Fully Experience…Deep Breath, Momma

I must jump like a frog from every couch or moving thing. I must ascend the tallest trees, towers, rocks with no help because I am the strongest. I have a compulsion to leap before looking from the highest heights; swing from anything that challenges me; touch as MANY things as my very small hands can manage and even lick them just to make sure they taste the way they appear.

Oh, by the way, when it looks like I’m doing this to you…

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I really feel like I’m doing this…

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It’s a hard balance as a mother. We want our children to be safe from all harm, stay our babies forever and never experience hurt, grief or fear. But, ironically, in conjunction with that, we want them to be strong and independent dreamers. We want them to aim for the mountain tops and let nothing stand in their way (Isaiah 41:10.)

I am one, and always have been, to see where a child takes one wobbly step and I, in turn (in my head), see them ten steps later rolling down the remainder of the steps. I have a natural knack for seeing a bleak outcome in these scenarios. It didn’t bother me before when it was with other people’s children because then I was just being “extra” cautious. It was almost laughable. But now, I have my own child for whom I am 100% responsible in every way. And I need to be so much more sensitive in the ways I am fostering her growth. My ways of watching for danger at every step and turn give almost a timid spirit to my very bold and independent child.  I am learning there is a difference in teaching your child to be cautious, but to also enjoy the adventure of life all around them.

When my husband and I became parents, it gave me a whole new thankfulness as to God’s plan in joining us together. My husband is my complete opposite. He has taught me how to help push our child to the limits and brink of what she thinks is possible. Sometimes as a mother I get nervous because I think, that is too high or that is too far. But, the confidence, boldness and independence I see burst through our child is not to be underestimated. Some of that comes naturally, yes (and oh man does some of that independence come naturally haha,) but some of that has been planted and nurtured in her soul by a loving, earnest father.

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Something my husband brought up the other day, that is very hard for me as a mother to think about is, one day our child will grow up and not need us anymore. We should desire that our children grow to be independent thinkers, bold dreamers and strong enough to stand up for their own beliefs. As much as I want my child to stay my little baby forever and protect her from every heartache, bump/bruise, fear, etc.- it is necessary. They are testing the limits of their small world and discovering there is much more out there. It is so scary for us as parents. We were designed to want to shield them…insert momma bear instincts!  But, sometimes we just need to take a breath, momma, and let them fully experience. Let them dream, leap, climb, test the boundary a little and slowly watch their spirits unfold.

 

 

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Outcry

I don’t think I will ever get my Monday Moving Music actually on Monday, but I’m trying to get closer. I came across this song last week and I have just meditated on it all day. It has been the outcry of my heart and I believe it needs to be the outcry of our church as a nation.

It is a call for us to individually come clean and purified before God as we cry out to Him. I think to often we, I, forget this important part of coming before the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Healer of nations and Savior of souls. Yes, Jesus has cleansed us of our sins and forgiven once and for all at the cross, but we need to come repenting and acknowledging the cleansing that has occurred, that has flooded over us by the power of the cross. And what a glorifying time that is, acknowledging where you have fallen so short and are so guilty, yet realizing Christ, in His magnificent grace, has made you completely holy and pure in the site of God. Let us long to grow to look more and more like the blameless bride He is coming for.

I think the chorus is by far my favorite part:

It’s the power of Your presence
That changes us
Your glory all around us
And we’re undone
You open up the Heavens
And fall afresh on us

I don’t know what more words I can add to that besides, wow! It is HIS POWER that changes us. It is His power, alone! His glory surrounding us leaves us undone and He gracefully opens up the Heavens to fall afresh on us. That is, should be, our prayer! There are so many alternative ways out there to find change, growth, help, empowerment, but we were all created to need and long for His power to change us.

The bridge of the song is my prayer for each of our hearts and for the church.

Holy Spirit… fill this heart again
Holy Spirit… burn like fire within

I pray that we individually will feel the fire of the Holy Spirit burn like a wild fire deep within us through the power of the presence of the Lord. And may the Holy Spirit fill our hearts again.

Kari Jobe never ceases to amaze me with the lyrics of her songs as being just very worshipful, honest cries out to the Lord for His glory to be felt and seen. I pray this song spreads for God’s glory, but much more than just the worship song, I pray the message behind it spreads. I know there are so many hurting in many different areas of life. Life is a rough uphill battle and sometimes it feels like you have no one fighting in your corner and no one hearing your cries. Might I encourage you to cry out to God in the midst of your storm even if it seems like “it’s just going as high as the ceiling” as people say. Fight against Satan with the word of God, the worship of God, the prayers of His people. There is supreme power in the presence of God. From the moment He made you, He fearfully and wonderfully made every part of you (Psalm 139:14) and He will complete a good (amazing) work in you (Philippians 1:6).

Finding My Place

Romans 12:3-8 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

A lot of us have done those tests that help narrow down what your spiritual gift(s) are. I love tests like that because I always need help narrowing things down. Even with that, I have two that are pretty dominant. Using your spiritual gifts brings fulfillment in service to God. We are all created with a different part to play. It is a cooperative play with beautiful individual pieces working together to form one amazing working body as the bible says. When we examine the scriptures comparison, it makes so much sense. When our body has all of the different parts working the way they were designed, it is a beautiful thing. It is beautiful when your arms are able to reach out and extend an encouraging hug; your legs able to walk with your child/grandchild up that mountain; your heart pumping the right amount of blood at just the right the second and so on. Then there is the alternative, when the cells in your body are attacking one another resulting in potential death; your legs slowly becoming too shaky to use and almost becoming as if they are no longer your own; your brain has now become an enemy and made even your most loved ones, strangers. When each body member is not performing its function, it creates strain on the other parts of the body and chaos.

I feel like this lesson is something I had learned awhile back. But, it’s funny how God teaches you lessons then reteaches with a little twist to remind you, hey, you don’t have this figured out, dude! It’s just like part of verse 3-“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought”. Throughout the last year with the pain and reduced activity, I have not been able to live out my spiritual gifts the way I had or planned too. The key words being-the way I had planned and “my” spiritual gifts. I had to learn to live out my spiritual gifts differently and serve in a new way.

I have always been an “action” type person. I am going 24/7 and if I’m sitting still then I feel like I’m doing something wrong.Image result for funny for 24/7

I applied that to how I served God and subsequently others as well. That was until God stopped me in my tracks. So, you have a choice, either stop serving until things are in pristine circumstances again or adjust and grow. We usually have a picture of how things are “supposed” to go and then God has the actual canvas laid out. When we truly surrender ourselves to being used in any way that He plans then we can sincerely be used in the body of Christ.

The gifts that I have really been focused on now are service, by prayer, and encouragement. I struggled with prayer, at first, as if sitting back and praying for someone rather than being present serving was somehow not enough. Service has always been one of my spiritual gifts, but it has been more in a physical capacity. So, I had to adjust my thoughts in this area. When it got down to it and I really took a hard look, (Psalms 139:23-24), I had to realize that I was really thinking of myself “more highly than I ought” in a sense. When we pray, we are crying out for God to move in a person’s life, a situation, a crisis, etc. We are interceding on someone’s behalf in the name of Jesus who has the power to move Heaven and Earth; speak and heal; and to dry every tear. But, I thought “my presence” would mean more than that? You see where I’m going with that??? It’s not to say that physically serving is not Incredibly important. We are called to be the hands and the feet of Christ. But, at the times when we cannot physically be there or in any case really, we are called to pray. God is supremely powerful and He wants to hear us cry out to Him on our behalf and on the behalf of others. It is such a service that I think we forget about.

I have always found music to be an encouragement to me. God has always used the words in songs to really lift me up, convict my heart and motivate me at the different times I needed it. There is something about encouragement that just gives you the strength to keep going and climb to new heights.

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God has really given me a heart for this. I have realized through these trials that you don’t have to have everything figured out yourself in order to encourage another. You don’t even have to “feel” encouraged yourself necessarily in order to encourage another. God will give me a scripture, a song, a quote, anything that I can pass on to another. As a side note, I never share unless I feel like He is leading me too. Even then sometimes I hold back because I start to think well maybe they will think it is a nuisance, I’ll seem to preachy, etc. But, those are the times I know Satan has in turn used me to block a message that someone may have really needed. The times I have resisted that, I have had people say, man I really needed that. It is never something that I feel I did on my own because it is always something that I wait on God to prompt my heart for. I say these things not to try to sound proud in any way. I say it because it is something that I do in order to keep myself humble. I struggle with the tug-a-war of wanting to be used by God and then sometimes feeling like I somehow did something great. Therefore, I try to build as many caution tape barriers as I possibly can and pray like crazy that God will guard against it. So, that is one of my caution tape barriers. I don’t send an encouragement out unless I feel the Spirit prompting. I feel as though if I began to do it without the Spirit leading me, then I would start to want to take credit for it. Then it becomes something done not out of worship and glory to God, nor out of service, but about me.

I am slowly learning that through every circumstance to consider it joy just like James 1:2-6 says about trials. Because it is producing perseverance and growth in ways that would not have happened without the struggles. I do not enjoy the trial, nor am I enjoying the current trials we are going through, but I am so thankful that God is teaching me who He is through it. I have to cling to it. And I refuse to remain idle. I will serve, thrive and help build his kingdom in any way that He gracefully sees fit in the process. All too often, we (I) get bogged down in our struggles and forget that there are so many around us that are drowning, trying to cling to any life preserver in sight. We can use the gifts He has faithfully given us, through His grace, to help the people around us. No matter the difficulties and trials you are facing today, find your strength in Christ. Hold on to His promises and meditate on them. Then find your place to use your gifts He mercifully gave through His grace. Even if you have to adjust based on your physical condition, I urge you to pray. I urge you to find your place in the body of Christ. All members of the body are needed. If your member has changed a little based on your physical/mental condition, grief, finances, etc., find your new member and start now.

Perfect Mommy

It’s amazing the amount of weight that we, as mothers, bear on our shoulders.

I love Christmas time because you get to see all the family pictures, newsletters and posts about what is new in the lives of people who are close and those you have lost touch with. It is a blessed time getting to read about all the adventures, see the new family additions, cute dress-up clothes, etc. I love it!

It is also a time of self-analyzing that I know we don’t always do intentionally. We look at everyone else’s accomplishments as mothers whether it be number of “picture-perfect” children, financial status, or how picturesque the family looks in the photos and think-what have I done wrong and where have I fallen short?  Or, why didn’t I get started on Christmas cards sooner this year?! It’s amazing the amount of weight that we, as mothers, bear on our shoulders. It is not because anyone else necessarily placed it on there, but because we have a vision of how great our children’s lives should be and that the sole responsibility of their happiness, healthiness, and ability to amount to greatness rests in the palms of our hands.

I have bore this responsibility heavily lately with the inability to be the mother that I envisioned for my child. There are days where I see it as okay and have accepted this season in our lives. Then there are others days, most days, where I see it as a handicap my daughter must bear as well. It is unfair, I want to scream and cry as loud as my soul and body are able. We don’t have a “Pinterest” schedule where we awake, do crafts, school time, paint some more, then finish the day up with more outside playing. There are days where that can be done, but it is not typical. Will she be at a disadvantage growing up this way? Will I be the cause if she doesn’t reach the office of President of the United States?

We all have our battles, whether it be a physical limitation, there’s never enough time, we feel like we work too much, etc. I don’t know that I have ever met a mother that truly feels, oh by golly I’ve got it-my kids are going to be amazing because I am the best, did everything right, I am perfect. We all struggle with feeling like we have to strive just a little bit more to achieve perfect motherhood so that our children will be alright.

Those thoughts brought me to this Christmas and thinking a lot about the manger. We were striving (there’s that word again) to get my daughter to truly understand the meaning of Christmas is all about the manger, not the Christmas presents. But, coincidentally enough, as I sit back and think about all my striving, I go back to that manger. Since the garden of Eden when Eve and Adam sinned, we have never been enough on our own. And that’s a tough pill to swallow…I’m a perfectionist! But, our miracle came that Christmas morning when Jesus came to earth. He came to live, die and rise again to be enough for each and every one of us.

I remember praying the night before my first spinal surgery as I was scared out of my mind. It was routine to everyone else, except me. I prayed that night that I would be able to give my child up to God, no matter the outcome. It is a prayer I have to pray often. It is not easy to “give your child up” even though He is the one from whom the gift came in the first place (interesting thought). He is the one who can care and raise up a child, lead and direct wiser than any of us. Yet, we want to be in sole control of it all and think if we aren’t-chaos ensues. That Christmas morning, when Jesus came it changed everything. He has saved me and given me power that I so desperately lack on my own. He has my child’s best interest at heart because He is her Father as well, looking on with an even greater love I can’t begin to understand. His grace, mercy, wisdom, power, and so much more are more than enough for us both. So, take a breath mommas! And don’t forget who is truly holding us all.

Strength

The past few days have been rough for me. I met my new doctor since we’ve moved to a new area that will deal with the pain portion of my health. The impression I got from our short visit was that he is quite proud of his accomplishments and has no time to get a history on patients. I left with no evaluation being done, no pain score inquiry, no real questions about my history, and lots of unanswered questions about where to go from here. I feel as though I’m past that point now. I need someone that is invested in seeing where I am and helping to get me back to the best version of myself physically. I’m so ready and I want to skip whoever does not want to be involved in the process. I’ve grown too far past that point. I left the doctor feeling frustrated and a little hopeless. This appointment had been like a beacon of hope shining to further advance my recovery and hopefully continue to heal back to maximum strength. Then to be in so much pain at the appointment only to be spurned was a little less than settling.  On the way home my mom drove because of how much pain I was in and as we were talking she made the simple statement of “you will have to give it over to God.” It was in that moment that I took almost a gasp of air. I thought, why didn’t I do that immediately?  Throughout our struggles God has shown His strength, grace and blessings more times than I could ever count. So, why is that not always my first thought? It’s as if I think my anger or frustration will somehow change the situation.

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The day that followed was filled with even more pain. It was beyond a point of manageability. I was at a point that I had not been in awhile. I began to just sit out on the porch and stare at God’s beautiful creation. I started to just cry out loud out to God to take it all away. I am tired. I am tired of the constant struggle. The pain is just too much. I know God can take it away if He chooses, so why not? Then it was as if he stopped me somehow. I honestly don’t know how but He gently touched my heart so swiftly. Staring at HIS creation, I was reminded of all HE has done for me. Jesus came to earth and surrendered Himself so that He would suffer the entirety of God’s wrath instead of me, instead of you. I cannot imagine nor do I even want a glimpse of feeling just a part of God’s wrath. There are times to grieve and times to dwell in the sadness of your pain, disability, loss, etc. But, this was a time where God was saying yes, I acknowledge your suffering, BUT look at what I have done for you. Look at who I really am and focus more on that than your suffering. God brought back the verse of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light and temporary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” I realize the context of this chapter is persecution but these verses, especially verse 17, God gave me about 1 1/2 years ago and they have never left my heart. It is so applicable. So, my prayer is now that the Holy Spirit will guide my prayers. I don’t know exactly what to pray for. I feel like relief from the suffering isn’t the right prayer at this time for me personally. That my focus should be more on deepening my walk with Christ. God has revealed himself so much through the suffering and continues to that I can’t help but be thankful in ways for the suffering. However, the pain continues to be almost intolerable. So, that brings me back to how to pray. I know God knows my heart and knows I want the pain to end like yesterday (or years ago ha!). I trust that He knows the way to wade through it all.  Through my life-my struggle, this blog, anything I do-I do it because I want God to receive all the glory and to encourage anyone else struggling that He is the only source of true, constant help through it.