Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raise your hand if you are quitter!

Diligence: careful and persistent work or effort.

Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Obstinate: stubbornly refusing to change one's opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.


I would like to say that my moma didn't raise a quitter but I would not be telling the truth. Truth is, I have quit just about everything that I have ever started. Especially when I get bored or it gets hard. Diets? I love food and hate denying myself anything so nope...never stuck to one. Exercise? Ha! Refer to the diet issue. Exercise is hard when you are fat. Budget? I mentioned self deprivation isn't my strong point right? Now some of you may say my character is lacking because of my quitter mentality and that is ok with me. Another truth...I beat myself up quite a bit for it so let's just move past that ;)

In a blog post a couple of days ago about kindness I mentioned that I am a part of an online book club over at The Time Warp Wife. The topic this week is diligence.

It is tough being diligent and a quitter at the same time huh? In case you are wondering...the answer is YES!

In this life, in my marriage, in raising my children I am going to have to take on the virtue of diligence. It could possibly become a matter of life and death. I know that sounds a little extreme to some but it is the truth. It is the truth of my heart.

My marriage has so many distractions these days. Cell phones, TV, Internet, "The Man Cave", the budget (or lack of one), TBall practice, supper to cook, a house to clean, 2 jobs, 4 kids, friends, different opinions and the list goes on and on. Without that diligence to make it work we could get so lost. That is so scary to me. It scares me enough to dump that quitter mentality. It scares me enough to realize that we MUST manage those distractions. Is it realistic to board up the man cave, shut off the internet? Of course not, but it is realistic to manage those things. It is realistic to put down the cell phone and miss a basketball game or two in order to look each other in the face and remember why we are here. To love each other...to raise our babies...to instill trust in the fact that WE are the important part of this life..to remind each other that intimacy is a must!

This goes so far beyond the quick I love you with a hug and kiss on the way out the door. It goes beyond the emails and text messages that say "Grab some milk on your way home. Love ya". Beyond the when the kids get older or the one days and some days. This is the right here...right now...before it's too late.

I commit that as a grown up, God loving, married to the greatest man I know woman that I will be diligent. My marriage will come first. YES-even before my 4 littles because when my 4 littles are all grown up I don't want to look at my husband and wonder who he is. Where our life went and when he turned into the man in front of me. I don't want to be looking at a stranger with whom I have nothing in common anymore.

I commit that he will come right after God. He will be the one I pray for first. The one I consider first. He will inspire me.

Because I love him...

Because I am committed to him...

Because I am called by God...

I will be diligent...I will not be distracted...I will not quit!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wrath, Pride and Gentleness

There really is nothing like a good chastising from God first thing on a Thursday morning now is there? I don't know what you call your interactions with God when he is offering you correction and guidance. I don't know if you refer to it as a whipping, a good talking to or a gentle nudge but regardless of what you call it-it is the sweetest thing because there is a lesson to be learned. Today he used one of my favorite authors, Lysa Turkuerst, to open my heart to some things going on in my life and I must say I am so thankful that he did.

I read a post about conflict resolution (fun right?) and it brought to mind an issue that Emilee and I had a couple of nights ago(if you are knew here Emilee is my sweet 14 year old daughter).

Without going into to much detail, she was struggling with some issues in our everyday family life, school, etc. and was talking to me about them. I reacted with defensiveness and immediately felt the need to prove her wrong and me right. About 10 minutes into this I remembered that this was my gentle, hurt, sweet little girl and I needed to put down my weapons and LISTEN to her and thank God that I did.

The situation was immediately diffused and a great talk resulted but today God is really showing me some other steps that I should have taken with her.

I think back to that night-her tears, her hearts cry and my absent gentleness, my immediate harsh response and it hurts my heart. I don't want to have to regret my reactions. I don't want to have to sit and wonder how much damage I did to our relationship. I should have been the adult and realized the pain that was there. I should have immediately acknowledged her hurt and comforted her with a hug and allowed her to lean on me until she was ready to talk. That is what a moma does right? Parenting is hard y'all and this moma is still learning. Looking back, I don't remember many hugs and touching moments filled with sweet background music when I was growing up. Not that my parents didn't love me because they did (and still do) but we just weren't a huggy, touchy feely family. During times like these I wish it came second nature to me because what my sweet girl needed was her moma's arms around her.

Truth is...what every hurting person needs is someone's arms around them FIRST. First, before the conflict is ever discussed they need to know that no matter what is said or not said that LOVE comes first and LOVE conquers everything.

But that night I failed...that night is a lesson I am learning. That night has lead me here.

In the blog post I referred to earlier, three scriptures were referenced and I hear them all the time. God brings them to my remembrance alot but I choose to shove them back down. Today I am really letting them sink deep into my heart and am tucking them away for the next moment :)

1. Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” That one is obvious to me. Had my reaction immediately been a gentle answer instead of defensiveness then we both would have avoided some anger and tears but I chose the hard way first. I got it eventually BUT hindsight is 20/20 right?

2. Proverbs 29:23 “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor” OUCH...that pride gets us every time huh? I felt that she was attacking my parenting skills, my communication ability, my past decisions and that hurt my pride because truth be told she was exactly right. How humiliating to have a 14 year old air your dirty laundry and faults and be RIGHT about it all.

3. Phillipians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” This is what I feel is the most important and the part that God is dealing with me about today. When it comes to conflict resolution with anyone but especially my family, I am not only setting an example for them in the future but I am showing them God in me. If gentleness is not my reaction then what are they learning? What is my example saying about Jesus in me?

I want my immediate response to anyone, especially my family, to be love. I desire an open heart and open arms. My response will be a gentle word, a hug. My desire is that compassion oozes from me first even if I think the hurt is petty and silly. Jesus loves and comforts every situation. Jesus doesn't say "Suck it up. I can't believe you are upset about that." Jesus says for us to come to him if we are burdened and find his rest in him. If Jesus is me and I am him then shouldn't that be my attitude as well?

My response will turn away wrath. I will have a lowly spirit and be a gentle example.

At least that is my hope and with Jesus all things are possible.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The hobo life...

It is quite possible that only in NC do people crumble sausage and fry it in a pan and then scramble eggs in it for a mixture that we like to call a "hobo". The mixture is then put between 2 pieces of bread for a yummy sandwich. Not one person in TN has ever heard of it-not anyone that I have met anyway. However, this is totally not a post about a sandwich but more about the concept of the sandwich.

For the past few weeks my life has felt like a hobo sandwich.

A bunch of emotions thrown together in pan and mixed all up then shoved back into my heart and I have been trying really hard to make it look pretty. The thing is that I can't keep trying to make it look like something it's not. If I were to take those emotions out and really look at them they would be really ugly.

They would look like confusion, chaos, fear, unworthiness, hopelessness, lack and none of those are pretty little Jesus girl emotions. Are they?

I have met so many people that feel that if you are experiencing any of those emotions then you are weak and out of God's will but lucky for me I am not one of those people.

You see, to me, the confusion and chaos, the fear and lack, the hopelessness..those are places of learning. Those are places of brokenness and out of brokenness comes great things. Great revelations. Out of those emotions I search for answers.

I find that these emotions scare the heck out of most people and I used to be one of those people. I would shut down like Fort Knox and put on my Jesus girl mask and pretend like everything is just fine. I would get so lost in the "I'm OK" lie that I convinced myself that I was when the God's honest truth was that I was dying inside. My spirit was screaming for my savior to bust down the door and rescue me but the sweetest thing about Jesus is that he isn't that guy. He will knock on the door but you MUST invite him in. We have to cry out to him for help.

When we refuse to look these things in the face and cry out to Jesus for answers we will continue to be stuck. Stuck in the chaos and confusion. Stuck in the place where we try to handle everything on our own. Stuck in that lie that 'We are Ok' when clearly our inside is in knots, we don't know if we are coming or going and we are slowly but surely getting angry with the one that is here for us always.

I don't if you are in that place. I don't know why you are in that place. But if you are there trust me when I say that you are in a great place. If you are tired of doing it all on your own and you are tired of faking it with the pretty smile and the "I'm ok" lie you tell yourself and others then you are almost there!

Run to the feet of Jesus. Tell him your confused, tell him you are falling apart and apart from him you are nothing but a bundle of emotions. Tell him that you are angry at him-he can handle it. Tell him that you are 2 "I'm ok"'s away from screaming.

Most importantly tell him you need him! You need him more than the very breath you breathe. Tell him that his peace makes you whole and comforts you and that you need to feel that every second of the day. Tell him that you are just a little girl that needs her heavenly daddy to believe in her. Tell him that you need him to wrap his arms around you and say "I am here and it's gonna be ok".

He loves you! He has always loved you! He will always love you!

Run to him and never look back!

Never look back until the next time life comes at you and when life comes at you remember where you found peace the last time. Remember that Jesus is there. He is always there.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Forget and Be...

Wow y'all. I haven't put my heart on paper since Aug. 2013! For some that may seem like nothing but to me that is huge. That's a really long time.

I asked myself today one simple question, "Why haven't you been writing?" and to honestly answer that question I would have to answer it by saying "It didn't feel important." but that answer is a lie. A lie to make myself feel better because the honest answer would be that every time I started writing I would start writing about things that have broken my heart, things that I know break the heart of God, things that break the hearts of people and I couldn't bring myself to write about those things.

I couldn't write those things because I knew all of those things defined who I was in my past. All of those things were things that labeled me unworthy just 5 years ago. Those things haunted me in my dreams. The dirty deeds that use to make up my life. What kind of hypocrite would I be if I sat behind my computer screen telling you that you shouldn't do the things I did. But here is what I have found out about all that past stuff. Here is what I should have known all along but chose to throw to the wayside because my mind told me I wasn't forgivable...

Philippians 3:13
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

Isaiah 43:18-19
Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins.

I would like to say that I will NEVER look back at the things that I have done but I can't. I also can't say that I will NEVER see myself through that warped mirror of shame but I can promise that I will not look as long as I used to. I can tell you that I am learning more and more everyday that it is true what they say "You can never drive forward looking out of the rear view mirror", I guess you can but it isn't very effective and you can really wreck your life.

My commitment to myself today is to keep pouring my heart out on paper. My commitment to myself is to stand up for what I know is right even if it is one of the wrongs I myself committed and face the consequences. Maybe it will open the door for me to tell someone my story. Tell someone what happened to my heart when I took that road.

Whatever the outcome, I am ready. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says "You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally."

I am running my race and I hope that you will run with me. If not, I hope that you will at the very least support me along the way!