Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos.

My Pastor has been bringing some really powerful truths to our church. For the past month, he’s been doing this awesome series called, “First Things First.” We are on week two of the series and some of the words he spoke felt like a big slap on the face. Not in a bad way, but in a way that shouts: HEY YOU! FIX THIS AREA OF YOUR LIFE.

As I thought this message over, I felt really convicted and challenged as I wrestled with the question of whether or not I’ve been prioritizing God in my life.

  1. Is the Bible the first thing I read?

  2. Is He the first one I talk to (prayer?)

  3. Is He first in every area of my life?

When I answered these questions truthfully and also somewhat begrudgingly, “Well, mostly…” I didn’t like what I saw.

This morning when I felt like stress was trying to strangle me before I even hopped out of the bed, I thought of Psalm 23. I decided to read it.

 “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalms 23:1-6

As I read the words, I felt stress release its ugly grip. I felt peace as I reminded myself of some powerful truths from this Psalm:

  1. God’s got me. I have everything I need.

  2. I can rest in Him. He is my peace.

  3. he gives me new strength on the daily.

  4. He shows me where I need to go and what I need to do.

  5. When everything goes to hell and I can’t see the light, fear has no place. He is with me.

  6. God has my back. I can cry to him and He’ll comfort me.

  7. He pours out His blessings over me in the face of people who hate me or don’t want me to do well (hint – these are not always clearly seen enemies).

  8. My life OVERFLOWS with blessing.

  9. His goodness and love literally chase after me and will continue to do so as long as I’m alive.

  10. I have eternity with Him.

If you are going through what feels like a trial or just a really tough spot in life, I encourage you to read Psalm 23. This is a Psalm you have heard a million times. You have probably read it so many times, BUT I challenge you to read it with fresh eyes, a fresh heart. Read it out loud. Feel His peace calm you in the middle of a torrent and remind yourself of the promised rest that comes with knowing Christ.

xo – Until Next Time

 

How To Be a Godly Leader According to Proverbs 16

Godly Leadership according to proverbs

I love learning about leadership and how to be a good leader. More importantly, I love learning about how to be a Godly leader.  As a teacher, a worship leader, and a part of the pastoral staff at our church, I constantly want to learn how I can be a better leader and a more effective leader. I love to talk to other leaders and soak in wisdom and listen to their experiences and mistakes.

Tonight when I was doing my study, I was reading through Proverbs 16. I’m doing a Bible Reading Plan where you go through Proverbs and Psalms multiple times throughout the year. Because I’m in my second round of reading through Proverbs in order, I like to switch through different versions. I decided to read through Proverbs 16 in The Message version and imagine my delight when I came across verse after verse with clear guidelines for leadership. As clear as night and day. I thought I would share. Being a leader is a huge responsibility and healthy leadership is really important. How do you know what healthy leadership and most importantly, BIBLICAL leadership should look like? Look at the word of God. Let’s take a look.

Here are some guidelines of what a Godly Leader Looks like According to proverbs 16:
  1. “A good leader motivates, doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit.” Proverbs 16:10

A godly leader will be a person that is constantly motivating you and challenging you. Good leaders will call out the best in you, and will also hold you accountable and be truthful. I love how it says they won’t mislead you or exploit you. In other words, a good leader shouldn’t USE you. If a person is only interested in your talents and abilities but doesn’t care about you as a person – run. You will see this if they drop you like a sack of hot potatoes once you are no longer useful to them.

2. “Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation.” Proverbs 16:12

Godly leaders should have a solid moral life. This means they should hate evil. They should hate it enough to call it out. Also, if you are a leader you should be living a life of morality on and off the platform. Who cares if you can fool people when you can’t fool God? #moralitymatters

3. “Good leaders cultivate honest speech; they love advisors who tell them the truth.” Proverbs 16:13

Leaders should speak TRUTH and should love to hear TRUTH. Honesty is important as a leader. This means you have to be willing to speak truth, even if it hurts, even if it’s unpopular. On the other side of it, you should be able to listen to advisors and people who will do the same for your life. I’m extremely wary of people who refuse to listen to others and think they have all the answers. The Bible speaks repeatedly in listening to godly counsel from others, so as a leader – take it to heart and if you’re under leadership that won’t listen to others, that’s not biblical or wise.

4. “An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives; you’re smart to stay clear of someone like that.” Proverbs 16:14

Intemperate means a person who doesn’t have control. A godly leader should be self-controlled. A person who flies off the handle and lacks restraint is a person who can bring many lives to ruin. I have personally known people who have no control and who literally have ruined relationships, jobs, and anything good that was going for them. This doesn’t mean that a leader has to be 100% perfect. Trust me, it’s quite the opposite. But if a person is consistently living of a life that has zero control – stay clear!

5. “Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re like spring rain and sunshine.” Proverbs 16:15

Probably my favorite verse in this chapter. This goes along with the previous verse: a person that’s good tempered will add to your life. They will strengthen your life, energize it, add to it. A Godly leader will do just that – invigorate, strength, and add to the lives of those around them. Unhealthy leadership is a leader who drains the life from those around them. Instead of spring rain, they are more like clouds and storms. Ask yourself if you are bringing something to the table that adds to the lives of those you have the opportunity to influence and impact.

This is just what Proverbs 16 had to say about leadership. The Bible has a plethora of crystal clear guidelines on what leadership looks like according to a biblical standard. As a leader, we need to adhere to these standards. As a person under leadership, know the word and know what God looks for in leaders. I wanted to share because I loved how The Message wrote so clearly about it. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts!

 

How to Trust God When It’s Hard

Have you ever been in a season of your life where your future seems so uncertain? You are trying to look a few steps ahead but can’t even see what’s in front of you? You feel anxiety creeping in, doubt screaming in your face, and fear threatening to consume you? Maybe you find yourself in a situation you simply don’t understand? How do we trust God when it seems hard?

I’ve been there! I’ve said the words, “God – I want to trust You. But it’s hard.” Yet, I recognize that true peace and freedom is ONLY found in complete and total surrender and trust to God. And it’s not hard.

The question is – how do we do it? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Commit to prayer.

Coming to a place of trusting in God starts with talking to God. Make this a part of your every day life by inviting God into every aspect of Your life. I used to run to my comfort zones when I was stressed out about things and made turning to God secondary, or sometimes the last resort. It was “easier” to distract myself with other things – mindless entertainment, hanging out with friends, shopping, etc. Yet, the end result of that was pain for me because it always left me desensitized and apathetic.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Commit to prayer when you feel like running or turning the television on. Have an honest and open conversation with God – He hears you, He cares.

2. Commit to His word.

Commit to reading the Bible every day. Replace checking your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and all of the like with opening the YouVersion Bible App. The more you do it, the more habitual it will become. Seek HIS truth. If you are in a place where you need answers or guidance, there is no more solid place than the Word of God to start with.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

God’s word will give You clear direction and guidance.

3. Commit to spending time with people who will build your faith.

I learned this the hard way. The worst thing you can do when you are struggling with trusting God is to surround yourself with people who are in a similar boat. NO.

Don’t fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you. – 1 Corinthians 14:33

Surround yourself with people who will speak life, encouragement, and faith over you. Spend time with people who will remind you of all that God has done in Your life. Go out for coffee for a friend who will pray WITH you and remind you of God’s wisdom and promises.

4. Commit to remembering what God’s done in Your life.

I recently heard in a message, “Sometimes you need to recount the victories.” It resonated in my heart because it’s something that God reminded me I need to do! Take a minute to remember all of the amazing things God has done in your life. You’re still breathing aren’t you? There are times where we look back and can so clearly see God’s hand of protection over us, perhaps we remember His clear guidance or direction on a topic. REMEMBER these things. The same God that’s taken care of you then, is the same God watching over you now.

Our Lord, I will remember the things you have done, your miracles of long ago. – Psalm 77:11

Sometimes I read through my prayer journal and am amazed at how many prayer’s God has answered. It’s encouraging!

5. Commit to worship.

I was listening to a worship song and the singer said, “Don’t let fear steal your song.” Those words landed on my heart with a thud. I was so worried and letting anxiety consume me, that I didi just that. I stopped worshipping God and started focusing on my problems. When we worship God, we take the focus off of ourselves and onto HIM. We take the focus off of our problems and worries and onto HIM. I don’t know what worship looks like to you, but to me it’s putting on some worship songs and sitting on the floor, listening, praying, singing…walking around. I look at these songs as more than just a song – declarations they are. Of my total trust in Him.

6. Commit to surrender.

This means that we let go our fears and worries and we literally give them over to God completely. We recognize that we have no control and God has all of the control. We recognize that at the end of it all, God opens the right doors and closes the wrong ones.

Surrender to God All-Powerful! You will find peace and prosperity. – Job 22:21

A surrendered life is a peaceful life.

7. Commit to trusting Him.

Wait, is this a trick  Nope. It’s not. How do we trust God when it’s hard? We trust Him. Even when it’s hard. We just DO. We know He holds our time in His hands, our life in His hands. We know that if he cares about the birds, how much more does He care about us? We know we can trust Him. So trust Him.

Thanks for stopping by and reading a topic that’s been so close to my heart lately because God has been working with ME in this area. Until next time!

 

 

 

Why Giving is SO Important

livinggenerouslygraphicLately, God has been teaching me about giving. Through different people, through His word, through different sermons, through hard life lessons.

The conclusion that I’ve come to is – GIVING IS ALWAYS GOOD. GIVING IS RIGHT. BE GENEROUS.

We reap what we sow. It’s a biblical principle. Check it out:

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Why should we give? Why should we live lives of generosity?

  1. The bible tells us to.
  2. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.
  3. God is able to bless us and make sure we have all we need. *Note that needs and wants are different!*

We DO NOT give because…

  1. We want something in return.
  2. We feel forced and want to check it off the list.
  3. We want the pride, affirmation, accolades that come with giving.

We don’t give with an attitude either. “Okay, God. I’ve given so this is what I want…” God is not a genie. If you want a genie, check out Aladdin. We give to others because God has given to us so freely. First, we have salvation and it’s something completely FREE. God loves us and we don’t have to earn His love. We can’t buy our way into heaven or into His promises. But when we give, we are so richly blessed.

We should give AT ALL TIMES, even when it’s really hard!

But my spouse lost his job. We are really tight right now.

GIVE.

But I am single parent struggling to make ends meet.

GIVE.

But I’m going through a really hard time in life right now.

GIVE.

I’m speaking to this because I have been there. We have been in situations where we have been on one income. We have been in situations where we have watched the lives of our children flash before our eyes. We have been in situations where people have hurt us. Nonetheless, I have experienced the overflow of God’s blessings every single time without fail when we have been consistent in giving. We have always experienced his provision. We have never been without what we have needed.

Giving should flow from a heart that is willing and pure. If you are ever in a place or even a church where people are guilting/coercing/begging you into giving, RUN! It needs to come from a heart that wants to be generous because in the end, YOUR HEART IS WHAT MATTERS THE MOST. If you give with a crappy attitude, you might as well not give. I think motive matters greatly.

Can I give you examples of how God has provided for us through challenging times?

  1. When the boys were sick as preemies and I had to take a longer maternity leave without any disability, God used a blogger friend to supply a case of expensive formula Micah needed just when we ran out. Formula landed on my doorstep from TEXAS. During that time we also received random checks in the mail, hand me downs from others, even a check from the mortgage company. God took care of us.
  2. At the end of my school year, after my long maternity leave, I had a crazy check come in (by the thousands) that was completely unexpected to the point where I e-mailed my HR director asking her about it. She explained how it was rightfully mine, even though I couldn’t believe it! I don’t even remember her explanation, all I remember is being so grateful.
  3. When my husband left the only job he ever had for over ten years, God opened up a door for him with a job where he eventually became a real estate agent, which has been a huge blessing for our family.
  4. When my husband was in a sudden transition between brokerages, God used someone anonymous to supply us with a $500 grocery gift card and $250. This is all without us asking or even announcing it (our Pastor mentioned it at the end of a Sunday service, our church responded by being generous…anonymously! We are grateful to be part of this kind of church.)

HE HAS ALWAYS TAKEN CARE OF US WITHOUT FAIL. Everything I have I owe to Him. Therefore, I can give to others and live generously!

The Bible tells us this story of Jesus sitting down in the temple watching everyone give. All these rich people are throwing in tons of money. Then, all of a sudden, this widow comes up and she drops in two coins only worth a few cents. Jesus points her out and says, Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

This tells us Jesus isn’t impressed by a monetary amount. You can’t buy your way in. This woman gave from the depths of her heart because she literally gave all that she had. Jesus essentially says, “Hey guys! This widow here? She nailed it. She gets what it means to give.”

I want to be like her. I haven’t always lived generously, but I have come a long way and want to continue to grow in this.

Look out for part 2 – What Giving Looks Like, where you’ll find practical applications and ideas/thoughts on how to give. 

 

 

God’s Grace in parenting.

 

God'sgrace

Some days I feel like  I need an extra dose of God’s grace when it comes to parenting.

Do you ever have moments where you are impatient with your little ones? Annoyed? Frustrated? Visualize me answering this question with my hands up, jumping up and down, all while shouting, “oooohhhh MEEEEE! YES! YES!” Am I alone in this?

Do you ever have days where sometimes your impatience or annoyance shines through? Or when you want to shout back, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO SHARE!” and throw an adult tantrum towards your toddler? Or maybe even a time where you have snapped, blown a fuse, or had a melt down? I have a feeling I’m not alone. Because after all, we are parents. And if you are a parent of multiples, you probably feel this even more so.

Right now the boys are at an age that I actually LOVE, but there are also some things that I don’t love. For example:

  • Tantrums – I get it. You don’t want it. Geeze.
  • The word no on speed dial and repeat – I’m convinced one of my boys has selected that word as his favorite in spite of his rich vocabulary of other words that are more magical and wonderful than the dreaded “no.” YES. How about that kid?!
  • Pickiness – grilled cheese, pizza, eggs. All of the ingredients for a well-rounded diet in the eyes of my toddlers. One of my guys will actually smell it, stick it in his mouth very briefly, and then say “No. I don’t want it.”

And in these moments where I want to scream, pull out my hair, or curl up in a corner and cry. I need His grace. Outside of these moments, I still need His grace. Parenting my boys is TOO PRECIOUS of a job to do without it. I need it daily.

Every day I reflect and think – “Wow. God chose ME to be the momma of these two precious guys. He knew that I would have what it takes. That I would have what these boys needed from a mom.”

I am overwhelmed by the privilege and honor it is to be a mother and to have a job that is so important: molding and shaping these guys into men of God who love Him relentlessly. And I am thankful for God’s grace to do it.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. – Ephesians 4:7

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – 1 Corinthians 12:9

National Infertility Awareness Week!

Start ASking

Hi beautiful people! I have decided to share my blog with my friends, family, and people I know. For years I have blogged without sharing it with too many people that I knew in real life. This blog started in 2012 as a place I could write about my thoughts and share things I was scared to really say out loud when it came to our struggles with infertility. When I found out we had fertility issues, I didn’t feel like I could talk to a lot of people about it for different reasons. Plus, it’s not exactly easy dinner conversation: “Pass me the bread, oh yeah I’m having trouble having a baby…” What I DID feel like I could do was write about it. So that’s what I did. In blogging I found a really amazing community of people who were in the same shoes. A great deal who had made it to the other side and had given me hope. Some, who to this day, are still struggling to conceive. Ultimately, it ended up being an amazing outlet to share and to listen.

I want to share my blog because when I look back at where we were in 2012 and what we went through to have a family, all I can do is be filled with gratitude and awe at where we are today. And guess what? I take literally ZERO credit for it. It’s all God. Without Him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Yes, we didn’t go through the typical process people go through to have a baby. I’m thankful for how far we have come in the medical world and through science. I’m grateful that God uses doctors, nurses, scientists, and all kinds of awesome people to make things happen. That’s just how good He is. So today what I want to offer others is this:

HOPE.

I share my blog because I believe there is hope for anyone who is dealing with infertility. Anyone who is walking this journey. It can be lonely, murky, unfamiliar, and altogether terrifying. I can tell you this – everything we went through shaped us and molded us in such a unique way. I learned to face fear head on. I learned not to be consumed with anxiety and worry. I learned that I had a choice, I could choose sorrow and depression OR I could choose hope and joy, even when it was seemingly impossible to do so. I thought it would be really cool to share my blog during National Infertility Awareness week.

This week is National Infertility Awareness week.

The definition of infertility is:

 …the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse (six months if the woman is over age 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth. 

1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility. There is an excellent chance that someone around you is struggling with it or knows someone who is. It’s much more common than people realize.

The theme for National Infertility Awareness Week is #StartAsking. The foundation wants people to #StartAsking:

  • Employers for insurance coverage.
  • Your lawmakers and legislators to support issues important to the infertility community.
  • Friends and family to support you.
  • The media to cover infertility and the real challenges we all face.
  • Those who have resolved their infertility to stay involved.
  • OB/GYN or healthcare provider to talk about YOUR reproductive health.
  • For affordable care for treatment of a disease (all taken directly from resolve.org – edited).

I am going to encourage you to #StartPraying in addition to asking. Pray for your friends and family members who are walking through this. Encourage them. Let them know you are there for them. Pray for the wisdom to be there for them in a way that is helpful, encouraging, and uplifting.

And most importantly, hold on to hope.

 

Faith – Remaining Unshakable.

Unshakable

Lately God has been pressing the same message into my heart.

Be unshakable.

and…

Be immovable.

and…

STAND FIRM.

Though the cares of this world come to destroy us and to rob us our joy and faith, Jesus tells us to be unshakable in Him. It’s inevitable that trials will come our way. It’s a guarantee that at some point in our life, we’re going to face problems. Bad things WILL happen. Jesus himself guaranteed it when he said,

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:13

But here’s the thing. As followers of Jesus, we are ALWAYS on the winning side. We always win! That’s the thing in living a life of complete freedom, free of fear, free of anxiety, free of doubt, free of stress. We win. We have a hope. We have a promise of a life with Jesus FOREVER. Does it get any better than that? That’s enough to fill me with peace. That’s enough to kick fear right in the face. That’s enough to silence any doubts and starve any anxious thoughts that try to make a home in my mind. The Bible spells it out for me quite clearly,

“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3

When I decided to live for Jesus, I died to this life in the sense that the things of this world didn’t have a hold on me anymore. My real life is found hidden in Jesus.

“But the Lord is my fortress;my God is the mighty rock where I hide.” – Psalm 94:22

When our lives are hidden in Jesus, we find peace. We find shelter in His promises. We find a place of complete safety. This doesn’t mean that we hide from the world and bury our heads in the sand when awful things come our way. No, this means that we are NOT MOVED when these things happen because we are found in Jesus! Our life is hidden in Him and therefore, nothing that happens on this earth can shake us. We are founded on the Rock of our salvation. When you build something that’s on a rock, it has a strong foundation. It can’t be moved around when storms hit it. It’s consistent, steady, and will remain even after the storm has passed.

Jesus asks us to live a life that is solidly anchored on the rock so we are unshakeable, steadfast, and firm. We refuse to be moved because we know who we stand on.

How can you live this out in a practical way? Here are a few ideas:

  • Memorize key scriptures that will help you remain steadfast.
    • Bury yourself in the word. Maybe it’s a particular chapter that sticks out to you. Maybe it’s a certain verse. Read it to yourself again and again. Write it down in your prayer journal. Ask God to bring it to remembrance when you go through trials. Pray God’s word. Which brings me to the next point…
  • Pray God’s word.
    • When the trial comes, and it inevitable will, pray the promises of God over your life. The Bible says, “It is the same with my word.I send it out, and it always produces fruit.It will accomplish all I want it to,and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” – Isaiah 55:11.
    • When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert, He withstood by declaring the word of the Lord.
  • Don’t react the way you might want to. Refuse to.
    • The flesh part of us wants to react in a very, well, fleshly way. It’s our natural inclination as a human to panic, freak out, and think of the worst things! Trust me, this is coming from a professional freak-er out-er (God is continuing to work with me in this area, thank the Lord!), but we need to react in a way that honors God.
  • Remember that as believers, WE ALWAYS WIN.
    • The Bible reminds us that “… our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all… – 2 Corinthians 4:17
    • What we go through on this earth is temporary, fleeting, momentary. The pain doesn’t last forever. That’s a promise. What we go through on this earth is nothing compared to the eternal life we have in Jesus. Simply incomparable!

I write this to encourage others and for myself! Who doesn’t walk through trials? The question is – how will you handle it? Will you be someone who is moved by every wind that blows your way? Or will you be rooted and firm in Jesus? I choose Jesus.

The Importance of Retreating

The Importance

This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity and privilege to attend a retreat with my church. We arranged in advance for my mom to request some time off from work so she could watch the boys for us. The retreat was from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. We left Saturday at 3 pm and arrived home on Sunday at 3 pm. We traveled a few hours away to a mountainous area and had truly such an amazing time! I feel like we encountered God in a powerful way, experienced a time of rest, and were refreshed.

It was so nice being away from our normal responsibilities, from the tots, and from everything that demands our everyday attention. I missed the boys like CRAZY, but I firmly believe that happy parents equals healthy parents. This was such an essential time for us. It’s for this very reason that I believe it’s so important to take the time once in awhile to RETREAT. This can mean actually going away on a formal retreat or it can mean taking time to retreat from all of the demands and be still. Here are some reasons I think it’s essential:

  1. You need rest.

Jesus himself said,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” -‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I don’t know about you, but there are so many times where I am going and going. Sometimes I am going on empty! If I’m not rested, spiritually, physically, and emotionally than I have absolutely NOTHING to offer other people. If my life is to serve others, I need to do it at my best. So do it. Don’t be afraid to rest. Don’t be afraid to make the time to rest. Carve it into your busy life. It’s essential. If you can actually go away, I highly recommend it. If it means planning for a sitter months in advance, working something out with your job, I can promise you taking a few days to go on a retreat is well worth it. It’s worth the sacrifice of time.

2. It’s important to be still in a world that encourages constant motion and busyness.

Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” -‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act…” -‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Contrary to what the world screams in our faces, God whispers to us “Be still.” I take that as figurative AND literal. As in literally, BE STILL. It’s like if God is saying, “Would you just stop for a second? Could you stop for a moment and acknowledge who I am? Can you be still in my presence?”

This is God we are talking about. The answer is, or should be, yes. Stillness may cost us something. It might cost us our favorite television shows, our outings with our girlfriends, our “me” time. But we have everything to gain from stillness. Everything.

3. You will feel refreshed and encouraged.

One of the things I gained most from our retreat was feeling refreshed. Coming back from it, I felt like I could take on the world. After all, I had spent the weekend immersed in powerful teachings, worship, and His word without distractions.

I was encouraged by my leaders in so many ways. I was able to share some of my dreams that I hope to accomplish this year and what encouraged me the most was how much they believed in me. My Pastor’s wife especially. After I spoke with her, I felt like I could pretty much take over the world! I normally don’t have the opportunity to talk as much with the people at my church because I’m always rushing out on Sundays for the boys naps. I had such a great time.

Overall, if you think you can find a way to make it happen, I encourage you to find a way to go on a retreat! This can be a church retreat or simply a retreat where you have time alone with yourself or your spouse. Time to think, time to meditate, time alone. Time.

 

 

 

Being happy in any and every situation.

I haven’t blogged in a few days, it’s been a whirlwind around here. I wanted to blog about something that I’m in the process of learning, that has really hit home for me during my maternity leave especially:

Being happy in ANY and EVERY situation.

When I found out we were pregnant with twins, I went into a bit of a panic mode when I looked at my surroundings. A small, three bedroom, one bathroom, Cape Cod home. No dining room (a combined dining/living room area) and a galley kitchen. If you don’t know what a galley kitchen is, think about an apartment style kitchen. It’s narrow and about two people can fit into it max. A house that could easily fit into the homes all my friends had. A fixer upper that would need to be fixed up “immediately!” On top of that, a very crappy truck that seems like there was something wrong with it at every turn. (Funny side note – when I looked at carcomplaints.com our truck was ranked # 1 worst vehicle out there, isn’t that just wonderful?! So glad we were able to purchase a newer vehicle recently!!) I started to compare myself to everyone around me.

  • “Well ___________ has a four bedroom, two bathroom, two car garage with a swimming pool!!”
  • “Geeze, _________ just bought a brand new car!! We need to get in the game…”
  • Man, it seems like ____________ has so much more saved up than we do…how are we going to be ready for twins?!”

In other words, I would feel a little bit envious/jealous of what others had and started to put pressure on myself and my husband. I also started to feel anxious. “HOW ARE WE GOING TO FIT TWINS IN THIS HOUSE?!” I would ask my husband daily. We need to…and I would start listing everything we needed to do. Buy a new house, buy a new car, remodel this, remodel that, get a new dining set..and basically I started to just go a little bit crazy. My poor husband!! I would make myself unhappy because I wanted to keep up with Joneses (or in this era – the Kardashians!)…

But guess what? We didn’t buy a new house, we didn’t buy a new car in that moment…we did what we could and we simply made it work. Then, the boys were born. And life went on. All of the things that I saw as negative, I started to see in a positive light. I will give you an example of how my mindset started to change with my house:

  • The house is too small.
    1. Wow, with twins, I’m REALLY happy with our house size!! Less to clean up!
    2. I’m grateful for this reasonable mortgage! It’s less than what we paid in rent at our apartment! We can survive this maternity leave BECAUSE we didn’t get in over our heads!
    3. Because we have a reasonable mortgage, my hubby has the option of staying home with the boys full time in September!
    4. Someone out there is happy with LESS than what I have. I OWN my own home. There are so many people living in horrid, poverty, and yet I complain because my home isn’t “big enough?” Have you seen third world countries? Have you taken a glimpse at the staggering homelessness in our own country? Get it together lady!

    And I read this awesome verse in Philippians: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

It has been my anthem during these months. I can do ALL THINGS through Him who gives me strength. I feel so much peace in my life right now. Even with everything with my husband’s job! Remember how I was freaking out my last post? He went to the new store and his new manager is SO happy that he’s there. She has no issues about the days he needs off and has been pretty good so far. In fact, she has two daughters so she gave us a gate set and is giving us a swing-set for the backyard that she can no longer use. He still plans on leaving, but at least it gives us time to get some things in order for September. However, we both agreed that if for some reason things get crazy we will have to jump ship a bit early and just make it work. Thank you for those who prayed for us and offered wise words!

In the end, I think I have learned to truly appreciate what I have and to count every blessing. To complain LESS, and show more GRATITUDE. Because in the end, I feel like a blessed lady. 🙂

blessed