoring.

It isn’t fun. Let’s be honest I am the type of person that would really like to skate around the difficult. I don’t like wading through the muck of my life. I want a quick fix to any and all faults/problems and I am finding again and again that God isn’t going to give me restoration on my time.

I am learning to savor the journey even if it means it is a slow, arduous process. (<====Click to Tweet)

If the end result is freedom from the things that are bondage in my life…well it is worth it.

One of the things that I want to find freedom in is this need to want what I don’t have.

It has been with me since I was young and started with the smallest of items, a tea spoon. It grew as I aged and became jealous of friends that had better, name brand clothes than I did. Maybe someone was smarter or prettier than I was. The cheerleader and the homecoming queen….I was never “enough”

As a wife and a mother I see all that you can do, and feel inadequate in my own family. I start to wish that I could go on the trips, or have the super romantic relationship with my husband that I see in other couples. Or the most well behaved children in church. ūüėČ

It is never enough. What I have is just never enough. But the reality is that it IS enough.

I have more than I could ever hope or imagine. SO many blessings in my life. No it isn’t always easy…but they are blessings none the less.

And I don’t want to paint a picture of someone that I am not.

I don’t have it all together. My children will mess up, but heck so do I – ALL.THE.TIME! I am not the perfect women/mother/spouse and it is ok! Thank God for grace.

A part of this walking into freedom is recognizing that I am who God made me. Yes there are flaws and imperfections but there are beautiful things too.

I don’t know if jealousy or envy is something you have struggled with, but if it is you are not alone! Let’s do something together and stop comparing, stop coveting, and start giving thanks for the very place that God has each of us.

It is going to look different for you than it is me. Let’s embrace the difference, there is beauty in that! And let’s start walking out of bondage and into freedom.

One spoon at a time.

Photo Credit: partycja

What a Zip Line Taught Me About Fear

Black Hills

We just got back from a week in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is our third year vacationing there and we rented a cabin in Lead. The cabin was at the top of a mountain and it took 9 minutes and 38 seconds to get up or down the road.

It was kind of a treacherous road as well..I will have more on that at a later time. It was long and bumpy but lead to a beautiful cabin and view. We were remote in many ways…including that we didn’t have wifi. It was a true vacation and such a good week.

One of the days it was rainy and Dominic and I took Isaac, his friend Zach and cousin Casey to go through Rushmore Cave in Keystone. The little kids didn’t want to go so they stayed at the cabin for a “rest” day with the grandparents.

The cave was fun…beautiful really, and for the most part, the journey through was manageable. There were a couple of interesting spots where you had to watch your step, but overall it felt safe.

Then we headed to this 7-D theater experience where I was in last place for shooting zombies. This didn’t come as a shock to me as I was with 4 boys! ūüėČ

The final part of our time there was supposed to be a zip-line ride. We headed up the hill and Dominic and I got on first. As soon as I was in the seat and my feet were dangling, I started to get second thoughts.

It wasn’t a terrible drop, but I am not one who loves the thrill of my stomach dropping in rides. I don’t like roller coasters and other rides like that. Panic waved over me and I said that I wanted to get off.

I know that Dominic was disappointed in me…he had just wanted to ride together. But, as in so many situations, when I feel fear, I want to run.

I didn’t think about praying, didn’t consider pushing through. I just got scared and I got off the ride.

Looking back this is so indicative of my faith life.

I can be happy go lucky if things are safe and going well…but the minute it becomes a little dangerous, or unknown, I bail.

As much as I feel I have grown this past 6 months in my dependence of God, this experience felt like a huge step back. I could have¬†asked God to calm my spirit, could have just had courage to stand up to my fear, but I didn’t.

And it has bothered me ever since.

I don’t want to be ruled by fear, limited in what I can or will do because I am so afraid of the “what ifs.” I think for me, right now, this fear is coming from the reality that we will be sending Isaac off to school in a few months.

We visited the school again while we were there…I have some concerns, less about Isaac and more about what the environment will be like those first few weeks/months. Let’s just say the freshman all get to wear a ugly green beenie hat for like 2 months or more (no one we have ever asked will admit to the actual length of time….all the students “can’t remember”) AND while wearing the hat they can (and will) be forced to stop, get on their knees and sing a “I love my beenie hat song” at the whim of any upper classman.

That along with the parties and alcohol etc., that will be available (and it sounds like all freshman get forced pulled into those first few weeks)…I am suddenly entering this place of being unable to control what happens to Isaac and what the outcome may be.

Not like I ever had any control right? Maybe the illusion of control when he lives upstairs…but 7 hours away with a bunch of students who try and humiliate and pressure my first born. Ugh, this mama heart almost can’t handle it!

I am on that ride again and I just want off.

I told Isaac that I thought he needed to stay home another year before going off to school ūüėČ …I just need more time you know?! Time to make sure he is prepared for the real world, to make sure he can melt chocolate without scorching it (inside joke)….I haven’t possibly done enough.

And as I type these words I realize…like literally right this moment, I can see that I am so darn afraid that I haven’t been a good enough parent.

I should have been stronger, prayed over him more, encouraged him and prepared him, told him I loved him and hugged him more. I suddenly feel like a failure. He is going off to experience one of his biggest life changes yet and I want it to be good.

I want to be able to wrap an imaginary swath of bubble wrap around him so that he doesn’t have to experience hurt and failure and disappointment. I want everything to be roses and the reality is that it probably won’t be.

And as much as I know that he needs to go through these life lessons, just like I did. Oh how I want it to be easier! 

As a first time mama going through this, I am not sure how you survive?! I know that you do…I have seen others go before me. My own mom survived me and that was a feat in itself! ha!

I am at that moment where my feet are dangling and I know that it is going to be scary but I have to be able to trust that God has my son just like He always has me.

I have to let go.

I have to trust that God is with Him.

I have to trust that Isaac will go through what he needs to, and that his life experiences will hopefully draw him closer to God as well. He is a great kid and I just want amazing things for his life.

Will there be unknown? I am certain of it.

I am also certain that God loves Isaac even more than I do, and that He will be with him every step of the way.

Fear doesn’t have to control me. I can learn to let go and trust God. (<====Click to Tweet)

It probably won’t be a pretty journey on my part…but it is a step forward in the right direction!

If you want to see the lamo ride that I chickened out of you can check out the video below (or here¬†if you are reading in an email) ūüôā

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