Stymied

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I have a love for words and phrases. I’ll read something and then have to write about it. I read the word, stymied, in a book recently and thought it was pretty neato! I probably liked this one because it reminded me of Stymie from the Little Rascals. I love his quote,

You only meet your once in a lifetime friends… once in a lifetime.

The boys all had a falling out because of a girl, and the fear of losing their buddy. It reminds me of the friends I used to have and the friends I have now. The good friends, the bad friends, and the best friends and begs me to ask why we are or are not friends anymore.

Stymie means to hinder another from reaching a set or planned goal. That’s not what friends do, is it? Stop each other from reaching our goals? No, it’s not what we should do as friends, but sometimes it’s exactly what we do, intentionally and unintentionally.

Sometimes we don’t like when our friends are successful, especially if we aren’t benefiting or reveling in our own success. We don’t think it’s fair that our highs and lows aren’t coinciding with theirs and we sometimes lose great friendships over it.

Maybe we are failing at all the things while our friend seems to be bounding up ladders at work, school, life, or in social circles. So we try to bring them down to our level out of fear. We don’t cheer them. We don’t encourage them. We belittle them and minimize their efforts. We start to pick them apart and they begin to lose their pieces. We make them think they’re off track, that they’re missing their marks, and that they are less than they really are. And then they act less, then they start losing their grip and slipping down. We’ve intentionally stymied our friend. We broke a thriving person out of our own selfishness and lack of trust in God’s unique path for our life.

Unintentionally stymieing however is something I’m most often guilty of. I hate to admit this because now you’ll all know! And I’ll be held accountable. But I have the absolute best friends and I really want to keep them! We tell each other our hopes, dreams, goals, and struggles and hurts. We share it and bare it all. But when it comes time for me to give advice, I hold back. I know where my friend sits and I know where they want to be, but out of fear, I sugarcoat the truth of what they need to do to get there. I know that the truth might be really hard, that it might hurt, that it might mean they have to change something and I’m afraid to say it out loud even though I know it could make their mountains move.

Today I feel the weight of this word, stymie and know that it all comes down to another word, fear. We are afraid of our failures, afraid of a little grit on the way to our goals, and afraid of words that need to be said.

“These are conversations that need to happen; this is discomfort that must be felt…we have to acknowledge that our lack of tolerance for vulnerable, tough conversations is driving our self-sorting and disconnection,”                                                                                    -Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness.

We fear a life where plans may not make sense, but that fear can lead to losing ourselves and losing our once in a lifetime friends.

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/ecc.4.9-10.niv

Being Real & People Who Don’t Understand

A friend posted this quote from The Velveteen Rabbit on her Instagram a long while back and I have tried to put into words how it’s made me feel and I just haven’t been successful. Little does my friend know, but it made me stop, take a breath, and have a good cry. The Velveteen Rabbit was a stuffed rabbit that was turned into a real rabbit through feeling love from his child owner.  The child becomes sick and all his toys from his room must be burned, including the rabbit.  But love saved the rabbit from being burned with the other toys and gave him the freedom to join the real rabbits in the forest. This made me think of my God loving me enough to save me from death, and offering me a new life if I only show his love to others. If I only am real with others.

Being real, like really real, is not an easy undertaking for anyone. That’s why we all don’t try it. It’s so much easier to sweeten up reality and delete words and retype them a hundred times until they say the perfect thing everyone wants to hear. We all want to just hang with the cool kids like we’ve belonged there the whole time.

But I’m just not a cool kid no matter how hard I try. I have never felt the sureness of truly fitting in with the crowd. Ever.  It always feels forced and awkward.  Some people just don’t seem to get me and that just has to be fine, but it hasn’t always been.  It actually will eat at me and make me cry and angry and question my whole heart and mind and face and clothes and how I mother and how I speak and how I write and how I live. But maybe they are never meant to understand me.  Maybe I just have to keep on loving them anyway.

Loving people that don’t love like you is real hard. Loving people that don’t show love is hard. Loving people that don’t love themselves is hard. Loving people that don’t love Jesus is hard. Loving people that only love themselves is hard. Loving people is exhausting. Your eyes get tired of looking for the good, and your arms get tired of reaching out and wrapping around people that may never do the same for you.  But love is real.  Love is the most real thing you can do for another person. Love is what we are here to do, what we are called to do because of what love did for us, and love is the only thing that will save us from ourselves.

Love is Jesus upon a cross, held there by the sins of people that struggled to love. People that look a lot like you and me.  We struggle to love and feel loved because we are real human. We want things to go our way, make sense, and just go about our day. So when we meet people that love for real we think there must be something wrong with them, they must have some other motive, there is no way their feelings can be real.  Who would love like this, expecting nothing in return?  Who would give up their time and hearts and selves like this, only to be scarred and burned? Love can feel a lot like hurt and look a lot like work.  But I think I’d rather be real and love the best that I can than be who I’m not and never hold Jesus’ nail-scarred hand.

John 13:34

1 John 4: 7-8, 19-21

Matthew 5:43-48

Boots on the Ground

“Fellas, we gotta have boots on the ground.” My father in law likes this phrase, and he uses it to encourage his employees to seek out new customers in new areas. It’s always stuck with me, so I decided to apply it to myself. Get my own boots on the ground.

In the military boots on the ground means ground troops who are on active service in a military operation. It makes me think of my Marine brother stepping off of military planes in each deployment, and troops driving through cities looking into faces that sometimes seethe with hate. The troops aren’t always physically fighting, but they are actively there and ready to go. They are focused on the job. They are aware of their surroundings, but not distracted by them, and they are prepared to take on whatever comes at them. They have boots on the ground.

When I woke up this morning I took a minute to think about the hard things I feel called to do in the coming year, and the fear started to creep in. Go back to school, write books, speak, sing, let go of old things, take hold of new things, be more of myself, and continue to grow in faith.  It’s going to be a fight to stay motivated, stay focused, stay inspired, be vulnerable, and stay in God’s word. It’s going to be a battle of pushing through the ugly struggles, dodging life’s bullets, and turning my face from distractions that might look like the way out of the war zone. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be hard because it’s going to be so good, and so worth it, and so hoped and prayed and wished and worked for. I shouldn’t be afraid of this, yet here I am letting the lies fear conjures in a person echo in my ear.

I brushed off the thoughts and I got out of bed with both feet on the floor to began my day like any other day.

But today was different, the worried thoughts kept coming, but the fear didn’t stay.  Reminders of hope and courage and faith popped up all day long. Reminders of God’s love for me in a friend’s message of encouragement, reminders of what he’s already done for me all over the faces of my children, reminders of the the remarkable places he’s taken me, reminders of what he’s brought me out of, and reminders of the way he’s leading me with every step right now.  He reminded me that I don’t have to actively fight these battles in my life.  I just have to let God actively be there and be ready to go when he calls me.

I gotta have boots on the ground.

I am Martha

I wrote this post almost 2 years ago, but it still feels true today. I’m still fighting to be Mary in a Martha Mindset. But I’m seeing the beauty a little clearer now. There is freedom in letting go of some of the things that are holding on to me. I’ve laid down a few things this year. Saying goodbye is hard. But now I get to sit at Jesus’ feet and just wait, just breathe, just trust that God has my next move. I turned 30 years old today and I needed to read these words again to start this next season of my life.

I am Martha, running around trying to guarantee my worth and everyone else’s happiness.”- www.shereadstruth.com

I read this phrase in the She Reads Truth devotional, and it hit me in just the right way so that I could see my struggle and the things it’s keeping me from.

I struggle being Mary in a world where I’ve always been Martha.


Luke 10:38-42
At the Home of Martha and Mary
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

See Martha saw the need for the table to be set and the food to be made and to
MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY.

But Mary saw the real need, JESUS.  Mary set aside the busy life stuff, and saw the importance of sitting at Jesus’ feet so she might hear the words he had for her.

The calling on my life to be a sharer of God’s word has grown stronger and more difficult this year. Before, when I felt like he was just calling me to write words on a page, that wasn’t so scary. But now that I’ve felt the calling to share the words he gives, it gets messy. That’s when I become Martha. I go over and over the things I write, not trusting that they are from him, so they are good. I set the words out into the world and then worry about what everyone thinks of them and thinks of me, not trusting that they are from him, so they are good. Not trusting that I am obeying, so God is being glorified. Not trusting that the acceptance of others amounts to nothing at the end of my life when I’m face to face with Jesus trying to explain why my love of people and acceptance is greater than my love of obeying him.

My biggest ugliest struggle is the time, thought, and emotion I put into pleasing other people. With this struggle, there comes a time when you just lose your ever loving mind because some people just CANNOT be happy.
I have to stop letting my concern with other people get in the way of my ability to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to what He is saying.


I want to be Mary. I want to just drop my need for order and wanting to have everything put together all the time. I want to ditch my desire for acceptance from EVERYONE. I want to trust that God is fully able and doesn’t need my assistance to run his show. I want to be Mary and sit at Jesus’ feet. I want to be Mary and hear what God has for me.
I want to be Mary and know that acceptance from God is all I need.


So let me tell you something really beautiful. WE  ALREADY HAVE HIS ACCEPTANCE.  

All of us.

He accepted us when he sent his son to die on a cross for us. He accepted our sins and paid them in full before we were even brought to life. And all he wants is for us to be like Mary. To sit at his feet. To wait on him. To trust him. 

We all have Martha moments, but life is much more fulfilling when we learn to be Mary.

 

When was the last time you felt seen?

When was the last time you felt seen?

Last weekend I got to be apart of a ladies retreat with a cousin who I also get to call friend, and a few ladies that I barely knew. We are women, we know how to talk, so conversations instantly started flowing. I’d brought along some conversation cards for table talk, but we probably didn’t even need them to open up.

We got to know each other quickly and by Saturday evening we were able to share hard truths.

This question was asked as we sat around the dinner table,

“When was the last time you felt seen?”

I wish I could have bottled up the honesty and vulnerability in all of our answers because it was absolutely beautiful and genuine. We saw each other for where we each had been, who we were in that moment, and who God was leading us to be. Whether we had felt seen recently or not, around that table, we were all looking into each others hearts.

Now I’m home to the realness. Actually, autocorrect just wanted to correct realness to real mess and I kind of like that better. I’m home to the real mess of normal everyday life of mommin, workin, runnin, and overthinkin my little heart out. And I wonder, does anyone see me? And do I really see anyone?

Sometimes I don’t think I give people the chance to see me, or the opportunity to show their true hearts to me. I’ve built strong walls and hung up my pretty painted pictures that look nice at a glance, but don’t show the scuffs and scratches that walls do after a life has really been lived in them.

Without any bumps and nicks in the paint I feel like I’ve become unapproachable, intimidating, and closed off to people in my life who want to be seen for who they are or who truly want to see me.

So I want to be more authentic. I want to show my wear, bear my dents and divots, and display the real mess picture of my life. I want the freedom to be seen.

But I also want to grant that freedom to the people around me. Aside from God, we are all we’ve got. So let’s start getting each other. Take off our everyday masks and open our eyes to the peace found in genuine vulnerability.

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Simply Tuesday

Simply Tuesday.

Tuesday’s are sometimes just simple days. It’s on Tuesday that I’m not rushing to catch up from the weekend.  It’s on Tuesday that I’m not hurriedly trying to get my work done before the week is over. It’s just Tuesday.

On this Tuesday I took my time feeding Conrad his breakfast, watching Charlie love on him and squeeze him…maybe a little too tight 😬 I watched them play, listened to Charlie sing her made up songs, snuggled Conrad as I worked at my desk, stole kisses from Charlie each time she came into my office, and just thanked God for these tiny gifts.

I still can’t believe I get to be a momma to these babes. They melt me, teach me, break me, and build me up. I love how every day is simple for them. No worries for deadlines or fears for their futures. Every day is Tuesday for them.

So why can’t I keep that Tuesday mindset?  Why do I have to rush?  Why do I move all the pieces of my life where I think they should fit?  Why do I get upset when they don’t?  Why do I schedule every second and crumble when things fall through? I overthink, worry, stress, yell with my “mom” voice, cry in my closet, and completely shut down. That’s not how Tuesday should be. That’s not how life should be.  That’s not how a heart that loves Jesus should show his love.  That’s simply not Tuesday.

So this Tuesday, I want to change. To simply breathe in and out. To simply let the day happen without making it happen. To simply sit and simply wait for the goodness that God already has for me to be revealed.  Because maybe my overreacting, my overthinking and my overachieving have just been over the top.  Maybe all God was wanting me to do was to simply get over myself. Maybe God said let down your weights of the weeks to come, and just let it be Tuesday.  Maybe every day won’t be simple, but maybe if I approach every day like a Tuesday, I’ll be better able to simply enjoy this precious life.

3 Years Later

3 years ago…the 4 of us invited women to join us for the sweetest night of worship around a fire with words projected on a bedsheet. We greeted faces of women of all ages and in all of life’s places, we had fellowship, prayed together, sang together, and I will forever treasure this night.

These women taught me to just love Jesus, no matter what that looks like. Just love people like Jesus loves people, no matter what that looks like. Use the gifts God has given me to glorify his name, encourage others, and remind my own heart of his love for me.

Now 3 years later God showed @bethany.burt and I Rove. I can’t wait to see how God uses this gift to impact the lives of women we love and women we may have not even met yet, but also I can’t wait to see how Rove changes me.

In Over My Head

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There’s a song I like to sing that goes, “if it’s over your head then it must be under his feet.” Lately, I’ve felt that maybe some of us have been feeling like we are in over our heads in deep murky waters.  We are finding ourselves in situations and places where we never imagined we would be. We’ve got our hands out grasping for anything that might help us get a grip, hanging on to things that at least help us float awhile and catch our breath.

But is that how we really want to do life? Floating on a little bit at a time until we get pulled back under again and again?

Maybe that is? Maybe life is easier lived just floating on and on to the next thing instead of waiting on the lifeboat to arrive. Because when the lifeboat comes we give up the trip to someone else don’t we? Once we get on a lifeboat we’re releasing the control to someone else to get us safely to the shore. And maybe we want to tell them how to get there, what turns to make, what direction to go or ask them to turn back to save a friend.

Maybe we need to ask ourselves if our need for control runs deeper than our desire to be saved?

That’s a scary question for me because I struggle with that SO VERY MUCH.  I like to say “Here God, you take over now, you take this situation.” But then I’m still hanging on just in case.  Just in case what, he doesn’t know what to do? Just in case he forgets that he is God?  It’s laughable really because he knows I’m still hanging on every time.  He knows we are still hanging on to that control every time because we are all right there under his feet.

Ephesians 1:22 says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.”

He placed us all under his feet so that he would be overhead at all times.  We are his church, his bride, his love. And he placed his church under his feet so that we don’t have to be alone in our struggles, we don’t have to have the answers, we don’t have to be afraid, and we don’t have to feel like we are in over our heads struggling to catch our breath.  So instead of reaching out for something to hold on to and then hanging on for dear life, maybe all we need to do is look up and let go.  Wait for our lifeboat, whose timing is always perfect. Look up to the God that sees us when we’re weak, that hears every prayer, feels every tear, and asks us to just lay it all down at his feet.

Girl, You Can Wash Your Face, But Only God Makes You Clean.

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Have you read Rachel Hollis’ new book yet, “Girl, Wash Your Face.”? This book has hit my girlfriends and many of the women I follow on social media and has given us all the superwoman feels of empowerment, self-acceptance, goal setting, goal getting, and was just an overall feel-good read.

I had never heard of Rachel Hollis before her book came out, but soon her pretty face kept popping up all over my Instagram news feed. Then my friends kept asking, have you read this book yet? No? Well, you need to!

So I read it…it made me laugh, made me think, made me cry, and made me feel. I really did like it, but I sort of felt off about it and didn’t know why.

Rachel clearly loves Jesus and gave some great advice, but I still felt stuck in her words unable to implement her mantras into my own self pep talks.

And then I read this article from The Gospel Coalition https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/girl-wash-face/

It smacked me upside the head. Have you seen my daughter do this? She goes for it, palm to face, and that’s exactly what this article did to me. Now I get it.

See right now in this season of my life I’ve been searching for identity, purpose, and happiness. Who am I? Who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to be doing? Who do I want to be? What makes me happy? What do I love doing? And I’ve been trying to find my identity, my purpose, and my happiness through motherhood, my relationships, my job, my social activities, and through being a broken down sinner saved by grace. And I’m failing! I can’t find my place!

So when Rachel Hollis says…

“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are,”

…I had to go back to God’s word because that just didn’t feel right to me. Because no matter how hard I’ve ever worked for anything, or how happy things have made me, I have never been enough in my own strength, and never has my own happiness kept me filled and satisfied.

So after reading the book and then reading that article, I went to God’s word. In Proverbs 19:21 it says “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” So I can do all the things necessary to achieve all the hopes and dreams and goals I could ever imagine. I can plan and make lists and check all of my boxes. I can do all the hopin’ and the wishin’, but if it doesn’t align with God’s will, it’s just never going to work. God’s will is always going to take over.

And then I read Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I can do hard things. Just like Rachel said. We are strong men and women built and created to weather storms and come out stronger with each blow. But it does not say I can do hard things because I just can. The Bible says I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me. We need him. We cannot do ANYTHING without him.

We are not ultimately responsible for who we become or how happy we are, and praise God that it’s not all on our shoulders. Because I just can’t do it! I can’t! I have no idea who I am supposed to be, and sometimes true happiness is just not going to be within my own reach. But God knows exactly who I am and who I am going to be, and guess what? When I trust him to help me do all the things…then the happiness will come THROUGH HIM.

Please don’t get me wrong, I really did like this book, and have so much respect for Rachel’s honesty and vulnerability in her writing. But, I just needed to go one more step. And maybe that was God’s plan all along, to bring me to his word to check her book, and to ultimately bring me closer to him.

So girl, keep washing your face, but please remember it’s only through Christ that you really get clean.

Simply Tuesday

I just wanted to be angry today. I barely slept last night, tossing and turning as I thought and I fought with my heart and my mind over things I simply can’t control. I hit snooze on my alarm skipping my workout in exchange for a few more minutes of restless sleep. I knew I’d beat myself up later for skipping another workout, knowing full well I wouldn’t have the energy after we got home from the field tonight to make it up. But I finally woke up to the chaos of the morning running out of time to dry my hair, packing Charlie’s lunch for the field, wrestling sleepy babies to get dressed when all they really wanted to do was stay in their jammies and watch cartoons, and then making my trips to the car with lunch boxes, backpack, diaper bag, and finally kids only to realize it was trash day and the garbage still needed to be taken out. I grabbed the garbage bags as one ripped open and mice scurried out scaring the bejeezus out of me and spilling icky nasty trash all over the garage steps.

I was angry.

I was angry because I just wanted to be angry.

But God changed my heart.

He said, “Girl, aren’t you glad it was only you and I that saw you scream and jump as those mice ran out? That was funny. Smile. Farmers don’t care that your hair is still wet, you’re pretty just the same, wet hair and with no workout. Don’t worry that your kids hate getting dressed, just do what you can, soon they’ll be dressing themselves and you’ll miss these little fights. You are a strong momma. I know because I made you that way. And one more thing girl, don’t be angry. I know every one of your needs, and you don’t need to be angry.”

God changed my heart.

I didn’t need to be angry, I just needed him. I’d let my eyes focus on the waves crashing around me instead of walking with the only one that could calm them. But you know what, God was with me the whole time. He was just waiting for me to stop being angry and to start letting him work in me.