Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Life is hard!

Ya’ll!  These last few weeks have been the hardest, nothing majorly extreme but hard just the same.  This past week was a mixture of hormones, the stresses of not working and kids who were doing their best to test me; a scary trifecta of emotions that no one wants to experience!  I felt frustrated, angry and upset, as though nothing was going right and everything was a struggle.  I lost count of the times I’ve lost it over things that really aren’t that bad and complaining about things that I can’t change.  I hope someone else feels this way and it’s not just me.

Is it this time of my life?  Is it life with three little people who are trying to grow up and figure things out themselves (and can I say hard headed?!?)?  Or is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life?!  I remember when I had my oldest, how I organized and had everything worked out that he didn’t really change our lifestyle that much.  We still hung out with friends, went out to eat with him and I could still get things done at home.  I don’t know if that’s just my deteriorated mind remembering all the rainbows and unicorns, or if it was seriously how life was.  With the twins, I flutter from incomplete thought to incomplete thought; task to uncompleted task and feel so overwhelmed all the time.  People always comment how they don’t know how I do it, and I want to cry and say “I have no idea how I’m doing it or what day it is!!!”  

So, after my quiet time the other day, I laid my head on my desk and asked God to reveal to me what I need to do.  I needed some comfort and grace to give me hope.  I started flipping through my bible, reading some of the notes that I’ve wrote down in the last few of months and Philippians 2:14-15 popped out at me “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure”.  I mean, all I was doing was grumbling and arguing.  If it wasn’t with someone else, it was inner-grumbling or arguing and that, my friends, is probably worse!!  Then, I read a past First5 study over Numbers 11, it talked about the Israelites complaining about missing Egypt.  Um, hello…they were slaves there, but it totally made sense to me!  We get so caught up in our everyday “struggles”, that we forget what we should be thankful for or what God has done for us.  It makes me so sad.

So, with all that said, I wan to say I’m thankful for my family, my marriage and everything that God has blessed us with.  I’m thankful that Corey has an awesome job that he loves and that is providing for us now, when I can’t!  I’m thankful that God has blessed us abundantly during this time and that we are not doing without!  It’s definitely a God moment I would like to discuss later.  I’m thankful that God is using this time to refine me and get me in a closer relationship with him!  I needed it so bad and I doubt I would’ve ever got to this point if the rug hadn’t been pulled out from under me!  I just need to trust him and quit complaining because I know things could be so much worse.  It’s all about perseverance and trusting God, but we always make it so much more complicated.  I hope this has given you some hope today.  You’re not alone.  Have a great day!

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:4 (NIV)

Monday, June 27, 2016

We're never going to be perfect!

Hello!  This year, my husband and I started doing bible studies together.  It has been something so encouraging for me because he’s taking it so seriously and he has inspired me on many days that I don’t feel like doing it.  For this, I am thankful!  Again, as God always does, I have been getting repeated messages over perfectionism.  It started in our bible study, A BeautifulDesign.  I’m paraphrasing, but it said that perfectionism and comparison are women’s sinful desires and that we constantly want people to look at us and say, “Yes, you are enough”.  Man, that made so much sense to me, especially in this social media age.  Being the introvert, I am on complete opposite spectrum of not wanting to post because I don’t want people to think that I’m bragging or that my life is perfect…but just let me just clarify right now and say that my life is far from perfect!!!

What’s crazy is that we feel as though we have any control over our lives anyway.  I mean I used to pride myself on being an overachiever (note that I said pride).  I had everything planned out and felt like I had my stuff together; granted that was when I was single, kid-less and still in college so I had all the time in the world!!!  Since then my pride has taken a major fall and I am humbled almost daily as I forget things, and make plans when I already have other plans…can anyone relate?!  The bible study had a sentence that jumped out to me and made me feel like it summed up my life:  We exhaust ourselves trying to control every moment in vain.”  In vain.  That resonated with me so much.  Who am I kidding, or whom am I trying to prove myself to?  I am not perfect and will never be.  This is something that God has been trying to get me to see for some time now.  I think I mentioned mommy guilt a few posts ago and it’s something so rampant in our society.  It’s really sad when you think about it.  We're all trying our best, can't we just be happy with that?!

So then a few days later, Proverbs 31 had a devotional that was titled “There is no such thing as a Perfect Decision”.  Yes God, I’m listening!  Haha.  It said that no choice will turn out perfect; it’s only an illusion.  If we keep trying to please God with what we are doing, it will never be wrong!  Definitely read the whole devotional to get more encouragement!!  I’m trying so hard to let go of that old perception of myself.  It’s soooooo hard and will take a lot of effort because it’s something that is ingrained in me, but I know that I can do it with God’s help!  I have to keep my focus on him and remind myself that I will never be perfect, no one will!  Have a blessed day!

“How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?”  Galatians 3:3 (NLT)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Veil is Thin

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but forgot to life.

Today…I just can’t even!  How can God loves us as much as He does?!  I mean, we’re all sinners who are totally unworthy but He does the most intimate and loving things for us, that no one else even knows.  The last few days I have really felt God’s presence in just the little things.  For example, my husband left for a retreat yesterday and on the way to drop him off I “kind of” joked that since he would be focusing on God all weekend, if he could ask God to provide me with a job that would be great.  He told me he had been praying, but I said “well, you will be closer to God since you will be focusing on him for 4 days and the veil will be thin.”  I mean, I was sort of kidding but not really?!  Am I the only one with a sense of humor like this?!  I hope not! 

That night while I was reading my book Audacious by Beth Moore, one sentence jumped out of the page.  She said “He’s always there whether or not we ever perceive Him but nothing in this human experience is like an uncommon, sacred moment when, for the briefest flash of time, the veil seems thin.”  (Emphasis mine.)  Literal goosebumps. He chose that particular night and that particular page for me to read those words as sort of a confirmation that the veil is thin.  But on the other hand, it tells me that He’s always here.  God tore the veil for us so we wouldn’t have to rely on others to speak to God for us and I am so thankful for that.  I have to continually seek him, study his word, pray and really listen for when God is leading me to do something.  Sometimes I don’t hear anything, but I know He is still there.  We have to trust that whatever we are going through is God’s will.  It can be tough, but the reminder that however God blesses us here on earth or in heaven is better than any tough circumstance we face today.  Keep hoping and keep trusting that God is going to do what He says He’s going to do.  Have a wonderful day!!

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  The earth shook and the rocks split.”  Matthew 27:51 NIV

Monday, June 6, 2016

Only He can give us strength!

Hello!  I'm not sure if you know, but I have 3 small children under the age of four.  Well, I have a 4 year old and 22 month old twins to be exact!  So, as you can imagine, life at our house is never dull.  Lately, I have been struggling with frustrations, anger and then, of course, remorse.  I'm not stay at home mom material by any means and then add the worries that come with not having a job and it's a lethal mix of...I can't even think of a word for it, but it's not good.  And let me not forget to add that my twins are going through the stage where they are testing me.  I vividly remember having stare downs with my older son while he was testing the waters and it wasn't easy but we made it through it.  But with two, it's a total game changer.  Then, the oldest sees that the twins are telling me "no" and he thinks he can too so let's just say these last couple of weeks have not been the "model mothering moments" you find in all the self-help books.

I feel like I am being tag-teamed and most days just want to quit.  Don't get me wrong, I love my children more than I can express, but there are just some days when I can't handle it.  I get mad, yell more than I should because they are being hard-headed and intentionally not listening.  It just makes a bad situation worse, but at the time I can't see that.   And then I feel bad and compare the twins' upbringing to that of my only child and the guilt just piles on!  It's a never-ending cycle!! What I have noticed, on days like that, is that I didn't get into God's word that day or I didn't start off with prayer.  I know it sounds so cliché but it's true.  I am a person who LOVES sleep!  I always have, my husband jokes that it's a special super power I have.  So, when people would say "you need to get up before your kids and study the word to make your day better", I thought "yeah right, I love my sleep too much."  Since I have been off I can wake up around 6:30am, do my bible study, then get the kids up in time for school (clarification: my oldest goes to pre-k because he needs to learn!!  Haha) and it wasn't that horrible.  But since I started doing that, I have seen the benefits.  Do I still get mad or frustrated when I pray and study God's word?  Yes, but I don't do it as often.  I still have a lot to work on because I'm definitely not perfect but that is the whole thing about grace.  We're never going to be perfect, we always have to lean on God for mercy, strength and grace to make it through this thing called life.  I'm so thankful that I have a God who loves me and is there for me.  Hopefully you too can find something to be thankful for today!!  Have a great day!

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."  Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I love it when a word comes together!

Hello!!  I've been meaning to write this post for at least a week and have been so busy with life.  In reference to my previous post, God gave me so many words of encouragement through so many different people to make it through that hard rejection.  I am so grateful that we serve a loving God that cares enough to make sure we are ok.  : )

But the story doesn't end there.  The ladies at church started a Facebook group that we can discuss certain devotionals since we don't have a particular women's class at church.  When I had my "aha" moment Friday, I shared it with them and was so encouraged by their comments.  But I still felt like I should share it with more people.  I thought, maybe during Sunday School I could share it because if you know me, talking in front of large groups is the worst!!!!  So, Sunday came and I just didn't feel like I should share it then.  It didn't go with the lesson and back again to the whole not liking to talk to people, I just blew it off.

Well, fast forward to the sermon that day.  Our Pastor has been going over the book Haggai and that particular day was over Haggai 2:20-22.  He talked of the word that God gave Zerubbabel, a timely word that said to quit focusing on the rubble and to focus on God.  Ya'll, have you ever had an experience like this?  My Pastor spoke the exact words I've been hearing for the last couple of weeks.  He also said that it's a personal word just for us, that can resurrect our faith.  We just have to persevere.  I had goosebumps, started sweating and thought that I had to shared my testimony...IN CHURCH.  He went on to say it's a powerful word that will not return void and that we can use it as a weapon against Satan.  Maybe I was wrong, maybe I didn't HAVE to share it to church, but I didn't want to disappoint him...uuhhhh.  And finally, it's a productive word.  It reminds us that we are chosen and highly favored of God.  They were words of affirmation, that God truly cares for me and that I have to have faith He will do amazing things for me.  During the sermon, I wrote down a couple of things I had wanted to "say" but still wasn't sure.

By the time he got to the invitation, I was about to throw up. I knew that God wanted me to share my story and my recent bible study talked about being faithful with little, so God can trust us with the big was resonating in my head!  So, I walked up to the front feeling as though electric volts were going through my body.  I was shaking and I asked my pastor if I could give my testimony.  He told me after invitation was over I could speak.  Again, I HATE talking in front of people especially large groups.  (As I'm writing this I am starting to feel antsy again!!)  I start sweating and stuttering and feel as though my voice's not pretty.  Do you know I don't think I said anything I wrote down.  I felt as though I didn't get the message out correctly or even coherently and sort of felt dumb that I couldn't get it together.  But I just knew that God wanted me to get up there.

That night, my friend called and told me she was so glad that I got up there because she had been praying about something at the exact moment I got up there.  She asked God to give her a word and my testimony was what she needed.  God is so crazy and I feel he has to have an amazing sense of humor to use someone like me.  So unequipped and fearful and really lame, to further his kingdom.  I am so glad I trusted him because if not, my friend wouldn't have gotten that message she needed.  It's the little things, people.  Little steps of faith that could become something so big.  I can't wait to see how God uses me for his glory!  Have a great day!!!

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We aren't always winners...and that's ok!

Ya’ll, the craziest thing happened to me the last couple of days!  It was such a God thing and I have to share!  (Can you sense my excitement with all of my exclamation points?!)  I believe that I have shared my unemployment struggles with the blog before.  I’ll recap if not.  In February of this year, I was laid off pretty unexpectedly.  Yes, it rocked my world but God precisely planned a bible study for me that started the day I was told I would be laid off.  It helped me get through the fear and the unknown of that time.  Since then I have been looking for work but have not had any luck.  About a month ago, I got news of a position that I was interested in.  I emailed the contact and she said she would talk to her manager.  It sounded promising, but I didn’t have the feeling like “this is it”. 

Skipping the mediocre part of the story, I thought I did well with the interview and felt like I could definitely handle the position, but I still didn’t have that peace about it.  The manager told me she would get back with me in 2-3 weeks with a response.  Ok, that was the longest 3 weeks ever!!!  During that time, I feel like I grew desperate.  Like, that has been the only job I have interviewed with during this time and what if that’s it?!  Or EVERYONE is asking me “what am I doing” or “have you heard anything from anyone?!”  I know they are concerned but it’s really annoying and makes me panic a little when people put so much emphasis on it.  God has been providing for us financially, even more than if I would have been working, so we aren’t worried about that.  It’s just that I enjoy working and the feeling I get from being able to provide for my family and others in need.  Well, that wasn’t a tangent I was expecting but we’ll roll with it!  : )

So, Friday, I woke up early and did my bible study.  It was over waiting on God with hope, specifically having me search the bible for verses dealing with waiting and making me write down what my expectations are of a request we have for God so we can “Get ready to watch God move.”  I wrote what my expectations are for a job, not really even thinking about the job I interviewed for.  Being close to home (I was spoiled with a 10 minutes commute with my previous job) and a position that has a flexible schedule were my two main requests.  I finished the study and got the kids ready for school.  On my way home, **at a red light** I read my email rejection letter… “You have great qualifications but we are pursuing another candidate for this role”.  My heart sank.  I mean, this role was perfect for me, right?! 

Then, I was reminded of the study I did that morning about waiting on God and that gave me hope.  The job was 30 minutes away, under conditions that I wasn’t 100% sure of anyway so to be completely honest, it wasn’t what I truly wanted.  Without that reminder, the devil could’ve used that to fuel my rejection, my angst about being home and kept that playing like a broken record of destruction and disappointment. Then when I got home, I read a devotional comment from a friend at church and it went right along with what I needed to hear.  “He strengthens us to face the defeat we have suffered, to work through the grief we have, to over come the depression we are in, whatever the circumstance we are in He is our strength and out hope.”  Does it stop there?!  Nope!!  Another friend’s facebook post about “Do not give up” quoting 2 Corinthians 12:9, a Proverbs31 devotional telling us to call out to God because he hears us and nothing is too trivial for him, a message from the local Christian radio station that the Lord will fight for us and a few more.  All of it came together at that specific time to make it so much easier to accept the rejection, defeat and discontent of that day. 
I have no idea where this time is taking me but I do know that God’s got it under control.  He’s showing me things that I wouldn’t have seen in my “fast paced” life before.  He’s rebuilding the relationship that I lost and he’s showing me that he is here, right now and there’s nothing more important than that!  I feel like he’s intentionally slowing my life down and getting it back in order and I am so excited about that.  It’s sad that we have to go through hard times to reach out to God, but am so glad that when we reach out He is there.  Thank you Jesus!

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33 (NIV)