Tuesday, January 20, 2015

DON'T JUST SIT THERE. DO SOMETHING.



Don't just sit there. Do something.
That is what has been ringing in my ears the past 20 days of this new year.
But it felt so trite. Do something? Really? Isn't that the whole idea of a resolution?

To set a goal and act on it.
To set a goal and act on it.

Could I really come to my blog and tell you that the word that God has seeped into my being these past 20 lazy, negligent, unintentional first days of 2015 is the word ACTION? Clearly, I can't find the online thesaurus to jazz it up a little.

But here I am. Saying it. ACTION.

And let's be honest.. It's been more than 20 days of me sitting on my rump (both figuratively and literally speaking) and pretty much doing squat. No, I didn't say squats. I wish I did. That would certainly help said 'rump.'

I'm going to follow that last statement with this tid-bit. My daddy is a preacher.
You're wondering how that has to do with anything I'm talking about, aren't you.
Action. Rump. Squats.. Annnnnndddd Preacher.

Just hold tight a minute. It will all come together.
On the first Sunday of  2015 and my daddy got up and preached a sermon titled "A Year Of Action." Granted he was mostly talking about gearing up and setting out to do something for the kingdom of God, but it still resonated with my insides.
It was something I knew must happen.
Action.

Both for the Kingdom work...but also for me.
God has been shouting me this very practical word at me for a few weeks now.
And along with it, he said "Don't just sit there. Do something."

There is so much I want out of life.
I want a blissful and romantic marriage, not just a team membership.
I want my kids to WANT to love Jesus and treat each other and us with respect. Is that too much to ask?
I want to lose 35 pounds. What on earth is taking me so long?
I want to control all these health issues I've been dealing with. I've been hospitalized and in the ER more times these past 6 months than my life. I'm tired of ulcers and asthma and eczema and allergies.
I want to be strong in my body.
I want to have energy. (Let's face it. Netflix and One Tree Hill has been very good to me lately. I mean, really quite very good.)
I want to write a book (yes, still).
I want to have a full fridge.
I want to have a home that isn't leaking tub water into my kitchen floor.
I want to speak and inspire and encourage women.
I want to shine for Jesus only. Not for myself.
I want to share my heart and my story, and somehow not get any glory out of it, yet be totally comfortable with not getting any glory out of it. Does that make sense?
I want to wake up each day and say "Jesus, what's on the agenda today? Hit me with the good stuff. But first, give me what I need to get 'er done."

But all these wants come with some sort of "doing something."
They require some sort of action. Whether it's to start making better eating choices or romancing my man... or whether it's praying about something we need, all I know, just sitting around watching Netflix isn't working for me.

Okay. Let's be fair to myself. In my defense, I did just write in my last blog post about how my baby keeps me busy. And he does. He needs my loving attention a lot these days. He loves a good snuggle. He loves for us to walk around holding him. God forbid we sit down and hold him. And my kids need me. But there are things. Things that I could do to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Things that require me to not watch Netflix.

Set the remote control down.

Just honesty here today, friends.

I was telling my husband and my close friend today, as I was given this apparent divine revelation (Ok, maybe I'm a little slower than I care to admit) that I felt like God actually spoke this to me, that "action" may even mean to go to sleep.
I'm not kidding.
It may even mean that I don't have the energy I need, because I'm not getting enough sleep.
Action may mean to me that I need to turn off the television and take a nap.
To not just sit there and do something, means some days... to sleep.

See how I keep pushing the sleep thing?
But seriously, that is part of it. It's simple. It's intentional in reaching my goal for a healthy body, mind and spirit. 
This ACTION word. Is this a new word? Because it suddenly has become so clear to me.
To wake up each day and take action. Some days it may be hard. It may be inconvenient with a baby in tow.
It may be unclear. But it is my goal. 
It is the first word I want to think of when I wake up in the morning. Maybe the 4th word. Maybe like Ready, Set, Jesus, Action.

Alright Daddy-o. Let's do this. A Year of Action.
I'm getting some things done this year. I'm telling ya!
I'm getting (sorta) organized. I'm taking new steps into unknown territories for me.
I'm getting healthy. I'm getting sleep. I'm not always going to play it safe and comfortable.
I'm going to live just a little bit on the adventurous side.
I'm going to be a little more brave with my dreams this year.
I'm going to shock the heck outta my husband with my amazing romanticism. (Oh Lord, I hope he doesn't read this). These are aspirations, Hon. One step at a time.

I'm going to set some things in motion that God has dropped in my heart long ago.
Yes, it's taken some time. It's taken tears. It's taken facing my fears and insecurities. It's taken a fight against laziness and tiredness. And it will keep taking all of this out of me. But I'm willing to try. I'm willing to say it out loud and hope that I stick to it. I'm willing to fail and pick up and try again.
And do that over and over again.

I'm willing to not just sit there. But mostly this year, I'm willing to do something.
Are you?

Dear Friends, do you think you will get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend, dressed in rags and half starved and you say.. "Good Morning, Friend. Be clothed in Christ. Be filled with the Spirit." But you walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup? (Really?)-Where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
James 2:14-17 Msg Bible








Thursday, January 15, 2015

Where Have I Been Going Wrong?



Around 7:30 pm last night I found myself sort of complaining to my husband that it's not fair that I can't seem to get anything done that I want to do or that people ask of me until after at least 11 pm. I have responsibilities and promises I've made to people, to my blog and to my church that have left me saying "I will look at it later tonight after the kids are in bed" or  "I will work on it this week" and tonight or this week never seems to come.
I sat in bed with a baby very physically attached to me eating his dinner around this time, and had my tablet in front of me, as I tried to catch up on some reading on some of my favorite blogs. Bloggers that have shops and books written and kids and churches and ministries and homeschooling that they are responsible for...
and I wonder what my problem is

Why can they get stuff done, but I can't? Even when they don't have it all together, they somehow manage to find the time to hop online and say "Hey, I don't have it all together" and they sound so graceful saying even that. And I so admire these women. But some days I hang my head in shame that I can't be more.

Lots of days I give myself grace to simply be a mom and I know my time simply doesn't allow for anything more. The baby doesn't want to sit in a saucer or swing all day long as some people might think while I work and write and create for myself, much less anyone else.
He wants to be played with, held, snuggled. He wants to giggle and by all means, feed the child. And even though I have 3 kids that, yes, go off to school during the day hours~no, I'm not a homeschooling mom~ I still can't manage to find the time to do anything but "be" with Wyatt (my sweet little 8 month, teething, sitting up, growing too fast baby boy). And if I do have the 'time' as some would think, I am left without energy. Yes, I sleep when he sleeps. Or I do dishes or clean or fold laundry, etc...but I certainly don't sit down on my computer during the day and pursue my dreams of writing or attend to my responsibilities to others.

And I feel guilty. I feel guilty that there are moms that are out there that work 40 hours a week outside of the home. I feel guilty that there are moms that run churches and write books and run shops and businesses and homeschool....and some of them even cook and work out...somehow.
And they still manage to find the time care for their family.

So what is my problem, I think to myself. Where have I been missing it lately?

I've been trying. Trying ever so hard to do it on my own.
I've been telling myself it's okay because God knows. He is the one who has given me this wonderful opportunity to be a mother and wife. He knows my responsibilities. He knows where my time is spent. And there is certainly nothing wrong with putting my family first. And His grace is ever sufficient for me.

But have I been relying on it? Have I been trying to do it without His strength?

After I cracked open my devotional for the first time in probably 5 weeks yesterday I read about being undone before the Lord. Contending to be undone before Him. Before I try to conform to the expectations others have of me and to the expectations I have of myself, why don't I first give Him my all and let Him work in me what pleases Him. His grace and strength He has certainly promised and provided, but I have to soak it up and let my heart saturate it. HIS presence in my life is where I want to be first and foremost. Swimming in it.

Yes, God does understand. And that is why He wants to be my source of strength, comfort, wisdom, time. and everything else I need to make life go smoothly.

Without it, I can very truly do very little to nothing, I see that now.

No, I haven't been wasting away my time or life, neck deep in immorality or impurities of thought.
I don't even have time for that if I wanted to (which I don't.)
But His grace is for more than that.
It's for the mommas and daddies and wives and husbands serving and giving to their families.
It's for the hard workers, love seekers, dare to dreamers.
It's for those of us with dreams of our own and desires to take life one step further and be there for others
(she types in tears).
We can do it, And we can do it with peace in our hearts and in our minds. And we can do it with the full assurance that God has given us already what we need.
He has given us wisdom. He has given us time, He has given us strength.
To be all that we are called and do all that we desire.

But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength...
Those who wait on Him.

That is where I have been going wrong. That is where I've missed it lately.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

(I am writing this all between the hours of 1:30 am and 3:30 am. I woke up to a hungry baby and I tried laying him back down 3 times. He is now sitting on my lap looking around, smiling as I type one handed. And I am feeling so extremely blessed, and also hoping he goes back to sleep.)





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5 Simple Ways To Show Love, Support & Encouragement On A Daily Basis


I'm a big believer in supporting and encouraging people. I'm a believer in uplifting one another. And I can't imagine a life lived that doesn't need some sort of encouragement to face the next day. To know what they are doing matters to someone else. Whether it's kisses from our babies, words of appreciation from our spouse, or people just showing up for or celebrating something we are passionate about. Those things matter. 

I think sometimes we like to think we believe so much in ourselves and our passions that no matter what anyone thinks, we are doing this to make us happy or to honor the Lord, etc.  But the truth is, the support of people helps us make that next move. I believe God created us with the desire for someone to believe in us. That's why he didn't leave Adam alone in the garden. He gave him Eve.

In a world of selfies and instagram photos of everything we do, it seems that the desire for human admiration is evident. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I think it becomes a bad thing when it's all about us and we have nothing to give to others. It becomes a bad thing if we can't see through the fog of human approval and see how much the Lord loves us and how much He desires to give to us, work through us and fill us with his abundance of good things.

But the need for support from others is human nature.

With that said, I wanted to share some tips in supporting and encouraging others. Part of our job as humanity is simply to show kindness, respect and love to people.

Listen closely.
This one is easy for me, yet hard for me at the same time. I love listening to people's stories. I love hearing where people came from. I love giving people the opportunity to talk about themselves. A friend and I were talking about women's ministry a few weeks back and we were talking about how we need to give more women the opportunity just to talk about themselves, their kids and their lives and have people really listen. But when it comes to one on one conversation, in my head, I'm always thinking of my response or what I want to say. Sometimes people just need to talk and they need you to listen and hear them. I'm not a fan of when I'm telling somebody something and they interrupt with their thought before I have even finished mine, so doing it to others is something I really have to work hard at. Just listen...

Put down your phone.
I was watching a cheezy ABC Family Christmas Movie the other day, "Holidays in Handcuffs" with Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart. They had this scene where all the cell phones were collected during Christmas Day. The phones were all locked away. And I thought to myself, we need to do that. We need to be present more. I was talking to my hubby the other day, telling him a story while he was playing a game on his phone and he sort of chuckled at the end of my story and said, "Oh really?" I could tell he had no idea what I said. I asked him to repeat back to me what I told him (yes, I did that) and whatever he thought he heard was not even close to what I told him. We are all guilty of this. Scrolling through our instagram, or playing a game, or editing a photo while someone is trying to talk to us or watch a movie with us. Leave it at home. Lock it away if the temptation is too great.

Surprise someone and show up.
We all get invited to a lot of everything, probably. Especially with facebook and the 'event' maker. Suddenly everyone is our close friend and wants us to come to their event. We can't always do everything. We don't want to neither. We'd rather sit home. We finally got the kids settled, we finally have our house clean and the last thing we want to do is get dressed and go somewhere. We have better things to do, like watch netflix or read a good book. But people need you to be there for them. I was invited to a party recently and I was tired~ let's face it, I have 4 kids so I'm always busy. But my mom called me and asked me if I was going and I said "I guess I can go." My mom and I showed up. That's it. My mom and I showed up. And we are glad we did. It's a bummer big time when you have an event everyone is too busy or lazy to come to or people just don't think it's important. Even if it's not important to you, it's important to someone. I'm not saying we all have to go to everything we are invited to, but make an effort to get our of your comfort zone occasionally and be there for someone else. It means a lot to them. Put yourself in their shoes. You will probably be glad you did.

Share it.
This is easy. Social Media. I'm not exactly sure how much good it does, but it means a lot to the people involved. If you have a friend that owns a shop, writes on a blog, makes music, plays in a band, etc or if you go to a church that you believe in and they are having an event open to the public, or even if someone you love shares something passionate or moving in a status, don't just like it but share it with others. Let that person know you believe in them enough to share what they are passionate about with others. It's easy to share our passions and thoughts, what about someone else's?

Look beyond the noise and see the person.
We all have people we love, people we admire, and people we esteem highly in our lives. But that doesn't necessarily mean we agree with everything they say or everything they do. Sometimes it makes it difficult to find ways to support them or encourage them, but it's those times when it's the hardest for you to voice encouragement, that God will mend those feelings of bitterness or irritation or discontent. Step out of your feelings about what they are doing or saying for a moment and ask the Lord to see them how He sees them. People are not perfect. We all need compassion, forgiveness, understanding of where we are in life and we need to be merciful to others. I'm with everyone else. I get just as frustrated as any other person with people some days, but I ask God to help me overcome these 'feelings' and I can always find a way to bless someone who hurts me, bugs me, or frustrates me.

During the Christmas season, I think a lot about this incredible gift God gave us.
We didn't deserve Jesus. We didn't deserve redemption. We didn't deserve a second chance. But he gave us his only son because HE loves US. The best gift we can give to others is love and one of the best ways we can show it is to be encouraging. The little things really do matter. The things we say or do to love and support one another.

I'm so incredibly grateful for those who have encouraged me in my blogging and writing journey. I've not always felt like I was making any difference and at times I've wanted to believe it was just for myself anyways, but the truth is, it's those emails and comments where people encourage me that helps me continue.