Monday, June 2, 2014

I've moved! Move with me!

It's official! I have moved! I would love to still have you along, if you currently subscribe. Please check out the right-hand side of my blog to subscribe to my new place.

A Beautiful Inheritance

Thursday, May 1, 2014

He delights in me (and my craziness)

Sometimes the Lord speaks to me through analogies - visual pictures that play out before me and I seem a deeper meaning in them. My husband laughs at me (and denies that he does) because yes, the Lord has used a one-legged bird, a dog, and a squirrel to speak His truth to me before.

It's okay. I'm okay with it. Judge if you want. Think I'm crazy. It's okay. (you're still reading, so apparently I'm not that whack-o).

This morning, He spoke to me through my daughter. My precious, ADD (not really, um, maybe?) 3 year old.

Here is how the scene unfolded:

I asked her to bring me her bowl on the coffee table. She continues to play with one of the floor toys, with her back to me.

(Normally I would repeat myself,using a less than patient tone, since she did not even acknowledge my request. But for whatever reason this morning, I felt like I should just sit back and watch).

About thirty seconds after asking her (which for this mom waiting on obedience or at least a nod of acknowledgement can seem like a lifetime), she gets up and makes the scenic route to the coffee table. So you can picture this, let me paint the scene.

She is siting about 5 feet away from the coffee table. Instead of standing up and walking straight towards it, She instead gets up, starts heading towards me (when it probably dawns on her for the first time what I have actually requested), and then heads to the coffee table, choosing to go around the way where there are pillows in her path.

Seeing these as obstacles that she must swing over, she puts one hand on the coffee table and one on the couch, and Indiana Jones style swings across the ravine to the other side. She then finally grabs the bowl with the remnants of yogurt, and turns around to the path she just took. I quickly tell her to not even think about it, knowing she is thinking of pouncing over the pillows this time (and my mind envisions bowl, spoon, and child flying in 3 separate directions).

So she turns the other direction, once again the longest route back to me, and precedes in my direction. Once she is at a straight-away, she turns sideways and holds out the bowl towards me, and begins to walk towards me without looking, heading straight towards the gate.

(* the wondrous gate that keeps my children contained so that I can be sane in a house with a 1 year old that wants to climb and conquer everything in his path).

I then have to warn her to watch where she is going and keep her eyes on me, so she doesn't run smack into the boundary line I've placed in the room. (seriously - do you hear the Lord's truth in this?)

She eventually gets to me, bowl miraculously in one piece (because for some reason this morning I thought it was wise (?) to give her one of our breakable ones instead of the usual plastic ones).

And I am laughing and smiling to myself because this entire time, the Lord is saying to me that she is the same as me.

Usually I would interpret this scene through my faults and what I feel I don't do well - like not obeying immediately when the Lord directs, and then going about that obedience in my own sweet timing, choosing my route and having Him correct me along the path. (And how revealing that I pass along the disappointed tone to my daughter that I believe the Lord uses with me.)

But recently, He has introduced me to the truth that I don't have a very firm grasp of His love.
How much He absolutely loves me, adores me, and delights in me.

And that I don't have a firm grasp on His gentle grace.

This morning, this beautiful, refreshing, life-giving morning, I feel like what I felt for my daughter in those moments was a glimpse of what He feels for me. Smiling. Watching and finding humor in my meandering. And enjoying it when I take joy in the path He has directed me in. In the same way my daughter chose to see her task as an adventure through the living room, He loves it when I see the fun and joy in what He has placed before me. And use my creativity to pursue the tasks that He has put before me.

So instead of viewing the Lord's response to me as I am - how I, unfortunately, respond impatiently to my children, I need to view the Lord's response to me as He is, gentle and compassionate and loving. He has no unrealistic expectations of me in which I disappoint Him daily. But He delights in each step I take towards Him and towards the things He has direct me. And He enjoys watching me pursue those things in joy - still guiding and correcting so that I don't run into the boundary lines He's placed, but all the time smiling. Because He sees His Son in me, and a daughter that is trying her best to follow Him each day.

Not perfect. But imperfect progress.

love it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

One 'Small' Step

Today I am going to start something new. Something pretty scary and intimidating for me, but something that I believe the Lord has been preparing me for and leading to for quite some time.

I'm not exactly ready to put it out there, but I do plan to share eventually.  But for now, I just wanted to share some of the struggle and process that this has led to recently.

For one, I've realized that when I have nervous energy, I clean.

So right now, my house is cleaner and tidier than it has ever been. (At least one of my coping mechanisms is somewhat productive, right? My husband may be encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone more often, for the sake of our home).

I've also been reminded of two, how easy it would be to succumb to emotions that contradict what the Lord has been saying to me through His Word and through the Holy Spirit in prayer.

Oh, how I have to be guarded against my own heart!

I am so thankful for accountability - trusted friends in my life that have journeyed with me, so that they can remind me and by my guidepost of sorts, to confirm that this is indeed the way that I should go.

Do you have that? Do you have someone in your life that you trust enough to let in? That can help point you back to the last thing the Lord spoke to you when you haven't heard anything lately or when opposition sets in?

If not, I hope that you will pray and ask God for it. It is a true gift from God.

Three, I've also discovered that I am pretty darn good at coming up with pretty valid reasons as to why I should stay exactly where I am right now. I probably should have looked into law school. I can argue with myself with the best of them.

If it wasn't for this annoying little fact that I know, I know, that this is where the Lord is leading. And so despite my best effort, my best defense doesn't stand against the Lord.

And I am thankful for that. Thankful that  I have had a similar encounter with the Lord to say, like Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) To proceed without the Lord, well it would be pointless. All else would be fruitless. (John 15:5)

Four, I have been reminded of the importance and power of obedience.Of agreeing with God and then going with Him.

Going with the God that loves me (loves us), immensely, has my best in mind, and has the power to do through me whatever He calls me to.

He has already freed me - but I have to choose to walk with Him out of the prison cell.

And sometimes that looks like work. Scary, intimidating steps. But He's with me.

So - I'm making little ebenezers to further hold me accountable and remind me of what the Lord is doing, when I face more opposition and doubting and want to turn back. Like this post.

(*An ebenezer is seem in scripture when Samuel, after receiving victory in battle, set up a monument of stone, literally meaning "Stone of Help" to remind him of God's help.. Today, it can be anything that reminds you of God's very real presence and help (a scripture posted in your home, a bracelet you wear that reminds you of something the Lord has spoken to or done in your life, etc.)

So, here is to stepping out in obedience in a scary, new, fun, exciting and challenging direction the Lord is leading. He promises to equip (Philippians 2:13) and to complete what He has started (Phil 1:6).

"One small step for man, one giant leap..."

It may just be one 'small' step, but obedience leads to more freedom, and that is a game-changer.
A life-changer.

One more way that I'm stepping into the abundant life that the Lord has promised me.

"...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." -John 10:10

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Blog Site coming soon

So, I'm a little excited to announce that I'm finally going to have a new blog site! It's been coming for quite a while....years, actually. It only makes sense that since my husband is this awesome web design guy that I take advantage of this talent. (see some of his work here)

I hope it will be finished soon! Life with two littles makes things interesting and not really happen on my own schedule, but that is totally okay. I'm learning to accept things as they are a little bit more than I have in the past and learning to go with the flow. (I know, insert shock and surprise here)

Anyways, since it's not ready yet, I figured I can at least talk about it. Maybe by actually putting it out there, it will hold me accountable to getting it done before another 2-3 years pass.

I'm also excited because this blog has always been something very personal to me, something that is so closely tied to my walk with Jesus that I have really tried to not every post anything just to post. I've tried to wait until I felt that there was something that the Lord wanted me to share, or that I'm learning and wrestling through, or that the spiritual gift of teaching inside of me makes me feel as if I will burst if I didn't share it.

I never post just to fill a post.

That explains why there are some sparse seasons. Sometimes it's just not time to share yet.

But I'm really glad that this is how the Lord is developing HIS blog. It feels organic, like being connected to the Vine and letting Him produce foliage and fruit.

I've also really been wrestling through what this new name is going to be. My perfectionist tendencies were definitely a challenge to overcome, as I wanted the IDEAL name that captured the very essence of all future posts (HA!). But, if you are keeping pace with the past few months here, you'd know that the Lord is really working on me in this area, trying to throw off my idealism and grasping the real right in front of me. The messy, the unfinished stuff, the off-the-cuff messages and interactions and life. So, there was a tension is praying through and really seeking the Lord for the name He had in mind, not something I was trying to figure out or analyze it to death.

And it finally came!

(I am gonna hold on to it for just a little bit longer, but I'll share soon)

It's perfect, for me. It captures so much meaning from my walk with the Jesus over the past 10+ years.

Not what I thought it would be, but perfect.

Just as the Lord always works.

So, I'm a little excited over here. Hope to have something beautiful to show you soon! :)

"You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." -Psalm 16:11

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jealousy (Legacy pt.2)

What a sweet morning it has been. I'm not a morning person, so rarely do I really appreciate this period of the day. But today, the Lord has opened my eyes to some of the sweet, sweet blessings in front of me.

So here is one of those moments.

My daughter was watching Sesame Street, and the theme today was jealousy. I was reading a book, but noticed after a while that her shoulders were drooping a little, as she sat in the middle of the room in front of the TV. So I put my book down and slowly walked up behind her, sat down, and wrapped my arms around her. I whispered into her ear, "What's wrong, sweetie?"

She sighed, and then mumbled something. I asked her to repeat.

"I am jealous of your phone. I want a phone like that."


"Oh, okay, sweetie. Well, let me try to find your little yellow phone. You don't need to be jealous of my phone. You have your own phone to play with."

Disclaimer: We have not purchased a phone for our 3 yr old. When I upgraded my phone about a year ago, we passed along my old phone for her to play apps on, with no service. Just want to clarify!

As I got up and started searching for her phone, it got me thinking about a few things.

1) What an astute grasp of this new concept for her. It's pretty neat to see how much she is learning every single day, and learning how to express those new ideas and feelings to me. I love being a part of that process.

2) Here we go. The beginning stages of understanding this awful struggle called jealousy. The struggle between recognizing that someone else has something we want, and having to choose if we are going to long after and envy that thing, allowing discord and division to crop up in relationships, and a seed of discontentment to be planted in our life
OR will we recognize our own desire for ______, bring that request to the Lord, and then leave it there, trusting Him to "order and provide." (Be Still My Soul, lyrics below)

How do you teach a child to battle and victoriously overcome something that you don't have victory over yourself?

That used to be the type of questions that would paralyze me in the past. Like before I had kids, wondering how in the world do you raise a child to grasp freedoms in their own lives that you haven't experienced for yourself?

But since then, the Lord has faithfully helped me to approach this from a different perspective. (He's good about flipping things on their end and showing you a different viewpoint).

I don't think it's a matter of me 'arriving.' Truthfully, I will never be completely resilient to the talons of jealousy and envy, comparison or insecurity, (or fill in whatever your struggle of choice may be), as much as it saddens my heart to face this truth.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." - Psalm 73:26

But I also don't think that is necessary anymore.

I can only teach Natalie what I know. I can only pass along to her things that I have experienced and believe, and try my best to get her connected to other resources and relationships that can offer her more as well.

And so what I teach her to do is fight. To identify the thorny snares like jealousy and anger, and give her tools to fight these things from becoming a part of who she is and her way of living. To show her that there are better ways, better things to choose in those moments when faced with the temptation to focus on what she doesn't have and forget all that she has been graciously given.

One of those tools being gratitude. Counting her blessings. Naming them throughout the day, and at night before she goes to bed. Each declaration a jab at discontent. Each thankful prayer giving greed a run for its money. This we can do.

So we finished our conversation and I had the privilege of being able to plant some seeds of truth into her heart, which I pray that they will take root. We talked about how we don't need to be jealous when others have something we want, in light of ALL that God has given us, and that we can be happy for them in all that God has done for them as well.

It was a good reminder for my heart, too, to be completely transparent.

As I parent, God parents my heart, too. Am I the only one?

What an amazing responsibility. Not only to pursue freedom in Christ for myself, knowing that God loves me and wants that freedom and abundant life for me ("the furious love of God" -G.K. Chesterton), but them to pursue that freedom for my babies as well . To live a life of freedom in front of them, to show them a real example of something different than what they may see displayed in the world.

To teach them to abide. Because this freedom and so many other treasures are found in Him, in His Presence, living connected to the Vine.

(Oh, what a rich storehouse of information in that one five-letter word. I'm excited to be unpacking it more this year. I am sure there will be many more posts to come about this, but it's just too soon for me to try to write about it yet.)

Lord, may You always be my pursuit, and may I be available for you to do in me what is needed, for me and for my family, and for those around me. Help me to not become short-sided and lose sight of the amazing ramifications of Your handiwork, that it would never stop and end in my life, but that it would and will overflow to others around me. What an amazing opportunity to get to be a part of Your work by allowing You to change me, first. Please do what is needed in me to be the wife that my husband needs, to support and encourage Your calling on his life. Please do in me what is needed for the calling on my kids' lives. To be the mom that that they need. In Jesus' Powerful Name, Amen.  
That is my prayer, almost each and every day.

That's a legacy worth pursuing.

Be Still My Soul (referenced above)
Be still, my soul,
The Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently, the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God, to order and provide.
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul,
Your best your heavenly friend,
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul,
Your God will undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake.
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul,
The waves and winds still KNOW
His voice who ruled them while he lived below.

Be still, my soul,
Be still, my soul,
Be still.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Legacy: What do I have to offer my kids (pt.1)

I imagine I will have a lot more to add to this topic in the future. It's such a full topic, one that means a lot to me.

But for today, I am excited because we just ordered Financial Peace University JR for the kidlets. Financial Peace University has been such a blessing and tool that the Lord has used to free us as a family, in more ways than one, and I am excited to learn how to relay these principles to my kids on their level.

For this to be part of how they view money and stewardship from the beginning.

A sure foundation for them to build on.

And to be honest, usually when I think God gives me something to teach the kids, I end up learning something new as well. So, looking forward to what the Lord has to show me.

Yay for awesome resources to empower parents, and double yay when you find them on sale! :)

PS-If you ever want to hear how the Lord has used FPU in our lives, I'm more than happy to talk about it. We're passionate for what it has meant for our lives, and also how we have had the privilege of seeing God use it in others as well through 3 years of coordinating the program.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Gift of Expectancy

I woke up with an expectant heart this morning. It's apparent the Lord is moving and I have this sense of excitement and anticipation. I honestly can't wait to see what He has in store.

This is not the norm, by the way. I don't often have very focused Kingdom eyes. I usually struggle with seeing only what is right in front of me and the minute details of my situations. I miss the forest for the trees often (or however that saying goes).

However, this morning is different. Evidence of the Holy Spirit moving. Exciting.

So, I started looking up about expectancy. I want to cling onto this new-found and often scarce creature and let it really take hold of me as well.

And I ran across these quote:
Rather than having expectations, remain expectant.

"Rather than having expectations, remain expectant."

Rather than having expectations, remain expectant.
Rather than having expectations, remain expectant.
Rather than having expectations, remain expectant.
Rather than having expectations, remain expectant.
"We need to be expectantly waiting to see what God will do next." (Source Unknown)
The post went on to talk about how we often focus on our unanswered questions and seemingly unanswered prayers, making the object of our focus more of what we think needs to happen instead of just waiting for the Lord to move. (Letting Him move in the ways that He desires and sees fit.)

Again, the Lord bringing me back to the concept of focus and how important it is that I pay attention to what I fix my eyes on. (Hebrews 12:1-2) Maybe after two years of this passage, it will finally start to take root in my heart and bring some new life.

It also made me think about this.

One of the enemy's schemes, at least a big one in my life, is to make me lose sight of Hope (Jesus) and that things can change. Deception that things will always be like this, never improve, light will never break through, I will never overcome this specific obstacle/struggle/relational issue/whatever.

BUT, Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me that God has been and is still moving on my behalf.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

This goes hand-in-hand with the amazing privilege and opportunity I have to pray, to ask the God of the heavens and earth to do His thing.

To redeem. To save. To heal. To bind. To forgive. To give us strength and power. Life.

Will you join me in this?

And then let us sit back and watch Him do it.

(Maybe not in the ways I expect, so I better ask Him for eyes to recognize His answers as well). :)

So, today I am thanking the Lord for the gift of expectancy. For the awesome reminder that with the Lord, anything is possible for Him and that the One that is in me is greater than the one in this world, able to do immeasurably more than I could even think to ask or imagine. (1 John 4:4) (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Radical Faith

I ran across an inspiration point today:

"Radical faith looks a lot like faithfulness." - Sarah Bessey

And it got me thinking about this year of embracing that God has called me to. 

About being faithful with what He has put in front of me, what some days may look small (depending on my perspective and heart's focus), and what other days I recognize as truly monumental.

I have recently been perusing some old journals, even back to my college days, and have seen how long I have been striving to find 'my calling,' this one thing that the Lord purposed for me to do, this one thing that offered a sense of identity and meaningfulness and security. 

I grasped at some many ideas. It's actually quite humorous, this far removed, to see the wide spectrum of speculations I had of this thing that the Lord has doing in my life.

Somewhere along the way, I believed the lie that there needed to be this one thing. This pillar I could cling to that would tell me

who I am
and what I was worth
and what I had to offer. 

Little did I know that He was there the whole.entire.time. 

It was the moments and seasons of confusion, when the latest 'thing' didn't work out and I was left once again clueless, that I would catch a glimpse of the True Thing.

That Jesus was there, pursuing me fervently despite my fickle heart. He was calling me to see His love for me, to know that He was there for me to cling to. To tell me that

I was His
and I was worth His death
and that I now had Life to offer others. 

If I would but partake. Receive. Accept Him as the One thing I had been searching for.

My idea of radical faith, with my perspective on the water walking and not the Jesus that Peter was walking to, was and still is an idol.

If I would stop and just ask myself some questions, maybe I would have recognized it earlier.

Do I think that Peter wanted to show off for the other guys in the boat?
Did he have something to prove?
Or was he just so compelled to be with this Jesus that he couldn't stay where he was, even if it meant doing something crazy?

And what about the moments that led up to this event?
What about the faith-building steps of obedience and recognizing that Jesus was the One he were looking for, had been waiting for?
Why was he in the boat in the first place?

Because he had been with Jesus that day and Jesus had sent them on ahead. He had been walking with Him - abiding - and so this was just the next step of faith for Peter to take (although a bold one, for sure, but from what I gather, that was who God had made Peter to be).

So, it just makes me think about how sometimes even the good stuff gets way to much weight in my mind and heart.

What if the most amazing radical faith walk I can ever have is to do the mundane tasks that are right in front of me, to the best of my ability, in love, with Jesus.

There may never be anything 'exciting' about it that calls for others' attention, but the more I get to know Jesus, the more exciting and meaningful I am finding those 'little' things to be. Because He is there with me. And I get to see Him in them.

They aren't so little anymore. My perspective has changed. When I choose to focus on what the Lord has entrusted to me right now - not guessing about future tasks or looking back at previous pursuits - their weight and purpose have grown.

As I embrace my life, I gain this wonderful new front-row perspective where I glimpse things I wasn't in position to see before.

Beautiful hidden treasures the Lord has entrusted to me.
Priceless pearls I hope to store away in my heart and ponder over them for the rest of my life. 

For me, a radical faith would look a lot more like consistently setting my eyes on Jesus in the midst of a world (and a heart) that constantly beckons for me to turn my attention elsewhere. That I would stay with Him. Find my home in Him. Lay down my head and rest there, in His Presence. Build my nest at His altar. Psalm 84:3 (Thank you, Shelley Giglio).

I pray that the Lord can grow that kind of faithfulness in me.

For those of you that know me, you would know. That would be pretty darn radical.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Faithful Grace: Embracing Builds Muscle

I did something hard last week -something new, something a few months ago I wouldn't have even considered, let alone committed to.

And even though it was hard and I was tired (physically, emotionally, mentally), in some ways it was exhilarating.

This may be no big deal for some of you more adventurous types.

But for me, yep. Biggie.

AND I embraced it.

Despite all the change that we have currently experienced and are still settling from, I chose to do something different. Why not? What's a little bit more newness, right?

Before you get the wrong impression and think I'm just using my blog to toot my own horn (or whatever comparable saying might sound a little cooler here), let me explain where I am going with this.

There will always be something that is intimidating, no matter how adventurous and bold you are. There is something that threatens you, that maybe you avoid or push to the back of your mind anytime it pops up. But it's there all that same, gnawing at you and whispering lies that you aren't _________(good enough, talented enough, loved enough, etc.) to possibly considering doing the thing.

And whether we realize it or not, when we allow a lie to persist in our hearts and minds like that, it affects us.

Anything that does not line up with the Word of God in us will lead us away from what the Lord has for us, the abundant life that He so graciously offers through His sacrifice on the Cross and through His Holy Spirit.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5

And what does this knowledge of God include?

That we are more than conquerors through Christ.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

"nor anything in all creation" - that pretty much covers it.

*Let me make one thing clear. I am not saying that because we are more than conquerors in Christ that this means that we will achieve the results we desire every time we step out and tackle what lies outside of our sweet, precious comfort zones.

What I am saying is that if we dig deep enough, I believe what we will find is that it's not really the thing that we're afraid of, but more the thought of the potential failure associated with it (whatever that looks like for you).

And why is failure so bad? Because I believe that somewhere deep down we equate failure with these statuses:

I am deficient.
I am undesirable.
I am unworthy.
I have nothing to offer.
I am unacceptable.
I am unlovable.

Maybe it's just me, but I have fed into the lie for far too long that I needed to accomplish or 'do' in order to be acceptable, in order to be really loved.

But that's not what my God says.

He says that Christ did what I couldn't, and that Christ is the final word over my life.

"It is finished."

No more need to try to do what I was never able to do for myself in the first place.

And because of this AMAZING salvation that I'm offered through Christ, I now also gain the freedom to try new things.

I may fail, but ultimately, it doesn't change my status in Him.
So - that was my BIGGEST take-away from this past week. But here are a few more related ones that I gleaned as well.
  • When I step out and try something new,  it is no longer as intimidating.
    There is a level of intimidation that only comes from the unknown. Once we've experienced something -gotten close enough to examine it and grapple with it, there is knowledge that comes from that experience that helps you stand up to those feelings of intimidation and put them in their place. The Lord shows up and gives you a greater glimpse of Himself and who you are in Him. And therefore, they are no longer quite as intimidating.
  • When I don't avoid hard situations, I learn how to maneuver them better.
    No huge real revelation here. We learn from experience. If you've been down a path once, it's easier to know your way the next time. HOWEVER, there is quite a difference between knowing this intellectually and actually walking it out. Easy to say, harder to practice.
  • When I step out of myself and my natural skill-set, I experience God's faithfulness and grace. Faithful Grace.
    I just love the sound of that. And it's true. When I am no longer relying on my own personal strengths, it gives the Lord room to show up and show out in and around my life. If I choose to get my eyes off myself and my immediate circumstances, and focus on Jesus, then I get to experience Him in a new way.

Each new, intimidating, hard thing I face offers a new step that I get to take with my Savior. He promises to be an Ever-Present Help in time of need, to never leave me or forsake me.

He is my Constant Companion.

If the Lord is for us, who can be against us?

So here is a victory yell for anyone that has stepped out of their comfort zone lately!

We all need to celebrate the little victories. Sometimes that is where we gain the most ground against the enemy and against our own fears, and where the Lord does some of His greatest work in and through us.

Don't underestimate the little things.

I'll close this with a personal challenge from me to you, in love (which I am taking myself as well):

Ask the Lord to reveal an area of your life that you may be shying away from out of ________ (fear, feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, past failure, etc), and ask Him to go with you through it. I'm not talking mammoth steps here, unless that is where the Lord leads you, but rather something small that will help build your faith and trust in the Lord as you experience His faithful grace through it.

And I pray, sincerely, that God will bless you through it. I believe it brings His heart joy when we ask Him to reveal more of Himself to us, and we put ourselves in situations for Him to grow our faith.

And if you are so bold, I would love love love to hear about it. My comment section is always open - I would offer you a cup of coffee as well if that were possible!

(While I was writing this post, this song was playing through my head and I added to my rotation as my own little personal theme song. Find one for yourself that you can cling to as you pray and step out!)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let Nothing Move Me

The Lord had been leading to come home, to be with my babies, for a while. Some days it seemed like He was taking His own sweet time on it, if I can be completely honest, and others I was grateful for any 'delays' in the process because I was very intimidated at this new prospect.

Some days I still am.

But there were always little things - faithful words of encouragement, little ways the Lord would move this circumstance or provide a new opportunity - that peppered my way with reassurances that He was still moving, still working, still making a way. 

Truthfully, He has always done this, but sometimes it takes it being in the area of one of my greatest desires for me to really recognize, really see.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

It was one day, in a very unexpected context, that the Lord spoke to me through 1 Corinthians 15:58,

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

There were lots of subtle intricacies about this verse that struck me in the moment, hitting on my insecurities, my doubts, my impatience, etc. But I knew in that moment that this was going to have to be a signpost for me, something that I needed to keep right in front of me, a daily reminder.

Let nothing move me.

If God has given you a dream, something you know that is not of yourself and probably involved Him even changing your heart at one point to even want the thing, then cling to it. Keep it in front of you. Don't let anything move you from what He is leading you to.

Not your fears. Not your selfishness. Not your timeline or agendas.

(cue death to self)

And give yourself fully to it. Sell the farm to buy the field. Matthew 13:44-45

Do what is your part, and then trust God to do His. He is faithful to complete what He has started.

"The One who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24

I was reminded this morning of this verse, of the morning the Lord impressed it upon my heart and told me to EMBRACE the calling to be at home with my babies all.the.time.

There was something powerful about that moment (maybe you've experienced this before). Despite myself (my intimations, hesitations, unanswered questions, etc.), I felt emboldened for the task. Empowered. Ready. Pretty darn significant for those that were walking this journey with me.

The truth that God is a Present God is powerful. I can give myself fully to what He calls me to because He will be there, equipping and filling  and extending His grace over and over again. It's not up to me. He produces the fruit. He brings the growth. I just have to submit and allow Him to do it in me.

Lord, thank You that You are a
God that has made a way for me eternally and makes a way for me daily. Your grace is sufficient for everything I will face today. Help me to embrace this truth and walk with You in it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

God's Peace

It has recently been brought to my attention that I am stressed concerning some things in my life (not a surprise, but I guess sometimes it takes an outsider's perspective to make you realize that something may be more of an issue than you thought). So, I have been purposefully trying to seek out biblical passages and truths about joy and peace, to find out ways that I am forsaking these gifts in my life and therefore experiencing unneeded stress.

This devotion below really spoke to me this morning concerning receiving God's peace, and I wanted to share, in case anyone else needs this little nugget of truth today.

"MY PEACE is the treasure of treasures:  the pearl of the great price.  It is an exquisitely costly gift, both for the Giver and the receiver.  I purchased this Peace for you with My blood.  You receive this gift by trusting Me in the midst of life's storms.  If you have the world's peace - everything going your way - you don't seek My unfathomable Peace.  Thank Me when things do not go your way, because spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials.  Adverse circumstances are normal in a fallen world.  Expect them each day..  Rejoice in the face of hardship, for I have overcome the world."

Matthew 13:46, "When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

James 1:2, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,"
John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Friday, January 17, 2014


Does anyone else like the "Unsubscribe" feature on newsletters?

In this season of my life, when I feel not only the desire but the necessity to simplify, I LOVE what that little unsubscribe link can offer me at the bottom of the email.

Confession: I used to be a subscription junkie. In order to not miss out on any upcoming deals at my favorite stores, or any encouraging blog posts, or whatever, I would subscribe to just about anything.

This is not a good thing to do when you consider your inbox a type of to-do list, by the way. Good to know yourself and your tendencies.

SO, I am turning it around! Now I get a wonderful little high, a new a wonderful sense of accomplishment from unloading a lot of this unneeded distractions and time-sucks from my life.

Unsubscribe? Why yes, thank you. (check)
Unsubscribe to all? Yes, definitely. (check, check)

It's the little things.

But it has also encouraged me to take a longer look at other aspects of my life as well.

Where have I started subscribing to things that aren't necessary for me right now? What have I allowed in my life, in my head, in my heart, that doesn't line up with what the Lord is doing? What voices? What influences? What activities that drain my time and energy?

(In light of my past experiences, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams...)

So, I'm asking myself today what I need to unsubscribe from?

Lord, help me identify the things in my life that speak things that don't foster what You are speaking to me, what You are doing in my life. And then help me to intentionally choose to no longer allow them the high ground in my life in which they current take up real estate. Help me create new habits where old ones need to be demolished. Help me see things that aren't beneficial to where You have me now and where I am going with You. Help me to say "yes" to the things that bring life and encouragement to me, my family, and those around me. And help me to say "no" to the things that don't. I need Your wisdom. Thank you, God, that not only hear me when I pray, but pursue my heart and prompt me to pray in the first place. Thank You for loving me and not allowing me to stay where I am, but constantly calling me forward, after You. Amen.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Task Is Too Heavy

I was ready one of my daily devos early this week (I Will Look Up by Kari Patterson) and the author was referencing Exodus 18,  where Moses is managing the Isrealites, acting as the only judge. His father-in-law Jethro comes to visit, tells him that he needs to delegate his tasks, elect some more judges, and stop trying to run the whole show himself. ( that last part may be my personal inference, but that's kinda how I read it this morning).

"The next day Moses sat down to judge the people, and they stood around Moses from morning until evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw everything he was doing for them he asked, “What is this thing you’re doing for the people? Why are you alone sitting as judge, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening? ”
Moses replied to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. Whenever they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I make a decision between one man and another. I teach them God’s statutes and laws.”

“What you’re doing is not good,” Moses’ father-in-law said to him. “You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You can’t do it alone." -Exodus 18:13-18

Kari Patterson comments how Jethro had the insight to know that Moses wouldn't be able to offer the Isrealites what they needed and deserved (wise leadership and discernment) if Moses was worn out from trying to do it all himself.

Oh, how this hit me right between the eyes.
(A mix of deep conviction of truth, with a little bit of humor, thinking of all the little disputes that I've been having to break up around my living room. The Lord knows that we receive truth more easily sometimes with laughter.)

In different seasons of my life, God has used this passage in various ways to put me in my place, but this morning, it was a little different. For the most part, over the course of the last few years, I have let go of a lot of the roles I used to hold. But it seems the Lord is still doing some chipping away, some refining, some pruning.

"I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit." -John 15:1-2 (AMP)

This morning, He addressed my heart a little deeper.

He asked me to stop trying to do it any of it by myself - for me to stop trying to manage "my people" (the Sweetness and the little prince) in my wisdom and discernment, without relying on His Holy Spirit.

He spoke about how I so often get worn out from the daily repetitiveness of managing the little disputes and messes, routine tasks where I am not asking Him to continually fill me with His wisdom and discernment to manage them.

I am not offering them what they need when I am not offering them Him, Christ in me.

I'm not saying I believe I'm called to elect others to come manage and care for my kids, although there is definite wisdom in knowing when I need a break and taking time for myself, to fellowship with other believers, to serve others, etc. (I can talk about that A WHOLE LOT MORE, but I'll save that for another post).

However, the primary role of caregiving for my kidlets remains with me for this season. Unlike Moses', God is not sending a Jethro to relieve me of this position.

What He has done, though, is provide an Advocate.

Unlike Moses', I have the Holy Spirit inside of me to infuse me with the power, wisdom, and strength I need to do things the way He directs. I can choose to elect the Holy Spirit to take the forefront each and every day, to ask for and rely on Him.

"Because the tasks is too heavy for you. You can’t do it alone."

And there have been awesome moments when the Lord will bring a verse to mind, a passage I haven't thought about for a while, that applies to my current situation with the kids. Wisdom, right when I need it. Supernatural direction. It's amazing.

But in all honesty I forget to ask. I still, somewhere in the crevices of my heart, am deceived that this is somehow my task to complete, my responsibility to figure out and do on my own.

I am praying that this time, the truth of these words - that I can not do it alone. That apart from Him, I can do nothing, that they will stick. Permeate my heart and mind until my actions look different. My decisions reflect the truth that I have and need a Savior each moment, every day.

"God is our refuge and strength, 
an Ever-Present help in trouble." -Psalm 46:1

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wisdom & Relationships

Jordan and I listened to a great message last night by Andy Stanley called "Ask It." (You can check out the series here.) He challenged us to ask ourselves, in light of (1) our previous experiences, (2) our current circumstances, and (3) our future hopes and dreams, if this is the wise thing for me to do. ('This' being any situation or decision I'm faced with, becoming aware of how even seemingly small decisions can set me on a path towards God's best for me or distraction, despair, destruction.)

THEN, as the Lord so lovingly does for me often, He reinforced this message in my devotion time, some of which was an excerpt from "I Will Look Up" by Kari Patterson.
(A great 31-day devotional to encourage you to seek the Lord first in your life.)

It was such a good passage that I just want to share with you today and let it speak for itself. I personally think it's a great challenge to be aware and hold ourselves accountable to how we often, casually, approach ways to spend our time or meet our need for connection.

I want to prayerfully consider her words and the guidelines listed to consider if I'm making wise choices that are good for me -in light of my previous experiences, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams.

Day 5: Online Relationships and Seeking Him

"I thought I was the only one.

I read a study last week that found that while 91% of people feel more connected as a result of Facebook, only 29% of people reported that it made them feel happier. In fact, a vast majority of people admitted self-destructive habits including gawking over people from the past (83%) and comparing themselves to others (76%). Strangely, we love being connected to all of these people, but we aren’t any happier because of it.

We’re funny creatures, aren’t we?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a FB-bashing article. I’m on there too. Although I’ll admit I’m not often actually  on there. I check in occasionally, but whenever I start scrolling down the feed, aimlessly
searching for who-knows-what, I find myself sucked into the social media hole. I emerge later—too much later—feeling a little dizzy and disillusioned. And, strangely, although I’m connecting with people there, I actually feel more disconnected to the real-time 3-D life I’m living right there in the moment.

It’s not all bad. Obviously the problem is us, not social media. But it poses a problem we must deal with – how to effectively exercise discernment and discipline in our relationships when we just have so stinkin’many of them.

Are our online relationships help or hindrance to our relationship with Christ? To seeking Him first?

Every person we interact with online is a form of relationship. Even if we only gawk at her photos or roll our eyes at her status updates. Even if we just spend an hour perusing her site because we're so fascinated by her life. Every person we interact with creates a form of relationship, which influences us at least in the moment and sometimes even more.

Some sites I visit genuinely equip me, inspire me, encourage me, and challenge me. The online world isn't an evil one. The point of this post is this:

We must evaluate: What is the fruit of my online relationships? Is it helping or hindering? (A relationship can be a two-way interaction or simply one-way interaction with an online in-put of any kind.)

Questions to consider: After spending time with this person or on this site …

  • Do I want to engage more in the nitty-gritty details of my life or do I want to escape?
  • Do I feel inspired, challenged, and encouraged to live for God or distracted and dis-heartened?
  • Do I feel comparison and competition as a result of our interaction or do I feel confronted, convicted, comforted, or celebrated?
  • Does this person exhibit the fruit of the Spirit? 
We must exercise discipline with who we allow into our homes and our hearts. Scripture says,“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23). Your life springs from my heart. And when my heart is overwhelmed with the picture-perfect images of immaculate homes, do-everything women who apparently never melt down in a heap of tears, or catty comments that sprung up on the social media feed, it's harder to walk in the extravagant grace of Jesus Christ and keep my eyes on the life He's given me here.

I'm not advocating living in a bubble, but I'm encouraging all of us to be discerning women. Our hearts are our most precious possession. Guard yours fiercely. 

(I do believe that thoughtful, intentional, online inputs are absolutely helpful in this life of faith. I wouldn’t have my blog if I didn’t. I believe we can create a safe, edifying circle where we’re challenged, equipped, inspired, convicted, and encouraged to know, love, and follow Jesus Christ.My goal for Sacred Mundane is exactly that, and I’d be honored to interact with you there. Come visit?)

 Action Step »
Check out these great 12 guidelines for social networking below (included in Tim Chester’s new book, Will You Be My Facebook Friend?) and spend some time today evaluating your online inputs.

Twelve Guidelines for Social Networking by Tim Chester

  1. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say were the people concerned in the room.
  2. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't share publicly with your Christian community.
  3. Ensure your online community is visible to your offline Christian community.
  4. Challenge one another if you think someone’s online self reflects a self-created identity rather than identity in Christ.
  5. Challenge one another if you think someone’s online self doesn’t match their offline self. 
  6. Use social networking to enhance real world relationship not to replace them. 
  7. Don’t let children have unsupervised internet access or accept as online friends people you don’t know offline. 
  8. Set limits to the time you spend online and ask someone to hold you accountable to these.
  9. Set aside a day a week as a technology “Sabbath” or “fast”. 
  10. Avoid alerts (emails, tweets, texts and so on) that interrupt other activities especially reading, praying, worshiping and relating.
  11. Ban mobiles from the meal table and the bedroom. 
  12. Look for opportunities to replace disembodied (online or phone) communication with embodied (face-to-face) communication. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

9 Days into Embrace

I should have braced myself.

Putting it out there, live on the "internets", that my word for 2014 is Embrace.

I think that's like praying for patience. (Commence opportunities to put this new little verb into action.)

This week. has been a doozy.

We have not had a huge amount of struggle with Natalie, who I fondly call the Sweetness. Up until 18 months of age, she was laid back, just like her daddy. She has always been full of personality, dancing since one of our first sonograms to full-out "dance parties" in our living room, to date. She is our little extrovert.

But even a little ways past 18 months, it was doable.

Now, at 3 years and 7 months, she can give us a run for...the hills? A run for something....anything, but dealing with the concentrated stubbornness of this 3ft-something little girl.

I kid....kind of.

Most days, we're good. She's a lot like myself....particular and indecisive. Sounds like a contradiction, huh?'s just that we don't know what we want until it's right there in front of us, or if we do know what we want, we will fight you for it with everything we have and probably can't fully focus on anything else until that one thing is accomplished.

Anyways, I believe most of our battles stem from our similarities. It's hard to face truth about yourself day in and day out, things that you don't necessarily want published on the front page of your biography. She is definitely a mirror that God has placed in my life to sharpen me. And some days, I don't want to look. Plain and simple.

Moving on to this past week, however. We faced something that quite honestly we didn't know what to do with. It started out with Natalie repeatedly asking to go potty at bedtime. After probably the 3rd trip, we were starting to question the validity of her requests and see more of an attempt at delaying the inevitable.

Flash back to the Lamp incident of '13. (Total meltdown when we removed the lamp from her room that had become her excuse to call us into her room on a nightly basis, to turn on and then turn off and then turn on again. This lasted 2.5 hours until she pretty much screamed herself to sleep.)

Jordan and I looked at each other, and asked if this was 'another lamp.' After 8 trips per hour for about 2 hours, we had had enough. I am not going to go into a lot of details, because honestly I don't want to relive it and also I believe that some things are just for our family. God entrusted us with Natalie for reasons beyond my comprehension (and I am honored to get to steward her life for as long as He allows me to), and I believe built inside of this parenting journey with her are experiences precisely planned and timed to do things in all of us, if we will allow Him access.

Which brings me to my point. We were faced with an intense few days of challenge with Natalie. Challenging our authority. Challenging pretty much anything we had tried thus far concerning discipline techniques.

(And side note for any concerned mommies out there, we did get her checked out at Children's Healthcare to ensure that nothing physical, like a UTI, was the culprit behind the behavior. Tests were clear.)

We felt utterly powerless at times. I honestly think that I have never prayed for and sought after God's wisdom as fervently as I did this past week.


And after the first evening, laying exhausted in bed and already thinking of all that the next day would hold - lack of sleep, two kids at the house, who knows what emotional state Natalie would wake up in - I found myself falling into a really bad habit that I never really identified until that night. I guess this season has sharpened my vision and made me sensitive to the things that hinder me from embracing what is in front of me, good and bad.

I was sitting there, trying my best to figure out how to escape. Not that I was physically going to leave, although that may have crossed my mind in the thick of it earlier that evening, but just trying to figure out who I could call to come help. What I could do to fix the issue. What needed to change. How could I delegate this issue to someone else.

To put it how I saw it with new eyes that night, how can I disengage from my life right now.

I was already declaring defeat for the next day and it hadn't even started yet. And what I was subconsciously doing was rejecting that this very day was the Lord's. He had been with me the whole time. And He still was.

Could it be that He had designed it, allowed it -however you want to say it- to show me something? To tweak something? To break something in me, in Natalie?

(And probably a million other things that I will never see or understand.)

And I was doing my best to try to get out of it.

What blessings have I forfeited because I left the fight too early? That may be a question that haunts me this year.

All this to say, after 3 long days of questioning, praying, crying, conversations with trusted fellow parents, reading other resources, we started to see the pattern break.

We didn't find a formula. I don't know that we implemented some new crafty technique that helped (maybe some of it didn't hurt). I think it was mainly due to that fact that we stood our ground. We put down stakes, so to speak, and decided that we were going to camp out here as long as it takes to get through this together, as a family.

I intentionally decided that night to not fight the situation, but to embrace even this as part of what needed to happen with Natalie. Something had not gone terribly wrong. This was part of it.

Stubborn sin-natures rearing their ugly heads.

Clueless parents that rediscovered how desperately they need a Counselor to guide them in each moment with this amazing blessing of God who needs parents who will direct her in the way she should go.

We found grace in a lot of ways this week. Mostly in that it only lasted 4 days.

But I also feel as though my relationship with Natalie has deepened somehow. Our roles have been more solidified. It's almost as if we can see her as a little bit more secure, knowing that there are some defined boundaries around these parts.

And you know how a relationship feels closer when you've worked through conflict, and you're willing to stick it out. No emotional disengagement. Not wimping out and compromising what seems right to make things work. You find an intimacy there that you can't purchase or manufacture any other way, I believe.

I got a dose of that with the Sweetness this week. The little spirited one still has my heart. Completely.

And I got to learn more about it. Priceless lessons. Things not everyone will get to know about my daughter. What a treasure. We actually joked and laughed with each other after all of this in ways we haven't before. What a sweet reward.

A repeating theme this past week as also been about how there is necessary time between when you plant a seed and when you can reap a harvest. I believe, in God's goodness, He allowed me to catch a glimpse of the truth of this with Nat.

Galatians 6:9, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

I desire to one day reap a sweet, meaningful relationship with Natalie. One of sweet fellowship about our personal walks with the Lord and also about completely meaningless things as well. I want to be able to share as much as we can with each other.

(A neat concept, really. Reaping relationships. Kind of a new perspective on that for me.)

To wrap this up...

I fully expect, although not ready to invite, more challenges like this with her.

(All of you who have been parents longer than we have, you can collectively say 'amen' here.)

I do hope that we have a little bit of a breather, to be completely honest, because like I said. This week was a doozy.

But I am thankful for what I've gained through it, by embracing and not retreating.

The Lord's faithfulness already at work, 9 days in to the year. Thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Have you ever heard something, and didn't know how much you needed to hear it until you did?

A truth that needed to be confirmed in your life.
A ray of light that revealed a need, a hope, a secret desire.
A spark that reignited a long-forgotten dream.

You start to tear up and it surprises you.

Some seasons I'm sensitive. I can recognize the Holy Spirit's movement in my life, see His hand in conversations and circumstances that surround me.

Other seasons, I'm distracted. A bit more callous. Caught up in my head, myself.

And yet He still pursues and beckons me. And He speaks. And it catches me off guard.

His truth is confirmed in my innermost spirit, and my response. I cry.

I have always cried in the Presence of the Lord. I cry during worship. I cry when someone speaks a truth that is meant for me or someone that I dearly love. I cry when a friend shares a conviction or a recent disciplining of the Lord.

"-Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:14

Thank you, Lord, for your fierce pursuit of my heart. I long to love you faithfully, but my flesh fails. But you are faithful.

2014: A Word for the Year

I was inspired by this post to pray and see the Lord would have one word for me to really focus on this coming year. In the past, the Lord has definitely used themes in my life to speak truth to me, direct my steps, and kick my butt (to be completely honest), and so this isn't a new concept by any means.

But with SO much change in my life as of late (as in the past 12 months), my head has been far from objective and my thoughts far from organized & compiled. So, a focus would be a great thing these days.

And sure enough, as I started praying and thinking over the last few things I've really sensed the Lord speaking to me about, a theme appeared. A word that keeps coming back time and time again. (Thankfully this year's was not Africa like '99...that would be a little interesting considering my current season of life).

As I mentioned above, 2013 held more change jam-packed into a 12-month period that I ever remember experiencing. Please let me clarify, for those of you that may not know me personally, I am not really fond of change. We have never really gotten along. I don't get excited when change comes around, even if I know that it's good. I despise learning curve periods. I enjoy doing things I can do well, and change is not really one of them.

Here are some of the major changes we have faced, in no specific order:
  • I had my 2nd child, a sweet little boy named Peter, in March
  • We stepped out in faith, as a family, by me moving to a part-time status at work to be home with our two kidlets
  • My husband, Jordan, accepted a new offer (leaving a position he had held for 9+ years, the duration of our marriage so far)
  • I eventually made the leap to resign  from my position of 8 yrs to be a full-time SAHM
  • The Lord directing my husband, and therefore our family, to start visiting a new church (not a change we make lightly or that isn't without heartache)
Of all the changes listed above, I consider all of them to be good. Blessings. More than we could imagine or ever deserve, and Lord faithfully bringing about things that He has been directing us to for quite some time. Some answers to prayers we've been praying for years, others pleasant surprises.

But if you're like me, and change doesn't come too easily for you either, even 'good' change can leave your head spinning and your legs feeling a little shaky.

Of all the items listed, let's not forget the domino affect that any change in your life produces. Change doesn't happen in a vacuum, and doesn't just affect one part of your life (as much as men would like to believe with their tidy, compartmentalized brains). Each change has ramifications, and I think sometimes we forget that. Relationships. Time management. Physical Tolls. Emotions.

Anyways, needless to say, the Lord is calling me to EMBRACE change in my life. I am very fortunate that the big ones have been positive things. Positive doesn't always, or even often, equal easy, but I do recognize that there are struggles that people are facing every day that they would gladly exchange for my list above. But at the same time, comparison can only go so far, because we each carry our own load and have our own issues to work through. My list hits on more than one sensitive area in my own life that the Lord wishes to deal with, and so again, positive doesn't equal easy.

Now on with the interesting part of this post - what the Lord has shown me so far regarding EMBRACE for 2014.

I am SURE that there will be more, and maybe even needed edits to this post throughout the year, as the Lord clarifies and sharpens my focus on it. But so far, here is what I'm getting...(and again, in no specific order)

  1. Embrace - to be fully present, to start to recognize ways that I retreat or check out from hard moments or when things don't go as I had planned; to recognize when my planning mode starts to pull me away from what is right in front of me instead of enabling me to do more with what time I've been given.
  2. Embrace -embracing the real over the pursuit of the ideal; this was a phrase the Lord gave me the past couple of months as He has revealed how much I pursue ideals, missing the amazing gifts He has given me here and now.  In fact, 'ideal' has become a bad word around these parts. It has been added to Natalie's list of words we don't say, along with "freaking" and "butt."
  3. Embrace - boldness; quick obedience; no more delaying obedience by asking for continual confirmations; wholeheartedness - jumping in with both feet instead of erring on the side of caution; not allowing my fear of how others will interpret my actions keep me from what I believe the Lord is calling me to do
  4. Embrace - accepting myself and who God has made me to be, and striping away any 'add-ons' I've picked up over the years, trying to make a more 'acceptable' version of myself; and then extending that same acceptance to other people, right where they are as well, in process.
  5. Embrace - God's love for me; truly finding my security in the intimate knowledge of this truth; I think that only then can I really embrace the changes around me, knowing I am secure in the One that doesn't change.

That's quite a lot, huh? A little daunting in some ways, but I am excited to see where the Lord is leading this year, and to embrace the changes He desires to make in me

One small victory story so far in this process of embracing change:

We moved my little Peterman into his room & crib for the first time this past week. He had been sleeping in different arrangements in our room, most recently a pack 'n play, in order for us to conveniently feed him in the middle of the night, and we just enjoy having him close. But it was time to transition him. Normally I would be pretty sappy and nostalgic about this type of thing, as most developmental changes that my littles face. I tend to mourn them, seeing what they will not be anymore, whereas Jordan gets excited with each new stage and what it will hold. So, I decided to try to follow his lead on this one, as it seems congruent to the Lord's direction as well.

And this new change has brought about sweet times of rocking with my baby boy that I didn't have before. Not sure if it's the new locale, or just a change in his development, but he was never really interested in letting me rock him before. But now, I get about 3 times a day, holding that sweet baby as he falls asleep. I would say that is a pretty sweet substitute right there.

What a great reminder that so often when change may be taking something away, it may also offer something new and maybe even better on the other end. 

Whew - okay, thanks for taking that ride with me! 2014, bring it on!