Thankful.

Writing has had to take a bit of a backseat lately, for various reasons, but today it feels so good to get my hands on this keyboard of mine because I have something sweet and special to share.

 

I cannot believe I get to do this again.

This….

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Carry a baby. Assist in another miracle. And become a mama all over again. 

Thankful.

It feels too special. Too heavy and light all at the same time. Too full and too happy and too much. 

Entering motherhood two and a half years ago thrust me into the wildest adventure of my life. It also plunged me into conversations, experiences, relationships, and issues I never even knew existed before. My eyes have been opened to so much, and among that, especially a greater understanding and gratitude surrounding this space of bringing babies into the world. I know it doesn’t always come easy, or when or how we hope it will. Have I mentioned how thankful I am? 

I notice I’m worrying less this go-around, and praying more. Praying over absolutely everything – mostly my heart, my attitude, my spirit…but also things like who will be clocked in at the hospital when it’s delivery time. 

I find myself craving less control, more surrender. And what I really want is for that essence to diffuse beyond these next six or seven months, beyond the day this baby enters the world, and settle deep into my everyday life as I walk through motherhood. Another prayer to add to the list. 

So here I sit, smiling from the inside out, gratefully surrendered to whatever He has in store. Thank you, thank you, Lord.  

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my journaling Bible + my first G I V E A W A Y !

Back in January I received my first journaling Bible for my birthday from my sweet friend Shelby. I fell in love immediately.

I have since learned that Bible journaling is a whole thing — who knew? You can use the margins for basic written notes, or you can get super creative with illustrations and pretty script inspired by what you’ve studied. It’s a new way to dive into truths you come across, and really commit them to memory. 

I definitely haven’t used my new Bible to it’s full potential yet, but I’m excited to see those margins fill up over the years.

And can you believe how pretty that outer cover is?? Just picture like 16 heart eye emojis here. 

 



I have two other Bibles that I’ve been using recently: the NIV Women’s Bible and the Beautiful Word Bible. 

The NIV Women’s Bible features devotions throughout from women like Shauna Niequist, a favorite author of mine. And since I love words, I’m all about getting extra insight as I read certain passages. This makes a great study Bible for digging a little deeper. 


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seeing myself with His kind eyes

On the evening Sara Hagerty addressed the 400 bloggers and writers at Allume Conference in Greenville, SC, I found myself on the hotel bathroom floor. 

Tears stung my eyes as weakness took over my body. I prayed over and over again because there was nothing else I could do. I was getting increasingly sicker and was caught in a cycle my body couldn’t overcome on its own. Alone in a new city, away from all things familiar. And while I couldn’t see it until later, God had something for me there on that floor. 

I missed Sara’s message that night, but a week later I curled up on my couch at home to watch the recorded video of her talk. I wasn’t in a conference room, but I found myself in a different kind of meeting. An intimate gathering, just Sara, the Lord, and myself. This time, truth stung my eyes, and I let the tears flow. 

I am fairly certain that God’s message would have fallen on unprepared soil had I attended Sara’s talk in Greenville feeling like my typical self with my normal complexion and regular appetite. I would have listened earnestly to her talk, nodded in agreement, scribbled down quotes in my notebook, and applauded as she exited the stage. Maybe I would have gotten her signature in my copy of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. But I’m not sure her words would have found their way in the maze from my head to my heart. 

My heart wasn’t ready. 

The Lord was busy cultivating in me a new reliance on Him, as Father. 

The Allume Conference was such a unique experience for me. Prior to that first day, I knew no one there. I hesitantly roomed with two strangers who turned out to be completely delightful and sweet friends. I met and heard from handfuls of women who share my very heartbeat – a love for the Lord and a calling to use our words to further His Word. It was life-giving for me to be in that kind of sacred atmosphere for three days. 

I drove the three hours home from Greenville reflecting on why God would allow a debilitating illness in the midst of such a monumental weekend. I held on to the fact that I there was a reason, even if I couldn’t see it yet. It took some time for me to feel like I had an answer to my question, but one thing I knew for sure all along: as depleted as my body felt, my soul was full

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As a little girl, there was one person I always ran to with cuts, bruises, splinters, and skinned knees. When I fell chin-first (that’s a special kind of skill) on the curb outside the gym at my elementary school, my mom didn’t rush me to the nearest ER to assess the gash on my chin. Nope, we drove straight to Fire Station #3 where my dad was waiting to fix me up. As a firefighter and EMT, he always knew how to take whatever was broken and make it better. 

Now, twenty-something years later, I can’t help but think: when was the last time I ran to my heavenly Father over my most recent fall? when did I last let Him assess the bruised and broken parts of me? when have I simply rested in his ability to make me whole? 

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So that afternoon at home while my daughter napped and I listened to the recording of Sara’s talk, her powerful words found ready ground. They burrowed deep deep deep into my heart, into places only recently revealed and softened by my reliance on God as my Father.  

Her message was simple but as personal as it gets: Who does God say I am? What does My Father whisper about me when it’s just us together? I’ve never been bold enough to ask, but with Sara’s urging I find myself inquiring with the trust of a child. Lord, who am I to You?

The answer? He’s proud of me. He says I’m special. He says I’m His. He says I’m a good mama.  Even when I feel none of those things. He knows me best and yet He loves me best. 


He says He sees me

His sweet affirmation is the only one I need. I can rest there.

He knows me best and yet He loves me best. 


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Unlike the first time Sara’s words hung in the air, I wasn’t sick on a floor crying over my ailment. This time I was on my couch, face full of tears, in awe of his overwhelming love for me despite my brokenness. 


He looks on us with a Father’s eyes. Kind eyes. Forgiving eyes. The same adoration and immeasurable love I feel toward my own daughter, God feels for me, except His love is perfect in every way. His Father-love is fierce. Unending. God-sized. His adoration never lets up.

My motherhood — my daily mothering — is a mirror that reflects small fragments of His Fatherhood back to me so I can know Him better as Father. Whenever I steal a glance at that mirror, I’m reminded — He’s a good Father. 

One of my favorite verses comes to mind every night as I sing my daughter to sleep in the quiet of her room. “The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17. That is a picture of a Daddy’s love. 


He knows YOU best and yet He loves YOU best. 

Lord, tell us again who we are to you. When we’re feeling unloved, not enough, unseen, doubtful, broken, or unwanted — tell us again how we’re seen by you. Give us your kind Father eyes to see ourselves, and others, through. Remind us of our place in your heart as beloved daughters. 

You’re a good, good Father. 


Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like.
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night.
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone.

You’re a good, good Father.
It‘s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are.
And I’m loved by You.
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.     

 Oh, and I’ve seen many searching 
For answers far and wide.
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only You provide.
Because You know just what we need
Before we even say a word.

Because You are perfect in all of Your ways!
You are perfect in all of Your ways!
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us!

Oh, it’s love so undeniable,
I can hardly speak.
Peace so unexplainable,
I can hardly think.
As You call me deeper still,
As You call me deeper still,
As You call me deeper still,


into love, love, love …    


*Affiliate link used in this post. 

my simple confession

When I first felt the Lord moving me towards a simpler life, I began small. It started behind my closet door, where I pared my wardrobe down to only my very favorite things. It was the perfect beginning to this new chapter in my book because it affirmed in me the desire for long term and deeper growth beyond my closet.

These past twenty-eight days were not intended for instruction or even motivation, although those would be wonderful byproducts. These posts were my confessional

Not a confession to you, and not even a confession to my Lord – He already knows the maze that’s my heart. 

It’s been my way of confronting myself and all of my junk. Over my last twenty-eight years I have accumulated all along the way and it was time to step back, evaluate, and clear out. 

Things are feeling lighter. There are less distractions. I can breathe deeper. 

This process of writing and editing and praying and pondering is always a mirror. It helps me see more clearly, reflecting everything back in truthful light. 

Thank you for helping me hold the mirror by simply reading and providing this safe space for me to declutter in pursuit of Him. 


If you’ve missed my previous posts in this series, you can click here.

when church is hard.

This post has been sitting in the draft section for weeks. I initially wrote it for myself, my way of processing. Typically the things I’m most reluctant to post are the ones that God urges me to share, so here we are. 

It’s true; church has been a foundational part of my entire life. But church has not always been a safe place for me. I’ve seen people ostracized. I’ve been a spectator to the precarious placement of leaders onto pedestals and then of course, the fall. I’ve felt like an outsider, ignored by the clique of girls in class on more than one occasion. Some of the least Christlike actions and attitudes I’ve witnessed have been on display underneath a cross. Sometimes church is hard. As a believer who wants people to feel drawn to and welcomed in to the church, those are really difficult things to admit. 

For a long time, “church-goer” was the emphasis of my faith. Only later in my twenties did I grasp on a personal level that the church isn’t a “what” or a “where” but a “who.” It’s a people that I can be part of where my faith is strengthened and we can collectively brag on our God. 

One day after visiting nearly all the churches in a twenty-mile radius of my home (or something like that) we happened into a completely unique church. These were not perfect people, no. But authentic and genuine? Yes. Striving to make a difference and show the love of Christ as a united body? Yes. 

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35

All of those failed church visits had at least taught me one thing – how to spot the real deal among an alarming number of counterfeits. 

Our new church home became the catalyst of my real faith journey. It’s where I learned what it truly meant to follow Christ and where I found genuine community – this body of people has loved me and my man and my baby so well. 




Over time, we got comfortable. Really comfortable. Because when things are good, you can easily get lost in your own little bubble. The only problem is (or is it?), God doesn’t function in these types of bubbles. No, He’s much greater than that and isn’t confined by our ideals, even if they are built unintentionally or subconsciously.

So, one day, our little bubble burst. 

The announcement was shocking and heartbreaking. Our much loved leader was moving on, because that’s what pastors do – they heed the call of Christ even if it breaks their heart too.

As a church, we collectively grieved. We were sad, angry, bitter, disappointed, anxious about the future; we felt it all. 

So here I am again. Sometimes church is hard.

And I’m confronted with the prickly truth that God will choose to make us holy over making us happy every time. That is not something I would ever sign myself up for. It makes me want to whine and throw a fit like my toddler. It’s unwelcome and uncomfortable. But my resistance in the rebuilding doesn’t hold God back, it holds me back. Can God not do great things during a time of brokenness? Isn’t it He who does the healing? And does He not heal exceedingly and abundantly beyond anything we can imagine? 

These are the ashes of what was, and these ashes are Holy Ground. They make way for the divine rebuilding. We know He makes all things new. 

All things

When church is hard, fake doesn’t cut it. Your nice Sunday clothes and your I’m fine‘s spoken with a high pitch do not hold up to this kind of makeover. 

When church is hard, you can bolt, but then you miss the miracle. 

When church is hard, we can fight it or we can welcome it with the reassurance that He will use this for good. And of course He will, because He knows no other way. My expectations, doubt, and unrest do not limit God. Ever. My job is to do the trusting and He will take care of the bandaging and making whole. And once His work is done? I know it will be astoundingly beautiful.

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him. Romans 15:13

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness they will be like great oaks, that the Lord has planted for his own glory.  Isaiah 61:3


Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. Habakkuk 1:5