My Thoughts (literally)

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So it is confession time…..and I figured blogging might be my therapeutic way of dealing with it. ūüôā Because it seems sometimes when you share things, the weight is lifted and you feel much better. Plus I hope sometimes someone else can benefit from what I share.

It seems like I am always my own worst critic. Today was one of those days. I don’t think it would have mattered if I looked my best, was having a good day, etc. Nothing was satisfying me. My thoughts were all over the place, and honestly mostly negative. Being an introvert, I do a lot of thinking and processing through things. So my thoughts can definitely be a battle to control, especially when my mind is wandering, and I am not really aware of my thought process. When this starts to happen, internally I almost start beating myself up with my thoughts. I will obsess over the littlest thing that doesn’t matter. I get frustrated with myself for not measuring up to standards that are unreachable. My mood changes for the worse. I feel depressed, anxious, not good enough, misunderstood, crazy……I could go on and on.

This afternoon I began to really get annoyed with the way I was feeling. I was obsessing over what to wear, not content with any outfit I put on. I could also tell my mood was starting to control how I was treating my kids. I finally prayed and asked the Lord for help. Then a segment of bible verse popped into my head, but I couldn’t remember where it was at. I have been going through Philippians lately, so I started looking through that book. I came across Philippians 4:8, and this Is what it says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Oh how I needed to hear this today. And crazy to think I have been going through this book of the bible just now.

I love how Paul tells them, “one final thing.” I feel like he is saying this is important and don’t forget this, because it will be useful. Then he tells them “fix” your thoughts on these things. Which I literally googled. ūüôā Here is the definition that was given….

“fasten (something) securely in a particular place or position.” Or, “direct one’s eyes, attention, or mind steadily or unwaveringly toward.”

And then Paul lists what to fix our thoughts on, things that are “true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.” He also says, “think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” I seriously wonder how many times a day I actually think about things like this. I fully believe my thoughts are what can start me off in a good or bad direction. If I am not aware of what I am fixing my thoughts on, it can easily turn into a train wreck. My thoughts dictate how my day will go, choices I will make, opinions I will have, and how I react. How easy it is to have a small thought that may seem innocent, then planted in my head that can wreak havoc on my soul. This was the perfect example of what was happening to me today. Because I was not controlling where my mind went, I was trying to find my worth by how I thought I looked. But since nothing was good enough, changing 10 times would not solve my problem. It only made things worse.

I think today was a little bit of a wake-up call for me. I tend to go through the a lot of the day, not even trying to control where my thoughts go. And I believe it does affect my outlook on things, my relationship with the Lord and others, and how I live my life. Today, I wrote this verse out, and placed it on my mirror. I want it to be a constant reminder to be aware of where my thoughts are going. Because I want to think of things that Paul mentions in those verses. Something that is true, like how much the Lord loves me. Something that is honorable, like the sacrifice Christ made for me. Something that is right, like when we treat others like Christ told us to. Something that is pure, like how we as believers are seen because of what Christ did. Something that is lovely, like creation all around us. Something that is admirable, like when I see an example of another Christ follower that I want to be like. And something excellent and worthy of praise, which is everything about God Himself. I want these things to be on my mind, so that the things that I think about will overflow into my life. So that others can see Christ in me. So I don’t have to try and find other ways to satisfy my soul. Because if I focus my mind on the things this world tells me, it will only lead to destruction. My prayer is that I would focus my thoughts on the One who all the words in Philippians 4:8 describe. I hope that this resonates with others as well……

Purpose and What It Looks Like

Sometimes you think you know what the Lord wants for you, and then can somehow be completely wrong. But then He tells you something that makes you wonder why you tried it your way instead of His. That is how I came to where I am right now.

Staying at home with my kids right now is definitely where I mainly feel called to at this moment in my life. Even in the tough moments, there isn’t anywhere else I would want to be right now. But I know my kids won’t be young forever, so the planner in me wanted to get started preparing for the future.

A couple years ago, I thought I felt a strong urge from the Lord to get my masters in counseling. I have a heart for ministering to women in particular, and to see people be real and deal with problems in their own lives. Much of this stemming from areas that I have had to grow in, was what motivated me to pursue this. I thought it was an obvious choice to spend my time working toward this goal for my future. It would be such a great way to live out my calling when my kids were grown, and I would have more time. Seemed like the best option to me at the time…..

As I started taking courses, I really enjoyed learning again and it something to get me out of the house part-time. But as I got into my 4th semester, I started to panic a little. I could handle the classes, but now was the time when I would start supervised therapy as well. Not realizing how much extra time would need to be put in, I started to wonder how I was going to do it all. On top of me going to school, I still was at home with the kids, plus this was when Embrace was starting a 4th service. Life was getting a little too crazy. I thought and prayed about it and after two days of classes, I decided to put my education on hold and just only be home for now. I was so torn about the decision, but I didn’t want to lose the precious time that I have to make an impact on my kids while they are home. So as of February 2013, my schooling was put on hold.

Although I was definitely relieved to have less commitments, it was hard to give up on a dream I had. Not that it was totally taken away from me, because it is possible to go back later when my kids are older, but I felt like something that I was so excited about was ripped out of my hands. The one thing I had to bring some sanity to my life wasn’t there anymore. So I did struggle with feeling like there was no purpose at that point. Even though I feel like my calling to stay at home is so important, I struggle to believe the Lord has my best interests in mind.

I will admit, jealousy is something that can get ahold of me. My husband is so good at what he does, and I am so proud of him for following what the Lord has for him. But it definitely comes with sacrifice. It is hard to remember that we are called together as a couple to our church, not just him alone. Seeing the things that he gets to do, although it might not all be as glamorous as I think, sometimes makes it hard to be satisfied staying at home. And feeling like all I do is wipe rears, and clean can make me feel invisible, even though it might not be the truth. Somehow I thought if I was getting my counseling degree, it would be helping me achieve more purpose than what I was doing now.

I don’t remember specifically when, but there was a point when I was really sick of my duties at home, and I was just wondering why I didn’t get to live the purpose filled life as a student right now to achieve my calling. ūüôā I was really wrestling with the Lord, and I just kept on asking Him what He wanted for my life, and why did I feel so disappointed with not being in school. It was then that I thought I heard Him say quietly to my spirit, “Why do you think being a counselor is the only way you can make a difference?” It was like He had reached to the deepest part of my soul, and revealed an ugly lie that I was believing. Why did I feel like being a counselor is the only way I am going to make an impact? He is God, the Creator of all things. The One who has overcome death to be with me, and yet I thought I needed a counseling degree to somehow make myself good enough to make an impact? Huge reality check. I was believing in my own abilities, rather than His. That realization lead me to look at things completely different.

It is so interesting how things can line up exactly with what you are going through. I went to hear Beth Moore this weekend, and everything she said related so well with where I am. She talked about “Birthing Purpose” and used the story of Moses from Exodus 2. It was interesting how she mentioned that sometimes we know what our purpose is, but might try and do it by our own means, instead of the way God would have it. That is exactly how my situation has played out. I know what I am passionate about, but I think I know how I need to do it. Like His way isn’t good enough. I need to plan it on my own. Not that going back to school isn’t an option for the future. But I don’t think it is what the Lord has for me right now. Instead I am going to choose the way He has my purpose planned out instead, and see what that will bring.

This is why I am so excited for this fall. For a couple years now, I have had this deep longing to have a place where women can come together, be real, and learn to how to walk with the Lord more in everyday life. For me, I know I long to have deeper friendships with other females, and learn how we can come alongside each other for support instead of tearing each other down. So this fall I am going to start a small group at Embrace that will meet once a month on a Tuesday evening. Although it may not necessarily be small, I am hoping any woman from any walk of life will feel welcome to come. Unity is something that is hard to find I believe among women. We will have some sort of teaching for the first part of the group, and then after that we will break into small groups if needed and discuss what we have learned that evening.

There are a couple things I hope to accomplish specifically with this group…..

1. My hope is this would be a group where women feel comfortable letting barriers down, and share what is really going on. I feel a lot of conversations that take place during the day are sometimes just small talk. Although it isn’t necessarily bad, this specific group will be a safe place to feel like you can share things going on with you that you might not be comfortable sharing elsewhere. It will be somewhere that what is shared there, stays there.

2. As a group we will try and throw off being judgmental toward others. We all are sinful and struggle with something.

3. We will learn how to have more Christ-centered relationships with each other as women. I think things like jealousy, comparing ourselves to others, etc. can prevent us from coming alongside and encouraging one another. What if we could get past all these things and really feel what community is. I would love more of this in my life.

4. I hope we can learn to really listen and be slow to speak. Even learn to speak truth into someone else’s life that is grace filled.

5. Above all, that we would come away from this group closer to Jesus. Understanding more each time how much we are loved by Him. And continuing to grow in knowledge of this, so we can live radiating this love to others.

I am really excited about starting this group, and am praying the Lord uses it in a big way. It will start on Sept. 17th and be from 7-9pm or so. I am hoping to share the first night. Then the months following I hope we can get into some things that might not be dealt with in a normal setting with a group of women. Those things that don’t get talked about. Or really digging into the Word and seeing what it has to say about some of the things women deal with.

Although I might of been wrong about how the Lord wanted to use me for His purpose right now, I am excited for this direction that He is leading me in. Maybe I will go back to school someday, but for now I am pretty content where He has me. I am believing and stepping out in faith with this group. Believing that He has great plans for it.

What I learned from the ice storm……..

Some of the damage to our back yard, and the fence
Some of the damage to our back yard, and the fence

As you can see, last week was a little bit rough for us around here. ¬†I think that it definitely could have been worse, but in the midst of it when your power is out for days, damage to the yard, and not being able to ¬†walk ¬†around outside for fear of objects falling on you; it can get a little old. ¬†¬†But I really think the Lord used last week not only to make me aware of some things that I needed to learn, but also areas that I continue to struggle with and grow in. ¬†With that being said, here are some of the things I learned from my experience last week……..

 

1. ¬†I don’t know how anyone else deals with “trials” in their lives, but it is something I usually struggle with. ¬†Earlier in my life, if a situation came along that was going to be uncomfortable or trying for me, my usual tendency was to shut down. ¬†Emotionally I would become numb, because I hate that state of limbo I find myself in when things get tough. ¬†Basically I am a control freak, so I hate when things are out of my control, plus I never really learned to just “be” in a situation and not have a way to fix it. ¬†Considering it got to the point last week where I felt like I had no control of when I would get my power back on, or life would resume as normal, I didn’t know what to do with myself. ¬†My first instinct was to want to shut down all of my emotions because it was uncomfortable, and live in a state of numbness so I wouldn’t have to deal with anything. ¬†But I really feel like the Lord in the past couple of years has been showing me how to walk with Him during these specific times. ¬†A couple of things I have learned to do are to try to have a constant conversation with the Lord, and in a sense almost wrestle with the Lord through these trials. ¬† Having my raw emotions out on the table, and trying not lose contact with Him. ¬†Even though half the time I might be mad or¬†frustrated, continuing to try to make a conscious effort to include the Lord in my struggles has drawn me a lot closer to Him than just completely shutting down. ¬†Sometimes I want to scream, other times ball, or just try to fix it on my own. ¬†But I love when I get all of these things off my chest, and this peace comes over me that I can’t describe. Then even though I might not be where I want to be, I know that I am not alone in it. ¬†This has taken time to get better at, but I think I become better at it each time. ¬†There is just something healing about being real with the Lord, even though He already knows everything. ¬†It has been a huge struggle for me, but when I get to the “top of the mountain”, I look back and realize that I got through it, and learned something from it.

 

2. ¬†It is important to have friends in your life who know the real person you are, and can sit with you in your not so fun moments. ¬†A couple other things happened last week on top of all that the storm had brought with it, and I just got to the point where I just couldn’t take it anymore and I just let it all out! ¬†I have to admit, I am not the type of person that is okay with crying like a blubbering fool in front of people, but this time I just couldn’t help it. ¬†Even though there wasn’t much said I am thankful for my friend just being there with me in that moment, and letting me go a little crazy without judgment. ¬†I think that everyone needs someone like that in their life. ¬†Someone who can be there to walk along side you when you feel like you are at the end of your rope. ¬†Nothing even needs to be said, it is just the fact that someone is totally okay with you being yourself, and accepts you even in those moments. ¬†I am so thankful that the Lord has brought people like that in my life, even though I find it hard for me to find sometimes. ¬†I pray that I can be that person for others as well.

 

3. ¬†I hate asking for help. ¬†I am a very¬†independent¬†person, and hate to be a burden to others. ¬†But sometimes I will be the person helping others, and sometimes I am the person that needs help. ¬†That is what the body of believers is for. ¬†We were not meant to do life alone. ¬†We were created to have relationships with others, and help carry the burdens of others as well. ¬†Not that we rely on others for everything, but understanding that we can’t do everything by ourselves either. ¬†So don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept it. ¬†We were created to help each other, and live in relationships with one another. ¬†I am so thankful for the help we received last week.

 

4. ¬†Finally, despite everything that happens in my life…..the Lord is always faithful. ¬†He is always there. ¬†He always knows what I need, even before I do. ¬†He wants to walk through my life with me, not be held off at a distance. ¬†Because it is in these situations like this where I learn and grow the most. ¬†Not that I would want things like this freakish storm to happen all the time, but I appreciate what I went through after it has happened.

 

I am not sure what anyone else went through last week, but I know that I am a better person because of the experience. ¬†But still……there is no way I want to do it again! ūüôā

 

Pile of branches after the storm that were cleaned up from our yard.
Pile of branches after the storm that were cleaned up from our yard.

I am sorry…….

 

Those three words are one of the hardest for me to say at times. I have a hard time saying it, because I have thought it is almost like I am backing down. Not that I have a need to win all the time, but admitting defeat can be a hard thing to do. It is like it goes against my nature……like somehow I need to protect myself from getting walked over, or being vulnerable.

But as I have begun to say these words more, especially to my husband and kids, it has been quite the opposite experience. Learning to say it when I am wrong has given me almost a sense of freedom. Saying I am sorry does make me vulnerable, but it is not a bad thing. By saying those words, it helps me remember who I am, an imperfect person that needs Jesus. I can finally stop pretending to be who I am not, someone who is perfect. I can let Jesus be that for me. With Him, ‚ÄúI am sorry‚ÄĚ can be made into something beautiful and redemptive. I can let down my walls, and be who He created me to be despite the imperfections which I try to hide. Living in that kind of freedom is much better than the alternative.

Granted it isn’t easy all the time to admit when I am wrong, but I am getting there.

Some days…….

There are days like today when I long to do something else…….when it seems like everyone else has something better than I do. ¬†It was a hard day with kids today. ¬†Crazy, running, screaming, getting hurt, and struggling to find a quiet moment to myself. ¬†I love my kids, but there are times when my selfishness thinks I need more than what I have now. ¬†In all honesty, it is hard to be in the position I am as a pastor’s wife as well. ¬†I am so proud of my husband, and I know that the Lord has great plans for him and his ministry through the church. ¬†There is no better person for his job. ¬†I really do prefer to just blend into the background most of the time. ¬†Every now and then though I think it would be so exciting to get to experience what he does each week. ¬†And sometimes I wonder, when do I get to make a difference Lord?

The point of this post isn’t to complain about my struggle with jealousy and envy at times, but to be real. ¬†To share what the Lord is teaching me through all of this. ¬†As I was wallowing in self-pity today, I started to realize that He has me right where He wants me right now. ¬†Granted, I am really excited about the counseling courses that I am in now, and where it will take me in the future, but I need to understand the important responsibility I have right now. ¬†I am a wife to a wonderful husband who needs to be supported in the ministry he is in right now. ¬†It can be hard if you don’t have someone who “has your back.” ¬†I am a mom to three wonderful kids, and I have been given the responsibility of being the main person raising them. ¬†Something that I don’t take lightly. ¬†I want to show them what it looks like to walk with Christ each day, even including Him in the little details in life. ¬†And most importantly, I want to live my life in a way that resembles Christ to each person I come in contact with each day. ¬†It is hard to find any greater purpose than that each day. ¬†To reflect the one who has sacrificed so much for me……..

I hope this can minister to anyone else who might be feeling restless with where you are at right now. ¬†And if you are, take it to the Lord, and let Him show you how important it is that you are where you are at this very moment. ¬†I know it helps me to remember. ¬†Even with the things that can seem like they mean nothing at all, it means something to Him. ¬†This is something that I continue to learn each day. ¬†Remember to live your life for the one who gave His for all. ¬†And just think, some day when we see him face-to-face, I want to be able to hear the words, “well done good and faithful servant.” ¬†That will make everything that has seemed so meaningless in our lives, become more important than we can even imagine.

My Identity.

Being a woman is hard. ¬†There are many things about it that I love, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it is just hard. ¬†Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and think about the different things that I would want to change about my appearance. ¬†Or comparing myself to another woman, thinking about how I want what they have, or how I could be just like them. ¬†There are even times when my husband who I thought would meet my needs, disappoints me (this is not his fault, as it is unrealistic expectations I might have of him). ¬†When being a stay-at-home mom isn’t as glorious as I thought it would be. ¬†So many things, yet still none fill me.

Society doesn’t help this either. ¬†I don’t think there has ever been a time when something our culture values, has made me feel that much more important. ¬†It seems to almost have the opposite effect. ¬†This unending cycle of wanting the newest thing, keeping up with fashion, money, being skinny enough, showing more skin to attract more attention, or popularity. ¬†All these things just lead me back to the same place. ¬†An empty pit, where I have nothing but a desire for more things that mean nothing. ¬†

Why is it so hard to realize where my true identity comes from?  

I believe in Christ.  I believe that He was crucified for my sins, and rose again so that I could have a relationship with Him.  Even though I am the one that deserved the punishment, He took it for me instead.  HE LOVES ME!  How I want to understand this more, and let it penetrate into my soul.  I am now a child of God, the One who created everything that existed.  Do I believe this?  Not all the time.  I want to though.  What purpose my life will have if I live out this truth.  He made me in His image, each intricate little part of me.  My features, personality, abilities, and desires.  I am not exactly like anyone else.  I am worth something.  I am important enough that my God did not want to be separated from  me for eternity, so He sacrificed Himself.  That is how important I am to Him.  

I want to believe this and live it out in my daily life. ¬†That is my prayer this evening. ¬†So when I start to run to the things that are only temporary, I will remember where my true value comes from. ¬†I hope this resonates with someone else as well. ūüôā

“Faith does not operate …

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”

I love this quote. ¬†I have been reading a book by Bill Bright, and that is where I found it. ¬†I feel this really describes one of the reasons that I wanted to run a full marathon. ¬†I wanted to push myself to my limit. ¬†I definitely did not complete it on my own though. ¬†There was a point when I got to mile 15 or 16, and realized that my body didn’t feel like it had anything left to give. ¬†At that point, I had to pray for strength to finish the rest of the race. ¬†I had asked the Lord to be with me even before the race started. But this was a different point I was at now, where I had come to the end of myself, and needed some supernatural help to finish the race. ¬†It was definitely not something that I did on my own.¬†

I find this to be true in my daily life too.  A specific example would be taking care of my kids each day.  I get to the end of each day after putting them to bed, and am usually completely exhausted.  Not just physically, but emotionally some days as well.  When I live in this mode of trying to do everything on my own, I find I become completely frustrated with the way I parent during the day.  I find myself being short with the kids, irritated easily, anxious, and just not the person that I want to be.  I want my new habit each morning to be asking Jesus for His supernatural strength to carry out my daily life.  When I do ask the Lord to be present with me, I find myself able to be more like Him.  Even the tasks that seem like they mean nothing, become something that I am doing for Him.  I become more patient, loving, and not so focused on myself.  And I believe that seeing this in my life, will hopefully help my kids to know I am not a perfect person, but I have a relationship with someone who is.   

This is how I believe to live out this quote to the fullest. ¬†Realizing my limitations, and even in my daily life experiencing the supernatural power of Christ in my life. ¬†I may not have the power to do these things on my own, but when I ask for help, it is amazing to see the faithfulness of the Lord in my life. ¬†I want my life to be one that does not operate in the realm of “humanly possible” things. ¬†Even when it is just making lunch or changing a diaper. ¬†I want to see the supernatural each day of my life. ¬†That is where my faith begins. ¬† ¬†¬†

“And I am convinced that…

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God‚Äôs love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow‚ÄĒnot even the powers of hell can separate us from God‚Äôs love.” Romans 8:38

¬†I recently posted these verses on Facebook, but since the other day when I did a quiet time, they really have stuck with me. ¬†How much do I actually believe these words to be true? ¬†The fact that God’s love reaches me no matter where I am at, and what my circumstances are. ¬†His love reaches me. ¬†Nothing can separate me from it. ¬†I wish I lived my life out of the fullness of these verses, even a little bit of the time. ¬†Almost scary in a way to think like that. ¬†What would my life look like if I lived this way? ¬†

Another thought that has occurred to me a couple of times as well, is I fully believe that God wants to be involved in every small little detail in my life. ¬†No matter how minor I think that it may be, I believe that He wants to be included and cares about even the smallest things. ¬†It is not like God knows everything that is there already, even in the depths of our soul. ¬†But just to invite Him to be part of our daily lives, I believe there is such power in that. ¬†That is how I have found a deeper relationship with Him. ¬†The times of pouring out my frustrations and fears to Him while I am ¬†in the shower. ¬†Asking for strength when my kids are driving me crazy. ¬†Celebrating and thanking Him when a prayer is answered. ¬†It is in those times, I feel it is true, that His love reaches me no matter where I am. ¬†I pray that I would live my life each day, walking hand in hand with my Creator………

What to write…..

I am not even sure why I am doing this. ¬†I just thought it would be fun to start a blog! ūüôā ¬†Now, keeping up with it will be the hard part. ¬†As I enter my 30’s, I am really starting to realize how fast life is going by. ¬†Even though my life has not been perfect, I don’t think that there is anything at this point that I would change about how I got to where I am now. ¬†I have such a heart to see healing in lives of fellow believers, based on some of the experiences that ¬†I have had. ¬†And if I can even help one person, I feel like my struggle was worth it. ¬†Even to have a place to share things that happen in my crazy days as a stay-at-home mom. ¬†Having three kids, I have just decided to accept the fact that my life is going to be organized chaos for the next couple of years. ¬†But again, I would not trade this time for anything. ¬†Even if I have to change a diaper or two every day! ¬†Among the craziness of my life, I still find ¬†time to do some of the things I enjoy, like running, cooking, ¬†and shopping. ¬†With all that being said, we will see how this goes! ¬†ūüôā

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