Thursday, September 19, 2013

What If???

     This is probably deeper than I should get with some, but I’ve been pondering the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle” for some time now.  What if this is not the case?  Maybe God doesn’t give us these things, but what if this world gives us more than we can bear at times: temptation, depression/anxiety, addictions, insecurities, death, overwhelmingly busy schedules, financial burdens...whatever it may be?  What if, in these moments, we realize we need saving?  That we need a rescuer to come down and scoop us up so we can handle the things this world can bring.  What if some of us need those rock bottom moments so we can humbly realize we’re not in control?  To remind us that God is sovereign and He promises us His healing hand.  And that He will carry our burdens and hardships by giving us an inner strength like no other: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives”. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27.  What if it’s necessary for some of us to receive more than we can deal with just so we can cling to Him knowing we can’t do it alone?  What if we need something heavy to jolt us, to wake us up from our “content coma”, to help us get our focus back on Him?  It’s so uncomfortable though, I know. But, what if getting us out of our comfort zone is our saving grace?  Most of the time, I gain strength and spiritual peace in my weaknesses. Some of you may too.  I can definitely relate to Paul in the New Testament:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

      The Bible study I’ve recently started attending has challenged me with this question: have I realized I need a Savior? In this season of life I can honestly answer, “yes” to this question. I desperately need Him in my current circumstance.  The times when I’m complacent or everything’s going just as it should…not so much. This is when I can potentially start to stray from Him the most.  The realization that I need a Savior is crucial in my understanding of Christ and essential in my walk with Him.  It’s easy to say I believe in Christ, of course.  But, until I actually grasp why He came to earth for me, why He died for me and why He resurrected for me, it won’t change my perspective or my heart. This is where I'll find my Him.  I'll find a Savior.  It definitely becomes more personal, right?  

Monday, July 29, 2013

What's Been Going On with Us....

A sweet smile!

Just chatting....

Who says girls can't play football!? As long as you wear your dress. 
Danny is getting her ready for football season. 
She even knows some of the Ole Miss players names. 
She's pretending she's Dante in this video....

She loves her new floaties!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Random Thoughts

      I’m running on an hour of sleep today. ER with Addy for a few hours last night. Croup is no joke. Poor baby. I absolutely hate it when she's this sick. Kids with vomit bags surrounded us. One kid actually puked, but that was enough for me. If you know me well you know I'm a germaphobe. If you know me really well you know I hate puke! I was not really prepared to face one my fears last night. Silver lining: These sick babies got the best care ever and will quickly get back to health. So thankful for pediatric nurses. They’re a gift from God. Addy also got some really great meds. They're working already. She's on the mend and eating lots of popsicles. Very fussy and cranky this morning, but wanted to just cuddle up with me. I really enjoyed the closeness of her wrapped in my arms. I’ll want these moments back one day. Got bleach on my very favorite shirt. I’m still wearing it. I wore it to my appointment. It’s an awesome color (it brings out my eye color) minus the bleach stain. And, it fits perfectly around my pregnant belly. I refuse to stop wearing it. I ran out the door without a jacket. Is it really Spring? Note to self: Check the weather before leaving house without a jacket, genius. Silver lining: If I were wearing my jacket, there would've been bleach on it too. Note to self: Collect old jackets to give to those that don't have jackets. I hope I really do it this time. Oh, time. Precious time. What I fill with my precious time these days. Trying to make doc appointment and left cell phone in garage. Had to go back and get it. Danny didn't know I came back. He called asking me if I'd ever experienced the garage door going up and down on its own before. I was going to mess with him, but didn't have the energy. He thought we had a ghost or a really smart rat. He makes me laugh. Rewarded myself with a chicken biscuit with cheese from Chick-fi-la. Hey, it’s the small things. I may continue to reward myself today with a chocolate hazelnut frozen yogurt waffle cone at Pinkberry. Another one of my guilty pleasures. Got to see our sweet Asher on the big screen.... it’s so amazing every time I get to see him on an ultrasound. We got a 3D this time. He was absolutely gorgeous! I can't wait to meet him. My crazy morning ended with happy tears and a sigh of relief. Just basking in the moment. I was reminded of Scripture: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I then had another thought. Jesus saying in a tender voice "my sweet girl, don’t worry about the other things going on around you. Enjoy what I’ve given you. What's right in front of you. Don’t lose sight of what I’ve done for you. These are the moments that count.” So true…. so very true. There's going to be so many more crazy days like this when Asher gets here. Some days when I feel I don't have it all together and I'm a mess. Some days when I feel inadequate. Some days when I feel like pulling my hair out. And, some days when I’m thankful for the days that do go smoothly. But, it’s all worth it. My kids are here to remind me of sweet blessings. A mom’s job can be the hardest. At the same time, it can be the most fulfilling, most rewarding job in the world. It's honestly one of the best things I've ever done. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Learning to Move Forward

      I'm reading a great book called "Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" written by Lysa Terkeurst. I would highly recommend it to anyone struggling with reining in emotions. Lysa Terkeurst’s life experiences in this book have brought me so much comfort.  I haven't felt so alone after reading it and it's helped me through a really challenging season. Just like Lysa, I've grown up with past experiences that have shaped me into the woman I am today.  I've been conditioned to negatively think and feel a certain way for way too long.  I feel oddly safe with these unhealthy ways of thinking because it's what I'm used to. It's only when I started letting Christ in a few years ago that things started to change.  He's taught me so much through His example.  The way that He’s loved other people is astounding especially when they haven't loved Him back.  For Him to actually ask God to forgive those that brutally beat Him and nailed Him to a cross (Luke 23:34) boggles my mind.  We can all learn from His testimony.  He's definitely getting me to a more healthier, more freeing place in my life.  I'm a work in progress though. I can revert back to my old ways of thinking at times. Boy, I can be difficult.  My stubborn nature can take over and I don't want to go where God is moving me.  I’m so thankful Jesus loves me through it though (He wasn’t kidding when He said He has come to love the world in the midst of its brokenness). I'm making what Lysa calls "imperfect progress": "Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace... imperfect progress... it's okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs.  It's okay to draw the line in the sand and start over again and again.  Just make sure you're moving the line forward. Move forward.  Take baby steps, but at least take steps that keep you from being stuck.  Then change will come. And it will be good."  Imperfect progress has allowed me to take a gigantic sigh of relief from a life filled with anxiety encouraging me just to make progress without the pressure of doing it perfectly. God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He just expects me to walk with Him through this progress and allow Him to work in my life.       
    I've learned valuable lessons from individuals this year. And, even more on the person that God wants me to become.  I’ve taken baby steps on how to make better choices in the middle of my raw emotions. Through this challenging season, I've been hurt.  But, instead of getting stuck in my circumstances I’m choosing to move forward. God has given me the hope that more change is coming for me. And not just for me, but for the people in my life.  My emotions not only influence me but also those around me.  My progress may be imperfect and slow, but it's progress.  I just need to be patient and wait on God to move me.
 Thank you for those that have walked with me through this season of life. I'm especially grateful for those that have loved me even through my fears, my anxieties, my weaknesses…. my mess.
      Here are some highlights from the book that have really helped me through this challenging season.  I thought they would also bring comfort to others going through similar challenges:

"Yes, but I must remember God gave me emotions so I can experience life, not destroy it."

"No, we won't bend from the weight of our past, but we will bow to the One who holds our hope for our better future.  It's a truth-filled future in which God reveals how emotions can work for us instead of against us."   

"For me, perspective doesn't just help me see the current circumstance I'm facing from a new vantage point.  It also helps me process future things I face in a calmer, more grounded way.  It helps me develop a new way of thinking. And this isn't just some theory I've observed in my life.  It's actually the way God wired us."   

"I can't control the things that happen to me each day, but I can control how I think about them.  I can say to myself, "I have a choice to have destructive thoughts or constructive thoughts right now.  I can wallow in what's wrong and make things worse, or I can ask God for a better perspective to help me see good even when I don't feel good." 

"I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control."

"Could I trust God and believe that He is working out something good even from things that seem no good?" (rhetorical question)

"Either way, as long a I believe, really believe, God is there and that He is out to do me good, I can stop freaking out trying to fix everything on my own.  I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control." 

"Labels are awful.  They imprison us in categories that are hard to escape." 

"Trapped inside these straitjacket struggles from all the self-defeating labels.  Some prisons don't require bars to keep people locked inside.  All it takes is their perception that they belong there. A soul that believes she can't leave....doesn't." 

"Oh God, chisel me. I don't want to be locked in my hard places forever."

"One of my favorite passages that confirms God is calling us out of the darkness is from 1 Peter:
"As you come to him, the living Stone...rejected by [humans] but chosen by God and precious to also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.... you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:4-5, 9 NIV). 

"Peter was also the man who loved his Lord with such passion he drew his sword and cut off the ear of the guard trying to arrest Jesus (John 18:10).  Then, just seven short verses later, we find this same Peter denying he even knew Jesus: "You are not one of [the] disciples are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, "I am not" (John 18:17 NIV).  He sure sounds shifty to me. But not to Jesus.  Jesus saw a courageous man who needed chiseling.  Jesus saw a man who, when chiesled, whould boldly do what others would not.  Jesus saw Peter not as he was but what he could be.  Tenderly, Jesus chiseled." 

“Self-effort alone can’t tame the tongue and our raw emotions that run wild.”

“When we are humble, we realize our honesty can’t be one-sided.  We make an effort to see the situation from the other person’s vantage point.”

“Sip the shame before guzzling the regret. In other words, taste a little bit of the shame of letting it all rip before you find yourself drowning in gallons of unwanted regret.”

"Choosing a gentle reply doesn’t mean you’re weak: it actually means you possess a rare and godly strength.”

"Holy restraint is the seed that produces the fruit of self-control.”

“We can pour out our anxious hearts to Jesus who loves us right where we are, just as we are. Because His love comes without judgment, we soften and feel safe enough to humbly admit we need Him to work on us. Trying to fix another person only adds to my anxiety. Letting Jesus work on me is where real progress happens. I claim the promise that says, “Cast all you anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).”

"If I make the effort to handle this conflict well, I can be freed from the pressure to make everything turn out rosy. Sometimes relationships grow stronger through conflict; other times relationships end. Because I can’t control the other person, I must focus on the good God is working out in me through this situation and leave the outcome with Him. God’s Word promises that “the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1Peter 5:10).”

“I’m an encourager at heart. I love to give words of encouragement and I love to receive words of encouragement. That’s probably why words of discouragement affect me so deeply. I don’t mind constructive criticism given in a spirit of love. But when someone hasn’t taken the time to invest words of encouragement in my life before offering some sort of constructive criticism, it doesn’t feel so constructive.”

“Open communication is the life-giving oxygen that fuels good relationships.”

“My job isn’t to fix the difficult people in my life or enable them to continue disrespectful or abusive behaviors.”

“Am I trying to prove that I am right or to improve the relationship?”

“But God gave me more than just a heart to use in processing life. He gave me a mind as well. A mind made for truth to reign supreme and to keep my heart in check. We must remember, “The heart is deceitful above all things….I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).”

“Operating in the flow of God’s power is so much better than working against it.” 

“Oh God, help us---help me. I want to be a passionate woman reined in by You and Your grace…. Not an exploder who shames herself or blames others. I want to sip the shame before guzzling the regret. I want to be the one who holds her tongue and keeps the Holy Spirit’s power working in me. I want these truths to sink in and become part of who I am and how I live. And I know that’s what you want too.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

God's Miracles

Dear Evie,

              I woke up this morning to my normal routine.  My day starts off at six in the morning with your baby sister crying.  As I walk into her room, I’m pleasantly welcomed as she sang, “Jesus wuves me for Bible tells me so”. What a great reminder.  I reply with, “yes, Jesus does love us, sweet girl… how great is that news?!”  We ate our breakfast.  We played in the playroom with Daddy before he got off to work.  We pack up and head out to start our ordinary day.  As I’m almost out of the garage, I receive a random text from a dear friend.  It reads, “Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and Danny today. Hugs!! Love you!!”  What a sweet text, but why did someone want me to know they were thinking of me?   What was so special about today?  It then hits me.  I knew this day was coming for weeks, but for some reason the actual day snuck up on me this year.  Memories of you and your death came rushing in.  I remembered the life you lived inside of me for nine months.  I remembered the anticipation of your arrival.  I remembered the happiness we felt knowing you would be a part of our family.  I remembered the last time I felt you kick.  I remembered the dreadful words from the doctor “her heart’s not beating” and watching the tears fall down her face as she delivers the heartbreaking news.  I remembered the agonizing pain of your birth wanting it to be over, but at the same time not wanting to say goodbye.  I remembered your amazingly supportive Daddy not leaving my side.  God uses your daddy to love me so much here on earth.  I remembered our family and friends support.  I remembered when you were born and how physically and emotionally empty I felt afterwards.  I remembered holding your lifeless and delicate body in my arms praying that God would heal you in the way he healed the little girl who was sick in the Bible. Or, the way He raised Lazarus from the dead.  That He would change His plan.  That He would open your eyes and make it all better.  I remembered Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane wanting God to “take this cup” from Him.  I remembered your beautiful curly hair with a mixture of different shades of brown.  I remembered your sweet little hands and feet.  I remembered not wanting to leave you behind to go home without you.  I didn’t want to face the nursery that we would never use and all the other things that were ready for your homecoming.  I remembered the day we went looking for your gravesite.  What a surreal day.  I remembered “Amazing Grace” by Chris Tomlin playing over and over and over again on the radio.  Even in my pain, it brought so much comfort every time it came on.  I remembered the deciding factor of the cemetery we chose.  It was whether or not the geese were friendly (even through the painful tears, we managed to laugh at the hissing goose that almost ran me into the water).  I remembered your funeral and how small your casket was.  I remembered feeling very uneasy that a casket could be that small.  I remembered the pretty pink roses that brought a little beauty to the situation.  I remembered watching your daddy breakdown at your gravesite.  He couldn’t take it anymore.  He had been way too strong for me and just needed to let go.  I’m glad that he did.  I didn’t feel alone when he would feel with me, but I respected his grieving process by letting him grieve the way he needed to.  I was amazed with how much closer we became through the process of grief.  I remembered the months that followed your death.  The pain in my stomach.  The ache in my heart.   There were some days where I felt really peaceful and others I wanted to crawl back into bed.  I remembered asking God to bring you back.  I desperately wanted to witness a miracle.  You know the kind of miracles that people experienced with Jesus two thousand years ago.  My ideal miracle obviously didn’t play out, but little did we recognize at the time there was a miracle in motion.
        Today, the sun was particularly bright.  The forecast called for another rainy day, but God managed to keep the sun shining.  I’m convinced that God uses the sun to remind me of His presence.  It’s one of His magnificent creations…. a work of art that He shares with all of us.  I took a picture of it to capture its beauty.  His beauty.  I was reminded of my redemption.  I reflected on all the ways He’s saved me.  I reflected on the huge price He had to pay for me on the cross.  I reflected on Him becoming human so I could relate to Him.  I reflected on the hope of eternal life with Him one day.  I reflected on His grace…. His Amazing Grace.  It washes over me every single day even when I don’t love Him the way that I should.  Since the day I accepted Him into my life, He’s been there holding my hand, guiding me and loving me with His unconditional love. “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 8:38-39.  Death did not separate me from His love and I’m convinced nothing will.  As I’m meditating on all of this, “Praise you in the Storm” by Casting Crowns plays on the radio.  The song we played at your funeral.  I loved hearing this while thinking of you.  I don’t believe it was a coincidence.  God wanted to remind me through this song of how we trusted Him, walked with Him through the storm of losing you and came out on the other side with our arms stretched out praising Him.  And, it was because of Him we made it through: “Every tear I’ve cried you hold in your hand you never left my side And though my heart is torn I will praise you in this storm.” I was so grateful for this time with Him this morning.  This reflection brought on a renewing of my mind. My soul was reenergized.  My focus was shifted and my spirit was replenished.  I’ve been distracted and I’ve fallen off-course the last couple of months so this time with Him was necessary.  I’m so thankful I was in a position to listen and to receive.  I praise Him for this experience.  I praise Him for being so active in my life and how He gets me back on track. I praise Him for His miracles in my life. 


As I cried and wiped joyful tears streaming down my face, I heard your sister’s amazing little voice in the backseat saying, “Mommy’s crying, want a goldfish?”  She has a special way of making me feel better.  I just laughed through the tears and told her how much I loved her.  She asked for my hand and we held hands the rest of the way.  I also felt your new baby brother moving around in my belly.  All I could think in this moment was how God has been so amazingly good in so many ways and in ALL my circumstances.    

I love you,

Saturday, January 12, 2013

There Will Be a Day

Such a burden on my heart the past couple of days, but I will not grieve like those that have no hope.  I know there will be a day when He does wipe my tears and hold me so tight.  I'm looking forward to that day, but until then I will praise Him and hold on to His truth until I'm there in His loving, comforting arms....

There will be a Day by Jeremy Camp

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth,
that we will enter in this rest with wonders anew

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

I know the journey seems so long
You feel you're walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you’ve walked out all alone
Find More lyrics at

Troubled soul don’t lose your heart
Cause joy and peace he brings
And the beauty that’s in store
Outweighs the hurt of life’s sting

I can’t wait until that day where the very one I’ve lived for always will wipe away the sorrow that I’ve faced
To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame and misery this is why this is why I sing….

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

There will be a day, He’ll wipe away the tears, He’ll wipe away the tears, He’ll wipe away the tears…..there will be a day