Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Audios 2013!

I for one am happy to say see ya to 2013!  2013 was not all bad- challenging, emotional, hard, risky, happy, humbled, and confused, yes, but not bad. 


2014 has to be better and more definite than 2013, so I am excited to ring in the new year!  If you would have told me 10 years ago I would be where I am now, I would have laughed in your face and told you that you were crazy, and totally wrong.  But alas, we are where we are, trying to be confidently obedient in where we feel God leading us. 

A little recap of 2013-
Winter- The Ridge {our former church} had just bought it's first building and began renovating it.  In March, Eric turned 30, and I had a surprise party for him with 75 of our closest friends. 
Spring- Eric and I made the announcement that we would be leaving our current ministry to pursue something else in Ohio.  Molly had her last WI dance recital, and finished her kindergarten year.  And we also sold our house in 1 day!
Summer- We moved out of our house and started living with our best friends.  I tried to soak up as much time with friends in WI, and quit working at the real estate office.  For Molly's 6th birthday we took a trip to Chicago to experience American Girl, and Eric preached his last message at The Ridge.
Fall- We packed up like the Beverly Hillbillies- mattresses on top of the car and all, and headed east to Ohio.  Molly played soccer, we tried our hand at home schooling, Molly entered public school, we decided to not plant a church in Toledo, and celebrated the holidays with our friends and family. 

It's been one heck of a year.  I am not exactly sure what word or words to use to describe it, but I am glad to see 2013 come to a close.  Sometimes the hope and expectancy of the future is a whole lot better than reality.  So that's where I am at now, I am hoping and expecting great things in 2014.  Much love to you and yours, and Happy New Year!    

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Post Where I Tell You We Are Not Planting A Church...

I am a wear your heart on your sleeve, bare your emotions type of gal, for better or worse, that's who I am.  I feel convicted to be authentic because I feel like everyone has a story, and we all can learn from one another.  So when I decided to break the ice and tell you all that we were leaving Wisconsin to sail the high seas of church planting, I meant it.  We were all in.

I have started, stopped, deleted, re-typed, deleted, started again so many times on this post.  I wanted to go into great detail, I wanted to bullet point the highlights of our journey, I wanted to share my side of the story, and I wanted to ignore this mess all together.  But that wouldn't be fair to you all who have been praying for us, and also I wouldn't be true to myself by skipping over this big part of my life.

It all started when Eric and I felt an undeniable call back to Ohio last Christmas.  There was something so unsettling deep in our cores that we could not ignore.  We both felt it at the same time, and we knew we had to act.  We had no clue what we were being called back for, we knew ministry, but what did that ministry look like, feel like, and most importantly location, where in Ohio would we be going.

Probably the last 12 months of my life have been the toughest, most confusing, semi-exciting, faith building, trust learning, and down right hardest months of my life.  We felt like leaving WI things were lining up in Ohio.  Eric and I are not the people that fly on a wing and a prayer, we like planned out, scheduled, no surprises.  We are both responsible, successful, and hard working.

But since moving back to Ohio we don't feel any of those things.  Our mantra has been "we won't know until we go."  So we went, and we still don't know.

We felt like we knew, we felt like we were supposed to plant this church, we would be close enough to family, and we were going to reach unchurched people for Jesus, and in my mind things would be like a church planting fairytale.  We were going to have the life I had dreamed of in some weird church planting ministry way.  I pushed and pushed, Eric pushed and pushed, until we realized this wasn't the dream were supposed to be living out.  Sure a circle could squeeze into a square hole, it would be hard, frustrating, and not the best choice, but it could work.  But it wouldn't be the best fit.         

We are the circles going into the square, and coming to that realization, and more importantly accepting that realization was incredibly difficult.  We had to let our church planting dreams die for now.  Hopefully not forever, but for now.  I grieved the church I had imagined in my head, the people we were going to connect with, the fun staff outings were going to have, and showing my kids what it truly meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus. 

I know I don't need to clarify this, but I am going to anyways, the organization and the people we were working with have been supportive of us, and our decision.  This decision to not move forward with this particular plant was not made lightly.  Trust me, it was tempting to ignore our "this doesn't feel right" feelings in order to have a job, get a paycheck, move out of our parents house, etc.  But we couldn't, there felt like this imaginary roadblock that we physically hit everyday.  It has been tough, this decision to stay put and not go forward has affected our self esteem, our pride, our relationships.  We have felt ashamed, embarrassed, confused, mad, and sad.  But through it all, no matter how hard the day has been, we have also felt obedient.
This whole journey to answer an undeniable call on our lives, the call to move back to Ohio has been about sheer obedience.  The whole "we won't know until we go" mantra, sheerly obedience.  We keep believing in a greater plan for us, God has something more than we could ever imagine lined up for us.  And who knows if it will even be in Ohio.  Maybe the first step for us was to just simply obey, and go without knowing.

So to all of you who have asked about, prayed for, and supported us through this journey, I humbly say thank you.  On the days I could not muster up a prayer or a thought, you prayed and thought for me, you supported me, and encouraged me.  You have texted saying "this sucks" and it does.  It sucks when your dream has to die so God's plan can become a reality.  It sucks, but it also is pretty cool to look back and see where you came from, and where you are going now.  I read somewhere that "tomorrow's freedom is today's surrender."  I am learning that daily, sometimes hourly.

I guess I could sum up the last 12 months as this: obediently confused.  We know right now at this very moment we are where God wants us.  Beyond that, it's up to him to take us where we need to be, and that actually is freeing in an obediently confusing kind of way.  


Friday, December 13, 2013

Be You This Christmas Season

Sometimes God whispers thoughts into my head and I think about them and then move on.  Then he whispers at me again, and everywhere I look or how I feel are all pointing back to the original whisper.  I get to the point where I can no longer ignore what God is telling me, and I have to put it into action.  Hence this post...
I love Christmas, I really do.  I love the magic of the season, I love driving by and gawking at lights, and houses decorated so sweetly.  I love the sound of kids singing "Jingle Bells" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas."  I love picking out the perfect gift, I love wrapping presents, I love putting up the tree, and drinking hot chocolate.  Are you catching my Christmas drift?  I love it all!

Here is what I don't love about Christmas...other people telling you how you should act, what you should or shouldn't buy, and what Christmas is really all about.

Are you scratching your head yet?

I am a Jesus lover, Christ follower, so from that perspective, I understand what Christmas is all about.  I teach my kids about Jesus during Advent, and we celebrate his birthday.  But does that mean I shouldn't buy my kids presents?  Does that mean I shouldn't serve my family and give only my fresh baked goods to my neighbors?  Nope, it doesn't.  Guess what, you can do both, and Jesus will love you all the same.

I see too many blog posts, too many Facebook status updates judging people who love doing "Elf On The Shelf", or who celebrate Santa, or who don't do things the way the author of that blog or status does, so therefore the person reading it is wrong.

Good grief, that's not what Christmas is all about.  Glad tidings you bring, comfort and joy...nope, just judgement.

I guess this post has grown out of my heart like the Grinch's, getting smaller and smaller due to ignorant, maybe not spiteful meaning but you come across that way people.  I dislike reading your posts thinking anyone who might be searching for the real reason behind Christmas, who may be searching for something beyond themselves, have now just been turned off because they feel defeated and like they don't measure up, and they are only on your second sentence.

I am all for throwing out a good challenge, telling people how your family celebrates, and what special memory you just made, but please don't make the rest of us feel like our love for presents and elves is wrong, or any less Jesus loving.

I don't come at this post lightly, I have truly fought it for 2 weeks now, but I threw in my towel and I am jumping in the ring.

So I guess I am writing to people like me, who are learning to be okay with themselves and how they celebrate Christmas.  Here's to the families that use the elf to keep the peace for one night during dinner, here's to the people who sit with their child and read books about a train going to the North Pole, here's to the parents who leave out carrots for the reindeer.  Here's to the parents who set up a nativity scene and talk about the journey Mary and Joseph went on, here's to the families that eat birthday cake on Christmas morning because it's baby Jesus' birthday!  Here's to the family that gives more than it receives, and here's to the family that is on the other end of the giving because this year has been really tough for you, and you are just scraping by.

I guess no matter how you celebrate, no matter what means you use to make a family holiday memory, keep doing it, and do it unapologetically.  Don't let anyone make you feel bad about it, especially if your kids love it.

Now if you are looking for different ways to celebrate, or different memory makers, try something new, just go for it.  And if you don't like it, try something else, or tweak your original tradition.

Maybe it's the season of life I am in, or that I am getting older, but I am learning, accepting, and growing into myself, into who God created me to be, and I am unapologetic about it.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lucy Is 3!

On Monday we celebrated Lucy turning 3!  I have to admit I am having a hard time with Lucy getting older.  With Molly it just seemed to make sense, but Lucy being my baby, I don't really like it.

Lucy, you are 3, here is what you are up to...
-You weigh 42 pounds, and are 3 feet 2 inches tall
-You refuse to have anything done to your hair.  You don't like it in a ponytail, or a cute bow clipped in it.  It's down past your shoulders, and you have grown some pretty lovely curls. 
-You are the absolute definition of sweet and sassy.
-In a group of kids, you tend to be bossy, and if someone does not like your suggestion, you are none to pleased with them, and you will let them know about it.
-You would rather wear dress up clothes or a leotard and tutu than regular old clothes any day.  As I type this you are strutting around in a pink leotard. 
-You love Molly, you say she is your best big sister friend, and you miss her while she is at school. 
-You are a pretty creative kid and you have a wild imagination.  You are constantly playing something or making up a song and dance. 
-You really like water coloring and playing with play dough.
-You don't walk anywhere, you run, or skip.
-You are super opinionated, so much so, I am fearful of what will come out of your mouth in public. 
-We always say Molly is our sweet and caring child, and you are well, not so much.  You are caring in your own tough love way. 
-If looks could kill, we would be dead on a daily basis with you, sweet child.
-You have an obsession with my pimples...which by the way, I only got after birthing you! 
-You are a free spirit!
-We often hear you saying these phrases: I am just a little bit nervous, that's tricky, I have a question, actually, that's awesome, no way, it's private, and get outta here. 
-You claim you have lose teeth, you don't, but you need to get up at night to tell us that!

 We have been on the go since you came along, there is never a dull moment with you, Lucy May!  We love you, and you are the perfect fit in our family!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thoughts About Advent

If you celebrate Christmas you have probably heard of advent.  Advent in layman's terms are the 24 days leading up to Christmas that are supposed to help get you in the right mood to celebrate Christ's birth.  If you are on pinterest, I am sure you have seen about a million pins with crafts, books, food, fun ideas, etc. that will all help you have a rockin' advent time.

I think all of those things are great, honestly, I do, but may I suggest something different.  If you are supposed to be preparing your heart and mind for Christmas, for Christ's coming, why on earth would you stress yourself out with preparing crafts, and finding books to read every night?  I love crafts, I love books, I love movies, I love making memories, but not in the name of stress.

There are some awesome, just down right great resources out there to help celebrate advent.  I urge you to check them out, but feel no pressure to accomplish them.  I bought a great resource a couple years ago that had us doing or making something every single day.  It was great, it was helpful, but it was also stressful at times.  I found myself some nights rushing through the activity because I felt obligated to do it, yet I just wanted Molly to go to bed so badly because I was so tired from being mom all day long.  I wasn't really in the right mood, or mindset to truly get my heart prepared for advent.  And I certainly was in no place to help my child understand advent, all she understood was glue here, sparkle there, and possibly something about Jesus.

Life is stressful, kids are stressful, the holidays are stressful, why add more stress to it?  Please hear me, if you are in a position to do crafts daily, read special books, and do advent activities, please do that.  I think that is awesome.  We probably will do some special stuff, and make some special crafts.  But most nights we will be reading from the "Jesus Storybook" Bible.  We will follow this advent reading plan.

Truthfully, I don't think you have to do a reading, light a candle, or make an ornament.  Just be still, find peace, and remember. 

Remember why Jesus was sent to this earth, why he came to save us, and why God loves us so much.  Take time to bask in his grace, and enjoy his gift, his son.   


Friday, November 22, 2013

Surviving The Holidays With Depression/Anxiety

With Thanksgiving less than one week away, most people are starting to feel a little bit of stress, anxiety, excitement, and did I mention stress?  The holidays have the ability to bring out the best in us, or the worst in us.  Your relatives know exactly what buttons to push, what side dish to bring, and have an opinion on how you cooked the turkey or decorated the tree.  Don't ya just love'em?!

But for some of us who struggle daily with depression or anxiety, the holidays can really start to make your palms sweat, and you feel an overwhelming need to stay in bed, all day. 

So what's one to do if they find themselves falling deeper and deeper into feeling down, or not holly and jolly?  Here are a few tips I have come up with to help survive the holidays, and please know I am coming at you as someone who struggles with this.  I do have a background in counseling {BA and MA in Clinical Counseling}, but these tips are from my heart, not my textbook. 

1. Get connected or reconnected with Church...Most people find God around the holidays, or are willing to "try" formal religion.  I know some people get frustrated with church, they think most Christians are hypocritical, judgmental, mean, and cliquish, and yes, you would be right.  I think that, too.  But those people are a small percent of the Church, unfortunately they are the first ones you see when you walk in.  But get past those people and find the ones who really care, and want to love on you.

I am not saying get back in church so you can pray your depression away.  I am saying there is something to having a true, genuine relationship with Christ.  God loves you unconditionally, he loves you on the good days, on the bad days, and on the really ugly days.  God created you, and he didn't make a mistake.  I feel like I can not express this tip enough, you just have to trust me.  Step out of your comfort zone and give it a try. 

2. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time...I doubt someone who severely struggles with depression or anxiety volunteered to have all the family over for the holiday.  But maybe you did, or maybe you got volunteered to host.  Regardless if you are having everyone over or are traveling, be prepared.  Make a list of what you need to bake, make, or pack.  Start now, and crank it out.  We are leaving Tuesday afternoon to go out of state, and I am making my list today of everything we need to take with us.  This way you feel like you are in control and not spiraling out of control at the last minute.  If you are baking/cooking, make your grocery list, go get all the items you need before Wednesday night at 8pm, and start a schedule of when you are going to prepare the food.  Try and get your family to bring as much as they can, so maybe you are left with just the turkey and drinks.  This plan may not work for this year, but bank it for next year.

3. Schedule a break day after the holiday...Once your family comes and goes, take a break, and don't feel guilty.  I love my family, and I love being around them, but they wear me out, too.  So I know when we get back, I am taking a break.  I will push my to-do list off so I can re-charge.  You are better for it, and so is your family.  Make sure your spouse/kids know you are taking this break.

4. Serve others...Sometimes when I feel my lowest I need to go serve others.  Doing something nice for someone else makes you feel good.  It does, go ahead and admit it, it's okay.  Plus, when you serve someone else you are taking your focus off yourself and your issues, and you are putting that other person first.  It can be something as simple as baking cookies for a neighbor, or you go serve a meal at a city mission.  Get out and help someone.

5. Get moving...At times I feel the worst about myself when I have not exercised in a while.  I start to hear the voices saying "you are fat, you are out of shape, you are a terrible example to your kids, you are going to eat that?" and the list goes on.  It's hard to get motivated and get moving, trust me, I totally get this.  But after I go for a walk, or a run, or play with my kids, I feel so much better.  We all know when you are active your brain releases those happy feelings that float through your body, so there are multiple benefits of moving around.  I also find if I am active in the morning, I make better choices throughout the day.  Again, I am learning and doing this right along with you.  I ran on Monday for the first time in 3 weeks.  Then I did nothing all week until this morning.  I am still learning the art of discipline.

6. Have fun...Truthfully, this may be the hardest one for a person dealing with depression/anxiety.  The idea of planning something, things going perfectly, the kids having a good time, the money, the "you name it" is super stressful.  This tip could cause anyone a slight panic attack.  Keep it simple...let me repeat...SIMPLE.  Play a game, color a picture, drive around and look at Christmas lights, just do something out of the ordinary and have fun doing it!

These tips are not a cure all, trust me, they just put a dent into dealing with depression/anxiety.  And just because I wrote these down, does not mean I have mastered them, I need to practice them just as much as you do. 

If you are reading this because someone you love struggles with depression/anxiety, please know it's not you, it's us.  This a demon we wrestle with daily.  Some days are easier and we seem fine or happy, other days we know we are just plain ugly, so please don't try and fix us, support us. 

And on a serious note, if you are struggling beyond getting out of bed for more than 2-3 days in a row, or if life seems to be caving in on you and you can't escape, please, I urge to go talk to your doctor or a counselor.  There is absolutely no shame in that, and there is no shame or guilt in needing medicine to help you get back on track, or to stay on track.

The holidays are stressful, we know that, but I pray some of these tips encourage you, and you can not only survive the holidays, but thrive through them.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A BIG {fat} Update!

First let me apologize to my kids...in our house fat is a bad word, but I felt like it was appropriate for this post :)

So as you can see after my 31 days of writing I apparently went into hibernation.  Definitely not intended, but I have been busy, like really busy.  Good busy, and that makes me feel happy!

I will try and catch you all up...

-October brought the 31 days of Grace series, but it also brought the end of soccer season, pumpkin painting, homeschooling, art class, tennis lessons, library trips, trick-or-treating, Molly running in her first race, serving {volunteering}at a new church, and much more!

-November has brought packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, a trip to Nashville for me, a trip back to Milwaukee for all of us, finishing up homeschooling, enrolling Molly in public school, and getting ready to head to Rochester for Thanksgiving.

It doesn't feel like a lot to type all of that but it's kept us busy.

Molly loved playing soccer here in Ohio, and she had a great time getting to know the girls on her team.  Molly has also loved going to art lessons, she has made and created some amazing pieces of work.  I am blown away each week she brings something home.  Instead of carving pumpkins, the girls and I painted pumpkins.  They last longer and we don't have to worry about messy guts, seeds, and sharp knives.  The day looked nice and it was sunny out, but man oh man it was windy.  The poor kids were freezing while painting and the newspapers kept blowing up on the wet pumpkins.  But it was still fun, and the girls enjoyed it.    

We have still loved going to the library each week, Molly is enjoying reading chapter books, and Lucy loves playing in their little puppet house.  I took the girls to an old farm here in town and they learned all about apples and corn.  They loved it!

Molly was taking tennis lessons at the YMCA and she loved it.  Those ended, and now she is taking lessons with the Junior Tennis League of America {or something like that!}.  She is on a team with other kids her age, and she has a coach that focuses just on her.  She LOVES it!  Plus, she has a little shirt with her team name "Alley Cats" on it that she wears for her lessons.

Another big highlight is Molly starting school.  A lot of people have asked, "does this mean you are staying in Findlay?"  "Are you not moving?"  We aren't sure, and we aren't sure, how about that, ha.  Molly was not a fan of homeschooling, and didn't really enjoy it, and has begged to go to "real school."  Homeschooling was temporary, we knew that, and tried to do the best we could.  It really came down to what Molly wanted to do, within reason.  We are not sure what our plans are right now, so we figured for as long as we are here, we would enroll her in school.  Molly knows she could be at this school for a month, or until the end of  May.  And she is totally okay with that.

Molly has missed being around other kids, and having those relationships.  We thought having her involved in sports, art, and church was enough, and really it wasn't.  She needs those day to day interactions, and she looks forward to seeing other kids.  Plus, Molly has a need to please, and it gets hard just pleasing your homeschool teacher, so allowing her to follow the rules, and make others happy, in return makes Molly happy.  And that makes me happy!

Molly started school on Monday (11/18) and she has loved every single day so far.  Her teacher is so nice, and really caring.  I am so impressed with the school so far, you know 3 days in, ha!  And I attended my first PTO meeting last night.  I am excited to get involved volunteering and helping out anywhere that I am needed, no matter how long we are here.

Now to the burning question in everyone's mind...church planting.  I honestly have nothing new to report on that.  Which I know most of you are thinking, "really, what on earth have you been doing the last 2 months?!"  I often think the same thing.  Eric has been very diligent in meeting with people, pastors, churches, anyone who will listen.  And, and this is a very big and...God has opened a new door for us since moving back.  A door we had no clue about, and didn't even know was an option when deciding to move back.

How about that for a vague update.  So I guess you could say church planting is on hold right now while we are working through this other open door.  The "catch" is neither door- church planting or this other opportunity are moving fast.  So prayers for wisdom and lots of patience would be awesome.

Since moving back to Ohio we have grown a lot, we have questioned a lot, worked through a lot of feelings, have had fun, and have just tried to enjoy this journey God has put us on.  Each day is new and different, some days are "easy" and some days are incredibly difficult.  I know we will one day look back and be thankful for this new adventure.  Today is definitely not that day, but some day will be.      




Thursday, October 31, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 31)

Day 31

Eh, ho...it's the final day!  31 days of writing about grace...some days were made up on other days, especially towards the end, but I made it. 

A month of learning and writing more about grace has truly changed me.  I think before this 31 days series I only thought about grace in a small way.  I had a closed mind about all that grace encompassed.  Now after studying scripture, listening to songs, and reading other people's thoughts about grace, I feel like the lid was blown right off my small box. 

I see grace in a whole new way.  It's more than just a tiny gift that is given, it's huge, and it's mutli-definitional {yes, I just made that up}, but seriously, grace is so much more than our tiny minds see it as. 

Grace is something freely given to us by God, something we do not deserve, so anything God gives us is an act of grace.  {Mind blown}

I am not going to sit here and say that my life looks totally different, that I have had some radical change in my life because of this series, but I will say my life is changing, my mind and heart are expanding from learning more about grace, and I am trying so hard to approach people and situations differently because of what I have learned and experienced during this month.

This month was providential for me.  God taught me a ton about grace and clinging to him.  Stuff I might not have had the chance to learn about if it wasn't for this series. 

Thanks for sticking with me for 31 days, hopefully you have been encouraged to dance and live in God's grace all the more.       

Living In Grace {Day 30}

Day 30
“Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. 
It's a way to live.”  "The law tells me how crooked I am. 
Grace comes along and straightens me out.” 
Dwight Lyman Moody

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 29}

Day 29

When bad days happen you need grace, and a lot of it.  My bad days often revolve around something happening with my kids or my parenting skills, or lack thereof.  Yesterday felt like a major parenting fail.  This day was going down in the books as an epic fail.

Usually when my kids act up, get in trouble, and or just are plain bad, I take it personally.  I feel like it reflects on my parenting.  After the dust settles of me losing my temper for the millionth time I reflect back on the latest situation and see where I could improve, where I needed to walk away, or take a deep breath.  By the time I commit to changing my behavior something happens and I am back to the crazy mom-yelling, swatting, and losing all my marbles.

Yesterday was no exception.  We trying to potty train Lucy, and it's no easy feat.  She is not like her sister, at all.  I think she could care less if she pees and is wet, it's no big deal to her.  It becomes very frustrating, she is stubborn, I am stubborn, and we both have a battle of the wills daily.  Lucy also is having a hard time sleeping.  She is my sleeper, she loves sleep.  So this no sleeping thing during the day and at night, it's rough.  It makes me not a nice mommy.

So yesterday when Lucy kept getting up during nap time, even when I parked myself outside her door, and put her back in bed at least 30 times in a 2 hour period, I felt like a bad mom.  I kept thinking what am I doing wrong?  Why won't she cooperate?  All I want is for her to take a nap!  I yelled, I whispered, I cried, I even tried laying down with her, but nothing worked.  And finally I gave in, and nap time came to an end.  Lucy even lost the chance to the go to the Halloween parade with the rest of us last night.  It was awful.

I felt like the worst mom ever.  I hate when things don't go planned.  I hate that I can't control how my kids will react or behave.  I can set boundaries and consequences, but it's up to them to do the rest.

I think this is a lot like how God is with us.  He has given us free will, and he sits back and watches us abuse that freedom daily.  I don't think we intend to abuse it, but we usually do, and we usually abuse it a lot.

In both of these instances we need God's grace.  I needed his grace yesterday to know that tomorrow is a new day, I can start over again, and try better.  Even though I have probably lost my cool like 50 times already today, each new minute is a new start.  I pray that I am not messing my kids up, and that some day they will be productive citizens of this country.

Parenting is really hard, it's the one thing I doubt about myself on a daily basis.  There are so many fine lines in parenting, and so many if's, what's, could's, and umph's.  But on the other hand parenting has brought me some of the biggest blessings and biggest accolades that I could ever receive.  I love watching my girls play together, I love listening to them talk to each other, I love all the home made cards and necklaces I get on a daily basis.  I also love that I have a small part in shaping Molly and Lucy to be who God created them to be.  And that is a big job that requires a lot of grace.

Here's to living in grace while in the trenches of parenthood.             

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 28}

Day 28
"Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
    I will surely defend my ways to his face."

I saw this verse about a month ago, and it has stuck with me ever since.  I feel like one person from the Bible I can semi relate to is Job.  He had everything, and then he had nothing, nothing but God.  Some days you are on top of the world and the next you are down in the lowest ditch ever dug.  

Not that my life is that dramatic, but I often feel like "man, oh man, today is awesome, the kids are acting like angels, Eric is happy, life is great."  Then something happens and I am declared the worst mom and wife ever. 

I encourage you to read through Job, although you might not be encouraged, it has a great message and shows a lot about God's grace.  I feel like in life I often ask God why, or I may say seriously, God?!  I get overwhelmed, I get depressed, I get to the point where staying in bed sounds better than facing the wolrd, or my family.  

Although God may slay me, I still have hope, I still know he loves me and cares for me.  I still live in his unending grace on a daily basis.      


Living In Grace {Day 27}

Day 27

I was browsing Pinterest looking for quotes about grace, I came across this one:

"Shame says that because I am flawed, I am unacceptable.  Grace says that though I am flawed, I am cherished." 

I tried to do a search to see who originally said this, or who to give credit to for this quote, but I came up empty handed.  Regardless, this quote is awesome. 

I think often times we shame ourselves far more than the world does, we are our toughest critics.  We believe the lies we tell ourselves, or better yet, the lies that Satan whispers in our ears.  You aren't good enough, look at them they have it all together, why don't you?  Her husband seems really happy, what is she doing that you aren't?  Now those kids, they listen and obey, unlike your kids who are rotten. 

Ever heard those lies before?  Maybe it's not about marriage and kids, but about your job, your bank account, your house, your car, your {fill in the blank}.

Shame shows up in the most harmless places yet leaves a lasting hurtful mark.  Sometimes people use shame as a motivator.  I have found myself doing that to my kids.  I don't start off on the shameful path, yet my sinful words end up there and I find myself shaming or guilting my kids into things.       

God is so amazing, he doesn't use shame or guilt with us.  There's conviction, but that is not shameful, that is an act of obedience.  We should want to repent because we know on the other side of that act there is wonderful, glorious grace we can dance and live in. 

God loves us so much that he would rather take us at our worst than when we are at our best and think we can do it alone.  God loves you so much he wants to bandage and heal your flaws, your scars, your hurts.  He cares for us so much that he sent his son to die a horrible, brutal death just to save you.  Jesus came to save all of us, not just the good ones, all of us.  There is nothing you can do that will make God stop loving you. 

The world may say you are flawed or messed up, but God says you are his, his perfect creation.  Live in that truth today. 

Living In Grace {Day 26}

Day 26

This is one of my favorite songs to listen to, especially when the days are long and it feels easier to quit than go on. 

Living In Grace {Day 25}

Living In Grace

When I was researching grace earlier in the month, I came across this article.  It is really good, and it is really long.  If you can get past some of the theological rhetoric (if that doesn't appeal to you) and can really grasp what the author is writing, it is full of great wisdom about grace. 

"Let me be clear. When you come to Christ, you do not come to give, you come to receive. You do not come to try your best, you come to trust. You do not come just to be saved, but to be rescued. You do not come to be made better (although that does happen), you come to be made alive!" 

"You do not come to Christ to make a promise; you come to depend on His promise. It is the faithfulness of God and not your own that gives the gift of grace."

Those are just little snippets of what the rest of the article is like.  It truly is a great perspective on grace and the author {J. Hampton Keathley, III} did a fantastic job diving into the topic of grace.  I encourage you all to click the link and spend some time learning more about grace.