Just now I prepared for my daughter what I saw as one of the greatest breakfast meals ever!I took my time and considered how I would place each side portion–just the way she’d like it. Lately, my sweet girl has become somewhat of a picky eater so I wanted to make sure this would be a meal she would enjoy. I offered her a sample and waited. She nibbled on a few pieces and then pushed the plate aside. I then decided maybe it would be best if I sat with her. She sat squirming on my lap  as I attempted to feed her, determined not to eat she pushed the spoon from her face and began to throw a tantrum. I kept looking at the meal and looking at her– I knew that what I had prepared for her was good.

If only she would taste it.

My heart broke in that moment. Especially because of the current season our family is in. I had prepared something good for my daughter. A healthy wholesome meal. One that she quickly rejected after sampling a morsel, denying herself of all the  benefits that came alongside it.

Isn’t that us sometimes? Isn’t that us on a Sunday service? Or during our grow group sessions? Isn’t that us during our prayer moments or bible study? Where we quickly deny ourselves from receiving what God has for us because we don’t believe its was made specifically with us in mind.

The truth is that God himself prepares a wholesome meal for us at every encounter we have with him. Like a good parent, God takes his time in preparing the word he has for us. He makes sure that we get exactly what need and what we want because we too, just like Amelia, are picky eaters. He cares so greatly in His presentation that he looks at our dish and the portion size we receive. He says, “Not too much here…maybe a bit more there.” If we get a bit fussy, He sits with us. He places us on his lap. He feeds us…

At every encounter God eagerly awaits for you to taste his meal. The meal he has so graciously prepared for you in love. The meal he works so hard for. The cost it took to purchase every ingredient to sustain you in health. The time it took to bring you to the table. The way he presented the meal to you so that you would be amazed!

That’s our God. That’s our loving Father. Let us not take what he has prepared for us for granted, sacrifice came with that meal you are about to receive.

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

I’ve journaled countless entries of this current season in my life. Now I am beginning to see this is becoming part of my testimony.

When I became a mother my life radically changed. Instantly I received a beautiful but burdensome responsibility. No longer was it just my husband and I. No, now it was the three of us and soon after we became a family of four.

My husband and I are dreamers, we carry such a big vision within us. We have walked alongside each other for 5 years carrying the weight that God has placed on us. It’s beautiful. We see it everyday. But walking in that vision changed drastically when we said, “yes” to building our family.

Right now, we are in the beginning stages of learning what this all looks like. There is so much to learn when family and ministry are knitted so tightly together. Especially when these two things define us, it’s who we are. Every day we choose Jesus. Everyday we choose Kingdom. But everyday choosing looks different.

In the midst of the constant hustle and bustle: work, family, mid-week service, Sunday service, and all the in betweens it is so easy to lose yourself. Literally, lose yourself.

That was me.

I began to spiral downward. I felt like the “me” I was before children no longer could exist. Who the heck am I? Who did I become? Who am I becoming? Am I just the chick that is suppose to bring home the bacon and watch the kids all day while my husband lives out his dream, becoming someone great in the Kingdom of God? I felt used and parts of me grew angry. I constantly told God, “this isn’t fair!”

I decided it was time to take a break. I was falling apart. Part of me no longer wanted ministry. To be completely honest, I no longer wanted to attend church. Much of my attendance was forced and I was growing numb to everything around me…

I needed Jesus and I needed him quick!

I took a planned 3 weeks off work and in this time I made a commitment that I would intentionally seek Jesus. That I would get to know him again, and in that get to know me again. That I would be bold enough to ask him questions and expect answers in return. And lastly, that I would be intentional about the people I spent time with.

It was until I made the effort to get before God that things started to change.

Here are my practical 3:

1. Seek Him:
Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.

I was determined to seek Jesus. I wanted a new relationship with him, one where he looked at me for all the current titles I held but also knew the me I was before. I wanted him to also shine light on my future, to remind me of who he created me to be –I believe deep down we all know who we are in Christ sometimes we just need to wipe away the fog that distorted our vision. I needed his direction and I wanted to vent. I wanted him to understand all my feelings. I wanted him to know I was struggling.

As I began to seek him, he began to affirm me.

2. Believe Him
Philippians 1:6
I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The war begins in your “yes” to Jesus. As soon as I dived into the word disbelief crept in. I began to doubt what was written. I began to doubt all the good things God was saying about me. I fought with doubt and won. I know Gods realness and I trust him. I trust and believe in his word. Without trust being activated I would still be in a rut. Believe in what he says about you. It is written, “that he who started a good work in you will complete it…”

You will walk in purpose.

3. Get around BIG dreamers
Holy Cow this is SUPER important! Life in itself can be so weightly and only focusing on “reality” all the time sucks. Get around people that are unapologetically confident! Toward the end of my second week off work, I spent time with a new friend of mine, Kathryn(@kathryntaylor). I intentionally asked her to hang because she made me so insecure and I wanted to glean from her. She’s an amazing artist! I literally spent a few hours with her and in that moment I knew it was a God ordained friendship. She inspired me. Her willingness to see something great in me other than the normal “your such a great mom” or “your such a great wife” brought breath back into my soul. Your probably thinking I am over exaggerating, trust me, I am not. This moment with her defined a crazy break though over my life. I no longer was holding just the labels of “wife and mother” but also a creative and all the more that is to come.

Finally breathing!

Like I stated earlier, we are just in the beginning of experiencing what life looks like with ministry and family. Much of the feelings I felt steamed from lack of knowledge in my identity during this season and also lack of security in my relationship with God. Once I received revelation in regards to my current role and what God is asking of me in this season, I was able to tap into what God is birthing out in my husband. It’s honestly amazing. My husband is totally not who he was 5 years ago and growing from even the man he was a year ago. It’s beautiful and I am so excited to see him flourish in his calling. Transition is hard but if you know your identity and have a secure relationship while in transition it makes life just a bit simpler.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with life and you can’t find yourself anymore. I encourage you to try my practical 3 ways of getting back on track. Feel free to write a comment below and let me know how it has worked for you.

On days like these I find myself most vulnerable. Fall is here which means tons of heavy rain, cloudy skies, and little sun. The leaves on the trees have begun to change colors and the smell of autumn is freshly stirred in the air.

Its a perfect afternoon to write.

I opened my bible and came across this scripture:

Proverbs 15:4
The tongue that heals is a tree of life,
but a devious tongue breaks the spirit.

My first thought was “Jesus.”
His love has healed every aching bone in my body. His love has exchanged every negative thought in my mind. His love wrapped around me, like a blanket, covering me with the words, “confident, faithful, and always trusting.”

In him I have become this tree that is rooted so deeply in his love.
And because of what He has so graciously done for me, I now have an opportunity to be a branch that extends its reach to touch the lives of others through the love of Jesus Christ– to give others what He so freely has given me.

But…

The truth is I am not always that branch. My words aren’t always pure. At times they are tainted and full of muck. Leaving a permanent residue on the hearts of those I truly love.

Has that happened to you too?
We can get to those places so quickly and so easily where our words can destroy someones spirit. That our words and actions can literally deviate someone from the call of God.

Words can change identity.

Beginning today, let’s start afresh! It’s a brand new day, an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Let us truly become a church body that speaks healing and love into the lives of people. Let us continually be reminded of the grace that was extended to us and demonstrate who Jesus really is.

Jesus is not a fictional character. He is real! And the only way people will initially experience him is through there interactions with us. We are the front line–the branches to the tree of life

I’m up…

These days have been a little blurry but beautiful. I recently became a mommy of two– life has changed for me. I have a precious daughter who is a year and a half and a charming son who is almost three weeks old. To give you a bit of insight my days are full of emotional break downs wherever I turn. If it’s not my daughter wanting to be held, then its my son wanting to be fed. And if its not their emotions getting the best of them, then its mine getting the best of me.

Talk about lifestyle changes!

Tonight I just wanted to focus on ‘self.’ My days and nights are constantly cut short, my little ones crave attention and my husband deserves it. Though I love spending time with them I’ve realized that at times I just need moments to myself. Moments to daydream, to journal, to sing, to rest, to pray, to read, to break out of this life routine. But having that luxury  may require a little less sleep.

Hello Midnight.

There is a scripture in the Bible that talks about Jesus sending the crowds away and going up to a mountain by Himself to pray [Matthew 14:23]. On nights like these I am reminded of the importance in spending time alone. Solitude makes room for reflection, realization, and restoration. I have found that if I take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to myself my attitude instantly changes. There is something about being alone[with God] that recharges me.

I wonder how Jesus felt after days of ministering to people. Teaching for hours and tending to the needs of individuals nonstop. Plus trying to dodge the Pharisee that continually challenged His teachings and threatened His life. I know this sounds insane but Jesus ministry  totally reflects the #momlife. Minus the threatening of the Pharisee part. Children are incredibly needy and they require round the clock care. Majority of the time I forget to brush my teeth and eat. My survival is dependent on coffee and Jesus.

I have found that my strength comes in moments like these. Though I am up past my bed time and I may not sleep tonight. I needed this–this moment. This solitude. This quiet time with God. To clear my mind of everything that happened today and reboot for tomorrow’s adventure.

Whatever your ‘great escape’ is, take it. Go there often and make sure to invite God. He will help declutter the overwhelming infestation of senseless thoughts. Rebooting you to the very best you there is. I guarantee it. For Jesus, it was going up to the mountain. For me its writing and reading, for you it can be drinking a hot cup of coffee or listening to instrumental music.Whatever it is, get there.

Matthew 14:23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

 

 

Trusting in someone who is unseen makes no logical sense…

I have walked in this faith since 2011, and each day I find myself clinging to it all the more. I was there in the place where I didn’t believe God was as ‘real’ as you and me.  He seemed so far, to big, untouchable. I questioned His existence and wondered if He really cared about me. I recited prayers that were meaningless at the moment.

Was this God, this Jesus real?

In 2011, God made His presence real in my life. I ended a long-term relationship with a guy I thought I would marry. My life had been vested in this relationship. It was my whole world. It was all I knew. Aimlessly, I jumped into a life of  sex and drinking attempting to mend my every insecurity. I knew nothing about myself. I had absolutely no self-worth. I had no mind of my own and I let others influence my every decision. My nights would be full of empty friendships and conversations we will never remember and my mornings full of shameful tears. I hated myself more than ever.

How could I have stooped so low?

It was in my lowest that Gods love grasped a grip of me; I remember sitting in my car screaming and crying after a night spent with someone I barely  knew. I told God that I didn’t want to live this life and if He was as real as people said He was that I needed to be saved. I didn’t want to be the person I was becoming. And as quickly as I had confessed with my lips that I needed to change my life He came in and took complete hold of my heart.

Believing in an unseen God is illogical. It doesn’t make sense. It seems fake. Untrue. It’s hard to wrap our minds around. It’s incomprehensible. But believing is hope, a chance, a leap, it’s a risk that you will not regret taking. Believing in Jesus is finding freedom to a once shackled heart. Its throwing comparisons out the window and recklessly loving yourself. Its finding wholeness in a broken world. Its loving others through the mess and madness. Its forgiveness. Its friendship. Its genuine and unrestricted  love.

The process of change was not easy. I had to separate myself from the group of friends I was hanging around with. It wasn’t just for a short while it was years of delayed communication. During my time of separation, I had to reshape my identity. I had to find myself. I had to love myself. I had to forgive myself. And lastly, I had to promise myself that I would only look back to remember the places I was taken out of.

Here I am today, my life never perfect but my trust, hope, and faith placed in a perfect God.

The Bible says that there is evidence of God everywhere but we fail to acknowledge proof of His existence. Let us become a generation that acknowledges God for who He truly is. There is nothing to wrong that you have done that God’s grace doesn’t cover. If you’re questioning His reality the best way to see if He is real is to give Him a chance to show you He is. I guarantee you He will make himself known in your life. God is unrestricted.

If you have any questions about my journey, my faith, or if you simply want to reach out comment on this post or send me a direct message via Facebook.

Romans 1:20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. 

Insecurity is the worst. It has the ability to completely shut you down. It removes every ounce of confidence you’ve ever had in yourself and pins you into a dark corner. It’s uncomfortable and will eventually bring you to ruins. 

I know how I got there…completely insecure. Insecurities  that were built on lies, disappointments, and fear. I felt that what I had previously dedicated my life to was pointless and purposeless. Every ounce of hope that I had was gone. My “purpose” gone.

If you know me then you know that my heart has always been towards helping others. I can boast about the ways that I have extended a helping hand but that would be completely and horribly wrong of me to do. Why? Because my ability to help others is reflective on God’s willingness to help me.

I lost sight of my perspective. After years of walking in line with my purpose I grew tired. My life was changing quicker than anticipated and the weight of responsibility took over my life. I was completely and utterly stressed out. And to top it off the level of support that I had went from a ten to a negative ten. I had nothing and was fighting these  mind battles on my own. The more I fought the more I lost and the weaker I became. In my mind I could hear the laughter of others while I shed tears. I was broken.

I had stopped it all. All communication was on hold. I built a huge fence around my heart locking the gates and making sure that no longer would anyone enter the confines of my secret place. I tossed the key and called it quits.

Routine. My life assumed as normal. I created a perfect lifestyle routine that only included my husband and my daughter. I made sure that it was only them. Why? Because they are family and they are pretty much obligated to be in my life. Family is a safety net. A security blanket. Family is comfort.  Family is easy. Family is forgivable.

You may be asking why this act of routine was so wrong? My answer to you is this, it makes you weaker. Weaker because now your view on others shifts. No longer is your trust easily extended or your heart easily offered. Your communication with others is short and cold. Your relational skills deteriorate and the chance of you extending forgiveness to someone other than your family becomes almost impossible.

Building this fence of protection worked against me. My insecurities flourished in the confines of my secret place. And I lost myself.

People. It wasn’t until I got around people that I started to find healing. These people that so graciously opened up their home to us and simply extended friendship and truth. Truth that doesn’t always reveal strength but walks through weaknesses. Relationships that aren’t built on expectations but on love. Friendships that challenge to sharpen and not to harm. Conversations that resonate giving clarity to a once blurred vision.  It was People.

The bible talks about Gods goodness leading us into repentance [Romans 2:4] . In this season I can see that scripture verse coming to life through people. It was through people that I started to gain ground on every insecurity. I began to build strength in the areas of my life that I felt weak in. And God demonstrated himself to me as “relational.”

We the People have the ability to steward others into good health. Our lives are constantly fluctuating. Like a rollercoaster on repeat. Constant ups and downs filled with whiplash and headaches but one thing that keeps us sane is relationships.

As I broke free I pray with a hopeful heart that this post would somehow inspire you to grab hold of what God is offering you today.

We have heard many times that scripture speaks to us differently depending on our need. It’s hard to believe that the Bible (a book) is the living Word of God and that it can actually help. I know I questioned that in my past. But I have come into agreement with many others when they say the Bible is “alive.”

This past year (2017) my family and I had to make many decisions. Some harder than others. When making decisions, questions always linger. Did I make the right decision? Should I have done it differently? What if that wouldn’t have happened? Should I have chosen a different option?  How can I make it better? Will it change? Is there an opportunity?

As we made decision after decision these questions would pop in my head. Many times frustrating me because I knew that what we (my husband and I) had agreed on was truly the best decision.

I sat many times and had conversations with God, always venting. He’s a great listener! After pouring out my heart I would sit in the quietness of my home and open my bible. I would just say, “Father, speak to me please. I need your help.” I would not question if he would answer me or not because I know he will. I would just read. Sometimes the topic would seem off but as I thought more about what God was saying I realized that he was trying to mend a different part of me before moving on to my current situation or need.

In the book of Mark, the very first chapter, Jesus makes a life changing decision. He chooses to be baptized by John. Immediately as he (Jesus) comes up out of the water a voice from Heaven says: You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!” –This is how I instantly feel when I know I have made a God pleasing decision. I know with certainty that God is pleased.

But look at what happens next:

Mark 1:12 (AMP) Immediately the [Holy] Spirit forced Him out into the wilderness.

Jesus, after making a Godly decision was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. (Wilderness can be viewed as a pathless area full of confusion and temptations) That happens to us so often, doesn’t it? We make a decision for the good, the better, the right and we feel instantly the weight of trail and temptation that comes about. Those questions bring about confusion and insecurity.

What I love most about this passage is the concluding part of the scripture verse.

and the angels ministered continually to Him.

The angels guided Him and helped Him as he was tempted by the devil. The devil would bring about lingering questions, “Did God really say?” “If you are?” and so forth. These questions were there to challenge Jesus in his mind but He responded to the devil with the scripture (truth).

Our decisions may not always have an immediate picture perfect result. And what is attached with your decision may be trialsome. There will be consequences whether good or bad but if you know that God is pleased with your decision and you are secure than just stand firm.

Jesus stood firm in what he believed and because of every “wrongful” decision that he made (according to the Pharisees) we today are able to have a personal relationship with him and we have the opportunity to dwell with him for all eternity. His decision contradicted everything that the law had perviously taught so it was hard for others to accept this new law. But Jesus did not waiver from any decision though at times it was hard. He knew exactly what he was created for. He was made to be our Savior.

While times may get tough and the decisions may require sacrafice just be joyful in hope, patient in afflection and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). God will work all things out for the good (Romans 8:28). Sometimes all it takes is time.