He is BIGGER…

Jesus is bigger. He’s bigger than the church pew you just sat in. He’s bigger than the separation with our kids. He’s bigger than the guilt we carry.

He’s bigger than your divorce. He’s bigger than the sermon you just listened to. He’s bigger than the quote you just shared. He’s bigger than the diagnosis you just received. He’s bigger than differences in theology. He’s bigger than the school you attend. He’s bigger than our mistakes.

He’s bigger than the foods we eat. He’s bigger than the feelings we have. He’s bigger than the words that we write or say. He’s bigger than our intentions. He’s bigger than our fears. He’s bigger than the devil.

Claiming the Name of Jesus is the biggest thing we can do and best choice we can make. When we are overcome with joy, in the depths of despair, when sadness washes over us, when misunderstandings run rampant. Claim His Name.

If there’s TWO things I pray my girls see and remember in me, it’s the grace and love of Jesus. What more can I give?

More of You, Jesus. Less of me.

For YOU know better than I….

 

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Out With a Sigh

gift box

I turn 39 next week. My 30s have been tough. So much so, that instead of dreading turning 40, I’m ready to turn the corner.

I’ve raised babies, which we all know is wonderful and HARD. I’ve gone through a painful divorce, which was HARD. I’ve moved. I’ve navigated the scary seas of dating after divorce and as a single mom. This decade of my life has been chock full of HARD lessons and difficult scenarios. I’ve felt the pain. I’ve felt the fear. I’ve grieved the loss. I’ve grown stronger. I started this blog. I also started a Facebook ministry page to share these lessons and my story. Sharing and connecting brings me so much joy. I don’t know where it will lead, but I know it’s helped me heal and helped others in the process. I praise God for that!

I’m ready to take these lessons with me. I’m ready to love all over again. I’m ready to trust. I’m ready to build. I’m ready to help and love on others who have been through what I’ve been through.

I’ve learned what love is and what love is not. I’ve learned how to speak up for myself. I’ve learned that my feelings and opinions matter just as much as the next person. I’ve learned that marriage should include teamwork and family time should be enjoyed as the blessing it is. I’ve learned why I was attracted to my ex-husband in the first place and why that was a huge part of why our marriage was doomed before it even began. He was selfish and I was needy. So needy, in fact, that I accepted far short of what I should have, even from the very beginning.

I’ve learned my worth as a daughter of God. I don’t feel needy for love anymore. I’m thankful to those who do love me, but now I know that I’m already loved more than I could ever imagine and that will never change. I’ve learned that no matter what comes my way in the future, Jesus will never leave me or forsake me. And, I’ve learned the joy that comes with that realization!

I’d say I’ve learned some of these lessons the really hard way, but thank GOD I’ve learned them. They are lessons I want to live out in front of my girls. They are lessons that will help me in the future, come what may. I know I’ll have my share of tough times in my 40s, but knowing Jesus loves me will truly help me through. I want nothing more than to continue to grow in His love and share it with others. He has shown me that His Love is the only remedy for life’s hardest trials.

I’d like to take the love I’ve lost, the love I’ve gained, the friends I’ve lost, the friends I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned, the personal relationship that’s grown, the soul searching, the rediscovering of who I am and who I want to be into my next decade. I want to teach my girls what I’ve learned. I want them to know their worth. I want them to see my joy. I want them to know Who got mommy through. They are still young, 5 and 10. But, each and every day, I know their minds are being impressed, tugged, prodded, pulled. I know because mine is. I can’t force them to follow Jesus, but I can continue to lean on Him and pray with and for them. I can do that. I will do that. I can show them joy. I can show them strength. And, I know now, more than ever, where mine comes from.

Thank you and I’m ready, Lord. Let’s tie this difficult decade up with a pretty bow. Let’s finish not just with a bang, but with a sigh of relief and a smile.

This Mama’s Prayer…

baptism

6/4/16

To my Abby,

You have no idea how much this day means to me. I know you’re young. I also know that your decision to be baptized is as clear as it can possibly be at the ripe age of 10 years old.

You’ve told me that today means washing away your sins. That’s true. You’ve also told me that today means that you and Jesus will get closer and closer. That is also true. But, like we’ve also discussed, we need to do our part to continue to foster that relationship.

Just like you, I was baptized while attending the same school you do, in this same church. In this very same baptistery. I also believe I made the decision as clearly as I possibly could at the time. Then, life happened.

I need you to know that you are the reason I got rebaptized. When I held you in my arms and stared at you in your crib, I knew I needed God more than ever in my life. How on earth would I be able to raise you to love, lean on, and honor God if I wasn’t? I knew, in that moment, that I had allowed our relationship to wither. It was you that made me a mom and it was you that brought my heart back to Jesus. For you, I am forever grateful.

I know God never left me, but I went about my life not checking in with Him, not growing with Him, not seeking Him. You, Abby, changed all that for me. The love I have for you opened my heart to God’s unfathomable love for me and put me back on the path of relentless pursuit with my Jesus.

I pray there are many big events I’ll get to witness in your life. Graduations, first cars, jobs, moves, boyfriends, possibly a wedding, and maybe even children of your own. I’m sure I’ll cry at each one. But, one thing I can say about today is that this relationship that you are allowing in your heart and declaring as your own can, will, and should affect them all. This is my prayer as your mom.

I pray that your relationship with God trumps all others. He wants to lead you. My prayer is that you let Him. I pray that each decision you make in your life reflects the one you’re making today. I know how hard that is. And, if one blessed day we do this again, I will be right here crying tears of joy like I am today that you are choosing and walking with the Lord. As a parent now, I realize that there truly is no greater joy…..

This is huge baby girl. For you, for me, and for Jesus. He is here, He loves you, and He will never leave you. I am praising God for this day!

My life changer. My Abby.

My Babies…

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Feeling overwhelmed with love for my girls tonight…My oldest is 9 and just started 4th grade. She is smart, strong willed, and so brave. My youngest is 4 and just started full time PreK. She is sensitive, thoughtful, and so thankful. I couldn’t be more proud of them. They are happy girls. Watching them walk into school in their uniforms and backpacks gets me every time. Kissing them goodnight gets me every time. Seeing their sleepy bedheads in the morning gets me every time.

My babies:

  • Bring me deep joy
  • Make me want to be a better person
  • Hold my heart
  • Have pushed me to Jesus
  • Drive me crazy
  • Love me like crazy
  • Need me
  • Pulled strength out of me like I’ve never had
  • Induced love like I’ve never known
  • Will always be my babies

Easier Said Than Done

walk

Growing in my walk with God has been an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything, even what I’ve been through to get here. It was worth it. Feeling His presence in my deepest pain has led to my desire to feel and listen to Him more. I long to hear His voice and I want to obey because of His love for me. I’ve learned so much about who I used to be, who I’ve always been, who I am to Him, and where He wants to take me. I’ve also learned how hard the Christian walk is to walk in this world.

I get now why it’s easier to say you’re a Christian, but not live like one. Because, I did…for years. I get now why it takes supernatural and divine power to stand up, speak up, and walk daily with Him. His way is HARD for us. His way doesn’t come naturally in our selfish human flesh. Once we’re open to Him and His love for us, He takes our hands and leads us out of sin by convicting us and staying on us until we see and choose His way for ourselves. Even with His help, we will never be sinless in this world, but by His grace it is possible to sin less. His way leads to lasting peace and joy. Once our eyes have been opened, we see how the world’s way leads to quick satisfaction, but is followed by regret.

I’d rather my girls choose lasting peace and joy. Not a quick fix, whether it be acting on revenge, hatred, jealousy, or lust. If I’d rather them choose His way, the best example would be for me to as well. I want that lasting peace and joy too. So, here goes…..a list of things easier said than done, but lead to lasting peace and joy, in the Christian walk.

  • Holding my tongue in anger
  • Letting the last word be God’s
  • Not lashing out at my loved ones
  • Having the courage to address issues with loved ones in a reconciliatory manner that leads to healing on both sides
  • Denying the flesh while single (especially after being married 10 years!)
  • Forgiveness
  • Choosing to love even when it’s not openly returned
  • Daily quiet and prayer times
  • Waiting on God
  • Stepping out in faith
  • Fighting the paralyzing fear of people’s opinions
  • Just doing what God wants me to do….the quicker the better!

These are a few things that come to mind that are very hard for me, but I feel called to do. They also never crossed my mind in my teens and 20s. I guess my relationship with God, marriage, divorce, and two daughters have brought me to a place where I’ve never been before. And, since this is all new to me, I’m more dependent than ever on God to lead me through it. Because…I sure don’t know how to do this! I just know He’s brought me here, so I’d better trust Him to help me. I could never do these things on my own.

I know I’ll need major help, where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1

I know I’ll need major strength, where does my strength come from?

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalms 28:7a

I know I’ll need supportive friends. Thank God for the ones I have and the ones I’ve made. They are gifts! Where do these friends come from?

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Sharing my walk in this format has been a huge personal step of faith and has forced me to face fear every single time I write and share. He has promised to teach me healthy love and asked me to share what I learn in return. That’s the least I could do for the lessons He’s teaching me! But still, He knows how much it scares me…..so He continues to lovingly nudge.

Blessing others in this process has been the biggest blessing of all. Words can’t express my gratefulness for your love, support, and encouragement! You have helped more than you could ever know. There are no sufficient words, only love and gratitude from my heart to yours.

Let’s continue to walk together….

 

 

That She’s Happy!

happy

Today was such a beautiful spring day that I took my girls for a roll around the neighborhood in their little red wagon when I got home from work. Just strolling along and chatting…good times. I threw out a question that I don’t think I’ve ever asked before….”Abby, what’s your favorite thing about Elle?” She thought for a few seconds and responded “that she’s cute?” I laughed because she does comment on her cute face a lot. I threw the question out to Elle. “What’s your favorite thing about Abby?” Elle thought a little longer and came back with “that she’s crazy!” Another great answer, that’s about right! After a couple minutes more of rolling down the sidewalk, I swallowed hard and asked “what’s your favorite thing about Mommy?” admittedly nervous about what their answers may be. Without a second to spare little Elle chimed in “that’s she’s happy!” What a blessing!! Her answer made me so happy.

Our kids bring us immeasurable joy. But, I wondered if they may view me as more tired, stressed, worried, nervous, or rushed than happy. Thank God she sees me happy! The truth is we have so much to be grateful for and so much to be happy about. It got me thinking, when I’m gone how would I want my kids to remember me? The answer is happy. Her answer warmed my heart and soul today. I’m so thankful for God’s graces in mommy world. His graces and my girls make me happy!