Category Archives: journey

29 Things My Life Has Taught Me

29.

29 years is how long I’ve now been on this earth and it is has been beautiful and brutal all at the same time – as Glennon Doyle Melton says, “It’s Brutiful”…

How do you sum up 29 years in a few paragraphs? You can’t really. So I’ve decided to make a list – a truth list of the 29 things that my brutiful life has taught me.

  1. My parents are a gift from God – not only did He use them to bring me into this world but His sovereign grace allowed me to be raised by two beautifully imperfect people who taught me how to love Jesus with all my heart, how to dream big – they always told me I could be anybody I wanted to be, and they showed me what it looks like to live a life of loving sacrifice and obedience to the Lord. They also taught me how to have a lot of fun!
  2. Honesty is truly the best policy – There is no other way to live. I love this quote by Mother Teresa, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” I’ve come to understand through my own journey that behind every mask is a beautiful wretched soul that is desperate to be known. Transparency is the key to our growth and healing and might even help someone else out along the way.
  3. Quality friendships are key – Life is way more fun with them and the bumpy, rocky, horrendous seasons require them.
  4. My mother was right – skin does lose it’s elasticity – seriously! Gravity is real!
  5. You will grow facial hair – the growth is insane!
  6. Tears are healthy – it’s extremely healthy – crying is like a shower for your soul.
  7. Laughter is life – find a reason to laugh multiple times a day it truly is the best medicine. I like to think it’s God’s love language.
  8. Marriage is hard and wonderful – Our fairytale ending can only be found in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, no earthly relationship will fulfill our deepest desires to be known – they can only give us glimpses of the real deal – however hard marriage is, it’s so worth it.
  9. Short of sending His Son to die for me, my husband is one of God’s greatest love gifts to me  – Micah truly you are His tangible love and grace in my life.
  10. I will always be a Starbucks girl – it’s just the way it is – though, I now have a new appreciation for cold brew.
  11. Food and I will always have a complex relationship – I’m learning how to make it a healthy one, instead of a crippling one. But my weight does not and will never define me – I am the beloved daughter of the one true King – that is my identity, not a number on a scale.
  12. Sometimes you’ve got to put a little Mt. Dew in your wine – don’t worry it was white.
  13. Life sucks sometimes – live it anyway – there are things that happen in this life that I will never understand, but it’s not my job to understand, or even ask why – it’s to trust and ask “what?”
  14. I want kids and all that comes with it! – Never tell me, “Just wait till you have kids” – most hurtful phrase anyone could ever say to me. I have been waiting for 5 years – and I have counted all the costs, experienced all the loss, waited and tried, waited and tried again and still ache for babies of my own. One of my deepest struggles is to keep hoping and trusting. God knows what He is doing even if I don’t understand.
  15. Vacations are not a luxury they are a necessity – even if it’s camping – get away at least once a year, it’s so healthy and so worth it.
  16. Family is everything – don’t dismiss them, take extreme care with these relationships, sometimes friends can be family too, everyone’s picture is different but none the less handle with care.
  17. I will always be a “sweater” – Put me in a freezer, the desert is my personal hell
  18. School was worth it – so grateful for the grace to persevere through that challenge, it’s such an awesome accomplishment and it taught me to keep fighting, and never give up.
  19. You might experience balding – I have to admit this one knocked me on my ass and I’m still trying to get back up.
  20. Do the things that scare you – life is so much more fulfilling when you do things that require you to trust big.
  21. Bring beauty into your world whenever possible – a bouquet of flowers will go a long way to brightening up a gloomy day – here in Seattle we have plenty of those.
  22. Clinical depression is not a death sentence – don’t let it steal your purpose, your joy, your drive, your reason for existing. Fight and fight some more. Get out of bed, live on purpose, be about others – it’s the cure, take a shower, never give in to it’s grip and open up the blinds.
  23. Write – it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, the gift of self-reflection, go on a journey to get to know yourself better, it will help you get to know the Lord in a more intimate way and to be a more compassionate human being.
  24. Give what you have – it’s always more than enough, your time, your finances, yourself, your talents, give it all and watch what God does in and through you because He’s God.
  25. Forgive – It’s one of the most powerful forces on this earth. Receive it, give it and know it – God’s forgiveness of my sins is the reason I cannot, will not withhold forgiveness from anyone on this earth. I don’t deserve it, they don’t deserve it, no one deserves it, that’s what makes it so beautiful.
  26. My pets are my children – it’s ok if you don’t get it, I do. In the meantime #sorrynotsorry for all the Instagram pics of the fur babies.
  27. Sometimes you’ll get a bad haircut – it’s not the end of the world, really. Take a day to mourn and then get on with your life.
  28. Be present – in all things, in all conversations, in every moment. Put down the phone.
  29. I don’t know anything really – oh except that I will probably always struggle with spelling #thestruggleisreal oh… and I hate hashtags #butiusethemsarcastically
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Fighting for the “Happy” in Happy Mother’s Day

Infertile Woman

Mother’s Day is always prefaced with the word, “Happy”… what a sweet word, what a sweet gesture, wishing moms a Happy Mother’s Day is what is socially expected, it’s what should be done. It’s what I do, and I want to mean it, today I did, but only because I chose it.

I chose “Happy”… but not without a fight, not without shedding some tears. Sometime’s “Happy” has to be redefined, sometimes “Happy” is fought for.

For those fighting for “Happy” I felt compelled to let you know I “see” you.

I am you.

You are not alone.

And for those who have no idea what I am talking about… if you will, let me help you “see” it.

What about that mom that waited 42 weeks to see her unborn child’s sweet face, only to be told that her “Happy” will be holding his lifeless body in her arms for a few short hours before having to say goodbye?

What about that mom whose child ran away and her “Happy” would just be knowing they are alive somewhere and safe?

What about the children whose mom is riddled with Alzheimer’s and their “Happy” was having her recognize them for a fleeting moment before she slipped away again?

What about the children who ache for their mom because she was taken too early, what if their “Happy” is remembering the person she was?

What about the relationships that are estranged? What’s their “Happy”?

What about the women like me? The women that ache in silence, for fear of being pitied. The women who discreetly watch from a distance as all their friends bring new life into this world, while they are inwardly tormented by the fact that their body doesn’t work right. These women fight back tears as another Facebook friend posts an ultrasound picture, a Pinterest worthy announcement titled “we’re expecting”, growing tummies and shower invitations. Women who wait patiently every month, only to be overcome with grief each time they see one line instead of two. Women who beg to a merciful God to at least remove the desire so it will be more bearable.

Women who bravely navigate the questions, ‘So…when are you two going to start having kids?’ ‘Will we be expecting any grand babies soon?’ ‘Do you want children?’ ‘Wow you’ve been married 9 years? Isn’t it about time you start having kids?’ ‘Aren’t you just so happy for her?’

Women who constantly have to use self-control so they don’t slap people who are simply careless. ‘I hate kids, they are so annoying, I can’t stand them.’ ‘Just wait till you’re a mom.’ ‘You’ll understand once you have kids of your own.’ ‘You never know! You could be pregnant.’ ‘I never wanted this.’ ‘You don’t know how good you have it.’ ‘Just stop trying and it will happen.’

For as long as I can remember all I’ve ever wanted was to be a mom. I never knew how much heartache that desire would bring. For 5 years I have watched from a distance, I’ve felt bitterness, anger, despair, hopelessness, contempt, condemnation, fear, hatred, sorrow and indescribable pain.

But…

I have also felt deep joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and an immovable faith has been chiseled out of all that pain. Jesus has never once abandoned me and in all that waiting I have found him to be everything I need and have lacked in my own flesh.

My “Happy” is a choice. It’s choosing joy. It’s choosing to continue to hope. It’s pressing on even when I’m hurting. It’s finding purposeful things to do with my time. It’s looking for ways to bless and encourage others. It’s being present, even when I want to hide.

“Happy” comes when you start asking “What?” not “Why?”

I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will be a mom some day, it just might look a little different then what I had always pictured.

And in the meantime, I am fighting…

Fighting for “Happy”

So I can say this truthfully and genuinely, to all the Mothers in my life, Happy Mother’s Day. And to all my sisters whose arms are aching like mine, the most beautiful thing anyone ever said to me and I say it to you now, “If you can’t hope right now, I will hope for you.”

 

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Who is Your Authority?

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment…Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good.” Romans 13:1-4

Authority.

When I hear that word, I squirm, it gives me a sense of uneasiness and I don’t immediately comply. Usually I expect people to prove they have authority over me and I only respect the leaders I think are worthy of such a title. I have struggled with this since I was very young. I’ve never cared much for the concept. I’ve worked hard in my life to get to a place where I didn’t have to work for anyone except myself, it’s one of the reasons, if not the main reason, I started my own business. ‘Don’t tell me what to do or how to do it!’ ‘Don’t tell me how to live my life!’ ‘You’re not the boss of me!’

Bad attitude? Of course. Do I care? Yes. Have I always cared? No. Am I working on it? Absolutely. Some would call it pride, I can’t say I disagree, pride is at the root of all sin, but I’ve come to realize for me it goes much deeper than just a simple label.

As a young person I struggled in the area of choices. I didn’t feel as though I had a right to make any, and when I did venture into the world of choosing I typically felt shut down or led to believe I couldn’t be trusted to make the right ones. Often control of anything, no matter how small felt beyond my reach, this led me into some very unhealthy habits (of which I will address at a later time). This distrust in myself grew and overtime, drove me to an unhealthy dependency on others. I needed others to make the important decisions in my life for me, because without their guidance I simply didn’t know how to function.

Over the last few years I have been learning how to step out and make my own decisions, learning to trust myself to make the right ones. I’ve taken back control over many areas of my life that were out of control or that I simply handed over for others to control for me. Now that I have a better sense of what is mine it’s now entirely possible for me to surrender myself to Christ. Where as before, I didn’t even know what to hand over to Him or how. Do I always do the right thing, absolutely not; however, Jesus is teaching me to trust Him and the more I lean in to hear His voice the better my choices become. I wish I had learned to depend on Him sooner but I am grateful for the lessons I have learned through the struggle.

Why was that all so important? I promise I have a point. Keep reading, or for those of you with authority issues like myself, don’t keep reading. So back to authority.

Because I have this unquenchable thirst to control everything in my life (yes, I’m still working on it) this whole issue of authority, especially an authority figure whom I absolutely hold no respect for, is a real struggle for me.

I have this teacher. He is absolutely ridiculously power hungry, every other word out of his mouth is an “F” word or some sort of obscene comment, he is completely abrasive, verbally abusive and he thinks it’s funny. If his choice of conduct wasn’t enough, his choice of lifestyle screams I want nothing to do with Jesus. He is very condescending towards anything that has to do with faith and he will not hesitate to tell you exactly what he thinks of your work and and it’s rarely good, unless you are a genius or just plain lucky, don’t expect a compliment.

This is where I find myself wrestling with scripture. “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Really? I mean really? What about that boss you can’t stand, or that supervisor know it all who is under your boss (they aren’t even really your boss!) or the president of the US…really God… Obama is from you? “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

“Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

Ooooo, I don’t like that part. ‘But God there are so many reasons to resist.’ ‘They’re just simply wrong! Don’t you understand if I do what they say, I’m letting them win!’ ‘Don’t you say, you have plans to prosper me and not to harm me?!? This has to be hazardous to my health!’

“For he is God’s servant for your good.”

Now I know that this is a typo. ‘God, he doesn’t even serve you.’ ‘He doesn’t even like you! How can this all be for my good.’

There you go, an unedited version of the dialogue going through my head while I read this passage. Now for the version that has been sifted through His hands…based on the truth of scripture.

This teacher has been placed in authority over me. The Bible did not say I have to like it. I do have to respect it. I do have to trust that the Lord has a plan and lesson to teach me through it all. I do have to love him as Christ loved me. Perhaps he has been appointed as my teacher to drive me to depend more on Jesus who lives in me. Perhaps this teacher, is God’s servant (God can use whomever he wants to, in spite of their unbelief) to show me where I am still in need of refinement. Perhaps God is using this person to provide me with opportunities to be more grace filled and to exercise love and to offer compassion.

Behind this man’s cold, arrogant, harsh and angry eyes, I see something. It’s something that surrounds me every day, and it’s also something I often ignore because I simply don’t love enough, I don’t chose to notice.

It’s pain. Deep, unbearable, brokenness, anguish of the soul and down in there, deep in there, is a lost little boy who has been made fun of too often, led to believe he isn’t worth being loved, rejected and in his eagerness to please was either ignored or shut down. His only choice…to fight. If only he knew how the Father’s heart breaks for him. Jesus expand my capacity to love this man and show him you.

And maybe we are more alike than I care to admit. Striving to control anything and everything so we can bring order and predictability to our world. We never felt in control so now we are drunk on power. The only thing that separates us is I live under the authority of Jesus Christ and continually choose to surrender, His grace so mercifully covers me.

Who is my authority? Jesus. And I must obey him and love this man unconditionally.

Who is your authority? Who is it you need to choose to notice and choose to love?

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Why Does it Matter?

3am. Wide-awake, can’t sleep, something in me is fighting to get out. Words tumble around in my head like articles of clothing on spin cycle, too fast to keep track of, but one-word pushes it’s way to the surface…

Write.

“Why does it matter?” I argue with the thought.

I used to blog, I loved writing. I guess you could say it was a form of therapy for me, but to be honest I didn’t know what I was writing about, whom I was writing to, or why it even mattered, in fact I didn’t even know how to write the truth. That was 5 years ago. Of course I have written a few things here and there between now and then, but all those thoughts have been safely tucked away in my journal, entries of deep pain and emotional outpouring as the Lord drew me closer to Him.

Write.

“I don’t have time to write…why would it matter anyway?” Tossing left and right, I continue the one sided conversation with myself.

For 3 years now I have been in full time school, working anywhere from 2-3 jobs (which includes running my own business), volunteering at my church and attempting to balance my marriage, friendships, family and personal goals…like I said, attempting. Needless to say it has been a lot to manage. So when I say I don’t have time, I really don’t have time, I barely sleep as it is. Yet, why do I feel so compelled to make time?

Get up. Write.

“I’m tired, I can’t afford to lose sleep, besides, why does it matter? No one has time to take out of their busy schedules to read my 3am ramblings.” The argument continues.

For the last few years I have been on a journey of finding myself. For over half of my life I didn’t know who I was. I was a chameleon, camouflaging and disguising my true feelings beneath a counterfeit smile. So skillfully crafted at hiding, no one knew the turmoil raging within. I spent years creating the perfect exterior, rehearsing what I thought people wanted me to say or expected me to do, I lived in full on behavior modification mode. Yet, the hate I had for myself was so strong I couldn’t receive love from others or accept the unconditional love of Jesus because I didn’t understand how anyone could love the real me; that little girl hiding in the shadows, terrified she would be exposed as a fraud and all her ugly would be revealed.

Write.

“I’m not listening, I’m not listening, la la la la la la” At this point I know I’ll be getting up to write within the next 30 seconds.

The thing I’ve come to learn about God’s voice is 1. He never speaks when it’s convenient for you, 2. He whispers at just the right volume so you know it’s not your own voice, 3. He is extremely persistent, 4. When he says it 3 times or more, it’s important and you better listen, 5. You don’t argue with Him, you just obey.

Write.

“Ok, ok…I get it, you want me to write.” I’ve become accustomed to the Lord’s voice and I always regret when I choose to ignore Him. Of course He always seems to speak loudest at 3am.

So here I am writing. Why? I’m not sure, except that He asked me to, so I am obeying. I do know that God has called me to pour back out what He has so graciously poured into me, through His word and the tangible love of others. He invited that little girl in the shadows to step out into the light to dance freely and rest secure in His fatherly delight. I believe He is inviting you as well, to step out of the shadows, leave fear and doubt behind and rest in His unconditional love. Perhaps if you take my hand we can go on a journey together, seeking to stay in His light.

Write.

One thing I do know is that writing is a great tool that the Lord uses to shape us, mold us and grow us into His likeness. I am grateful to so many people who took the time, when they didn’t have it, to sit down and write the truth about what God was showing them, or share their struggles and pain along the journey. It is important that we all take time to encourage and uplift each other along the way and for me that is what starting this blog is all about. I don’t have the luxury to sit down with every person I care about and chat for 2 hours over coffee. However, I can take 2 hours out of my week and share here what God is teaching me, what kinds of things I’m learning and just simply share my heart with each and every person that comes across this blog. Perhaps along the way we can encourage one another, and be a little more intentionally connected than just slapping a quick “like” on a Facebook status update.

Write. Try it, it’s actually quite liberating.

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