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. (Okay...so 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. Whew....it 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? Nope....it'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!