Category: Following Christ (page 1 of 2)

2017, The Year of Grace

I always look forward to January 1. It’s a fresh start…and I really need a fresh start this time. Last year was one of the best years of my life, but also one of the hardest.

I am deep-down-in-my-soul tired.

Physically, I’m exhausted because apparently not every baby in the world will sleep through the night like Josiah did. Mentally, I’m spent because meeting the needs of two children is a lot harder than it looks. Spiritually and emotionally, I’m worn thin because 2016 found me putting so much pressure on myself to reach that lofty goal of perfection. I hate to admit that, but it is absolutely the truth. There were some ugly moments in the past 365, because of self-inflicted anxiety. I was hard on my family and hard on myself.

Therefore, I’ve decided to make 2017 the year of grace. I understand the concept of grace from God on a cerebral level, but I have very little understanding of how to apply it. This year I need to relearn grace.

Grace for…

  • my lack of faith in tough moments
  • my inability to be the mom I thought I’d be
  • the times Dustin and I don’t connect
  • the nights I fall to pieces because I’m just so tired
  • the times I lash out instead of reach out for help
  • the ways I’m failing my kids
  • the days I spend too much time on social media
  • my kids’ lack of baby books and Pinterest crafts
  • the dark circles under my eyes and my thinning hair (thank you postpartum hair loss!)
  • my squishy tummy
  • my messy house (hello dishes mountain!)
  • the way my van makes us look just a step above homeless (I’ll clean it out eventually when I have to take someone somewhere…maybe)
  • my less than glorious spiritual (lack of) disciplines
  • the days when homeschooling is lackluster
  • all the nights I don’t do yoga
  • all the days I can’t juggle everything and end up eating chocolate in fetal position…

Is that list long enough for you to see that I am a mess in need of grace?!

I’m really excited to see what 2017 holds, but I’m going to choose grace for all the ways it might not go well and all the ways I might fail. I have a lot of goals for the year, but I’m going to try to be gentler on myself when I can’t meet the demands of my New Years’ Resolutions. And in that same spirit, I’m going to try to take it easy on others, as well.

Ain’t nobody perfect but Jesus.

And boy, don’t we all need His grace…

A Sense of Meaning: Update on My New Normal

Hey friends, thanks for stopping in. My heart is full tonight, so I thought I’d write. There’ve been a lot of things I would have written about the last few months, but the days have been long and full of memories and struggle and meaning. I’d be lying if I said I savored every moment. Truth be told, I’ve had more grueling moments over the last 6 months than I ever did as a mother of one. I’ve felt like a failure as a wife, momma, and home manager (I’m calling it that, okay? I manage a lot, and putting it that way makes it seem more important. It’s not just laundry and dishes. It’s making life peaceful and enjoyable for my family!). I’ve had more guilty feelings than I can count. Mostly guilt over not feeling rosey about motherhood every minute. Being a momma was and is my greatest desire, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

So anyway, I was feeling guilty and worthless, so I pleaded with God to help me find the joy I used to feel over mothering babies. It didn’t happen over night. It took soul searching, slowing down, letting go of expectations, and lots of prayer. Tonight I’m truly, madly, deeply feeling the joy of motherhood. I’m trapped in bed by two babies who didn’t want to go to sleep. They finally gave it up, and it’s going to take some Olympic gymnast like moves for me to get untangled and out of this bed! One might be teething, and the other is battling seasonal allergies, and I’m wrapped up in their needs, their precious faces, and the overwhelming sense that I’m right wear I belong.

I hope you’ll commit your struggles to prayer, because the LORD certainly cares and answers in His very perfect, mysterious ways. Whatever you’re walking through, know that nothing good or bad lasts forever. The moments are fleeting. Root your heart and thoughts in God’s love for you, and trust that His plans are truly for your good.

Your Childhood Joy

Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you were downtrodden, depressed, anxious, or lonely? Maybe you’re experiencing that time right now? Unfortunately, I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life like that, despite having a relationship with Christ.

The Bible says Jesus came so we could have life to the full (John 10:10), and yet so many of us live without joy. We can blame this on others, on circumstances, on things out of our control…but I don’t believe that’s the real issue. Continue reading

A White Girl from a Small Town

Laying awake at 4 am trying to grasp for straws. Social media is a whirlwind of people falling on either side of a debate that shouldn’t be. There’s been violence once again in our country. White cops, black civilians and vice versa. Just a short time ago, it was an Islamic man and homosexuals. In a country that’s supposed to be about equality, there sure is a lot of hatred and brutality based on differences.

I just can’t understand it, if I’m being honest. Other than offering prayers, I don’t usually fall on either side of these debates. I don’t feel like I can speak with any kind of authority in these situations, so I just keep quiet. I’m a white girl from a small town. What do I really know about race relations? Continue reading

One Day At A Time

Reading through a Bible study workbook today, I read the author’s speculation about what Jesus’ death must have been like for His mother, Mary. As it often does, my mind trailed off thinking about how this applies to my daily walk.

What if Mary was like me? What if when Jesus was born, she questioned the outcome of raising God’s Son in every possible way? What if she focused more on her inabilities than on the task the LORD put before her? What if she walked away out of fear? I have no doubt that God could have used another woman to do the job. His plan would have been done. However, Mary could have missed living out God’s will in her own life if she’d obsessed about what the outcome would be of raising this God-baby.

In my own walk with the LORD, I’ve done far little work than I’ve been offered. I sin regularly by worrying about the future and questioning if I am truly capable to do the work God puts before me. In my heart, I know that the harvest is ready in my neighborhood. So many of these people need Jesus, but I am tempted to listen to my own thoughts instead of God’s truth. I want to run from opportunities, because I question whether I will be consistent enough, whether it will take away from my family too much, whether I am capable of sharing truth, whether I have what it takes to shine Jesus’ light in a dying world…

But today, what ministering in my community looks like might be smiling at a neighbor kid and asking how he’s doing. It might be walking my son to the park for the 100th time so that we can get to know the kids there better and make our presence known in the neighborhood. It might be praying for God’s wisdom and light to grow in us. It might be asking God to teach me through His word. I can do all those things!

“What if I fail this baby? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I get sick and can’t care for Him? What if I die before He’s grown? What if this motherhood thing ends up to be more than I can handle? What if I lose my son before I’m ready? What if this mission breaks my heart?” These are all questions Mary could have asked, and are not unlike questions I have found myself asking. But Mary clearly didn’t fail. One day at a time, Mary raised her son the way she was asked by God. The rest is HISTORY and our salvation! I’m so thankful for humble Mary’s example.

One day at a time, I can wake up and choose to live within God’s will.

If I will follow His leading, I can trust that He will fill all my gaps and make His plans come to fruition.

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