Beautiful Things

The other day I was driving and had all four kiddos in the car and heard the most beautiful conversation between my boys.

Michael said, “Daniel, will you be my best friend?”

Daniel responded, “umm…yes!”

The two of them proceeded to make up some crazy game to play and their laughter filled the car, even if it was brief (they are brothers after all).

I was immediately caught up in that moment. How incredible it was to hear my children being so civil with each other. It was a nice and needed reminder to take those moments, savor them and cherish them.

In the midst of this crazy life of raising little humans and working in ministry and trying to be the wife I’m called to be it’s easy to get caught up in the task at hand that I forget the people I am called to love.

“He made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Life is beautiful, once you are able to change your perspective and see those moments as blessings. We tend to focus on what’s wrong and instead we need to change the lens in which we look at life.

Choose to see the good and beautiful in everything you do. It’s not always easy, but make the effort.

Holiday Traditions & Memories

I remember the holidays as a kid and how much fun they were. I remember cousins running around, aunts and uncles cracking jokes and laughing, great food, and playing cards.

As we head into the holiday season for the third year away from my family, there begins a sense of longing for holidays like I remember. I want my children to have similar memories of holidays, I want them to love this time of year and love being around family.

The reality is my children will not have memories of the holidays like I do, those are my memories. But my children will have memories, and it’s up to me to create a place where memories like the ones I have can be created.

We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun

I am learning that my children won’t remember how much effort I put into their halloween costume or how many (or how big) their Christmas gifts are. The things my children will remember is the experience and how it made them feel.

It’s up to me to create those memories with my children; to have fun and realize they are what matters most and they are my family.

This holiday season have fun, make memories, and choose joy.

Is it ok that I’m ok?

As a CHD heart mama I’ve found myself searching for normalcy in this new area of my life; searching for others like me, who have a precious heart warrior. 

It’s a strange thing to feel so alone and then realize you are in fact not alone, at all. 

There are people all around me who have either experienced heart surgery or know someone that has been through this process. 

At the end of the day I count my blessings but I can’t help but think, is it ok that I’m ok? 

I’ve been waiting for that moment when my emotions well up and spill out uncontrollably. I’ve been waiting for that moment when it all catches up to me. 

But it hasn’t. I feel ok, actually I feel like my cup is overflowing. Is that ok? 

I realize there is not one way to process things. There is only the expectations we place on ourselves. I am who I am. And I am overflowing because I have an amazing God who has filled me and taken care of me. 

Even though the world says I need to be taken down and torn apart because of this season I am in, I don’t have to. I am strong because my God is strong. 

Our circumstances have a way of making us stronger. 

So is it ok that I’m ok? Absolutely. 

Don’t Forget You

As a mom it is so easy to fall into the habit of constantly giving, constantly focusing on taking care of everyone.

But don’t forget about you! 

I am guilty of looking to the well being of everyone around me without making sure I am ok. I take care of everyone and empty myself until I reach my breaking point. 

When I reach that point, in all honesty I am not truly taking care of everyone the way I think I am. 

I am learning to take time for myself. Do the things that fill me up, that give me energy, that I find fun. 

If I don’t take care of myself first how can I do everything God has called me to? 

So what is it that you do for yourself? The key is it has to be something no one else can control, something just for you. 

It takes discipline and an understanding that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself and have fun. The people you take care of, that depend on you need the best version of you. 

Enjoying Today 

It was one of those days, I was standing in my kitchen listening to my two year old scream at the top of his lungs because I told him he couldn’t have something. 

I found myself thinking of when would he grow out of his terrible tantrum days. 

I was exhausted and my ears hadn’t stopped ringing all day. 

Later that night my daughter woke up crying, because she couldn’t find her pacificier. 

As I sat in the rocking chair holding my not so little one year old, time seemed to have paused. 

I looked down at my baby, perfectly resting in my arms I realized I needed to savor the moment, the season. 

I can get so caught up in moving forward, what’s on the agenda for the next day, things I need to get done, etc. that I forget each season has a purpose. 

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬ ‭

Imagine if we lived each day knowing it has a purpose. How much more intentional would we be to find God working in and through the fabric of our lives?  

If I get too consumed with the next season I will miss the blessings of my current season. 

So enjoy today. Find those moments when time seems to pause and savor therichness  of your season. 

Balance

As a mom working in ministry I am constantly learning about balance.

One thing about balance that I have learned is that it’s not always equal. Different seasons require more than others.

Having a balanced life doesn’t mean equal amount of resources given to each area at the same time, it means understanding the ebb and flow of each season.

Let’s think of it this way: Imagine a tight-rope walker. They walk a thin line, using a pole (sometimes) to help keep their balance. The pole and the weight distribution is not always even. The pole moves slightly from one side to another, yet the person is always right in the middle.

The same goes for life. Each season requires different amounts of our resources (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally).

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

In order to achieve a healthy balance in our lives we need to understand our priorities and the demands of each season we are walking. It’s important to be realistic with our understanding of the seasons. What may seem like a high demand emotionally, physically it may not be feasible.

The best check for our balance is our daily quiet times with the Lord. If we make Jesus our priority He will direct our steps and therefore control the balance we have in our lives.

The only way I can “balance” being a wife, having four children, and working in ministry is having my priorities set and a clear understanding of the season I am in.

Joy

James 1.2

I love those moments when a scripture I’ve read a hundred times comes alive. It’s like a beautiful unveiling of something God wants to reveal to you.

I’ve read the book of James more times than I can remember. This time, however, right out of the gate I found myself staring at the phrase, “count it all joy.”

What did that even mean? There I was, in the midst of a daunting trial that I had no control over and I needed to count it as joy?!

I knew the end game. James tells us choosing joy would produce steadfastness. But what did that even mean?

The New Living Translation says to “consider it an opportunity for joy,” so that my “endurance has a chance to grow.” (Stop and think about those words for a second).

Everything I thought I understood about that verse went to another level of understanding.

We endure in trials because we change our view of the trial from some scary mountain that we would surely die (or at the very least be seriously injured), into a mountain that we could climb and shout for joy at the top.

I wanted that joy. I wanted to seize the opportunity. I wanted to give my faith a chance to grow. I wanted to make that choice.

It’s all about perspective. Every trial we face, we have a choice. We can choose to grow and allow ourselves the opportunity to experience joy. Or we choose to let the trial overtake us and defeat out joy.

The choice from the outside seems obvious. Of course we choose joy. However, in the midst of the trial, at the base of that dark, scary mountain it’s not so easy. It’s a fight.

But the joy that comes in the morning is so worth the fight! Stay strong and take that opportunity and grow. Count it ALL joy!

Rest

I have four littles under four. That is a recipe for crazy, I know.
At the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I yearn for silence. I don’t want to be touched. I have no more words.
I am in the midst of a season that demands so much of me; physically, spiritually, and emotionally. So it’s understandable I find myself run down and out of energy, having nothing left to give anyone.
It was only a few months ago I felt that utter exhaustion washing over me, holding me down. It was a fog I couldn’t seem to shake, despite my attempts to refuel my mind and soul. I spent time with the Lord everyday, but seemed I couldn’t rest enough to fill that energy deficit.
Rest. Slow down. Focus. Recharge.
Soon enough I found myself in a place where all I could do was rest; all I could do was be still and turn to the Lord. Time stood still and the only thing I knew to do was turn to Jesus.
Despite the unknowns and uncertainty I felt a peace and a recharging of my soul I had never experienced before.
I reached a point when the only way to keep going was to stop.
The demands of my life seemed overwhelming, but God was there and in Him I had all the strength and energy I needed.
Sometimes life’s circumstances force us to slow down and refocus on what is really important. Seasons will ebb and flow, some will demand more of me than others. But through it all, my crazy circus in tow, I find rest in Jesus.
I find rest when I surrender the façade of control I think I have, and focus on the One who truly is in control.
Psalm 62.5

God is Faithful

Pastor Mike Ayers

Our lives are full of unknowns; we are not guaranteed tomorrow. But God is faithful!
My world is so different now. The past month has been one of the toughest months I’ve ever gone through. But it has also been the most spiritually fulfilling and encouraging months I’ve ever gone through.
I believe without a doubt that God has prepared me for such a time as this. I have experienced first hand the truth of how much God prepares us for any season we will face. I would not have remained above the water this past month if I had not spent years diligently and intentionally spending time with the Lord.
Through this season I am learning so much more about who I am and who God has called me to be. I am learning more about the importance of prayer and quieting ourselves before the Lord. I am learning lessons God has slowly been showing me and through this season the words of the Lord came alive in my soul.
God chose me to be Abigail’s mommy and He has been preparing and pruning me to be the mommy she needs. God is faithful; I have no doubt.
Where is God requiring faithfulness from you? God asked me to keep walking one step at a time, all the while reminding me 
He was there to walk through the fire with me. God is faithful.

Hope Continually

In the middle of busy, crazy, stressful seasons it’s so easy to become distracted as the feeling of hopelessness rises within.

Just when we feel like we may be getting our feet underneath us it seems we get hit again, then again, and again.

But all is not lost. All is not hopeless. When things are not going the way you’d hope they would go, it’s important to stay mentally aware.

We are in a fight. But just because it’s a war zone does not mean there is not beautiful blessings all around us. And we are not alone.

Psalm 7114

I chose to hope; God is constantly showing me the family I have all around me. There are so many people around me who bless me, probably more than they know.
 They are the reminder of the hope that I have and the reminder to keep fighting for that hope. To fight the good fight.
In every season we go through, we have a choice to make. Will we choose to hope? Will we choose to hope, despite all the odds that may seem to be stacked against us?