Nothing Compares…

When you’re living in your God given purpose. When He’s backed you up, picked you up, and broken chains. When it’s His approval you live for…Nothing compares!

I’m thrilled my girls have the opportunity to dance their hearts out. I’m thrilled my girls get to attend the church school I went to. I’m thrilled I was able to buy a house in my  hometown. I’m thrilled I get to serve at the church I grew up in….in a whole new way. And, excited for what’s next for us. Because, I know now. He’s there too!

I’m thrilled for the courage the Lord has provided for me to write and share my story. And, I’m thrilled and humbled by the people it’s reached. To God be the glory!!

I’m thrilled for the lessons I’ve learned about love…and that now I actually have it in return. Beyond thankful for the friends I’ve made along the way. They’ve prayed me through. They always will. They have been my backbone, my confidants, my encouragers to follow where the Lord is leading me. I pray for that honor in return. That’s exactly what it is. An honor. To love and to be loved in return…Nothing compares. It’s God’s design and will for us.

Life after divorce is hard. There are difficulties you’ve never even considered if you haven’t been through it. Some things will never be the same. But, some things will be so much better! God knew. God knows. And, joy DOES come in the morning. For all the sadness and heartbreak I’ve encountered, He fills and uses in His most precious and perfect time.

Thank you, Lord! For loving me before, loving me during, and loving me after. Loving me always. ❤

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Afraid To Be Happy??

Is that a thing? Like a real fear? Turns out yes. It even has a name: Cherophobia

It’s a real fear, people.

If you’re a Christian, you’re more than likely aware that joy is a fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. But, joy and happiness are two different things. As a follower of Jesus, we can have joy even in the hard times because we (can/should) trust that Jesus is steadfast and never changes or leaves us. Joy in Jesus, regardless. But, happiness is a different animal. Happiness comes and goes based on our circumstances. We shouldn’t let people steal our joy, but they can definitely affect our happiness. The hurts and losses are hard and sad.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

The Bible also says to rejoice (be happy) with those who are happy and to mourn with those who mourn. This can lead to a quandary. We need to sympathize with those who are hurting, empathize is even better, but not let it affect our own happiness on our happy days.

Have you ever been so hurt or scared, that you’re afraid to be happy? I felt the Lord speaking that over me this morning. Letting others know you’re happy is not wrong, it’s not insensitive. It’s not rude or uncaring of their hurts. It’s the rainbow after your particular storm. And, I have dear friends who have been praying that for me.

The people who know you will be happy you are happy. The others will think life just comes easy for you. The thinkers and feelers struggle with even admitting happiness because we fear that we are not only “jinxing” ourselves, but that others will be jealous of our “perfect” life. It “must” be if she’s happy today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let your happy days be just those. Happy days.

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Who over thinks being happy? It’s more common than you may think.

I’m sharing because I struggle with this too. I have “appeared” happy when I’m heartbroken. Appearances are just that. Appearances. But, when a true sense of happiness emerges to and from my heart, it’s like a warm gush. A gush I almost fear….because what’s gonna happen next? Something. It’s always something. Or is my happiness going to hurt someone else?

I’ve gone through a really rough patch in my life where I’m sure some people feared their happiness would hurt me. Consider the wonderful marriages when your friend’s is falling apart, or the pregnancy when your friend’s just came to an abrupt end or hasn’t happened at all yet, the Mother’s Day brunch when you friend is missing hers. The vacation you are about to take when your friend can’t. The relationship or engagement that you’re so thankful for, but your single friends are still waiting for that love… It can make you think and fear happiness. For other’s sakes. We may feel guilt over our own happiness.

With women’s ministry as my passion, I am confided in and trusted as a prayer warrior for many precious friends and women. I am aware of struggles and I pray for their hearts. My heart goes out for their sadness in the midst of my own. Can we still fight the fear to share our happiness when it shows it’s lovely face? Can we dare to allow the happiness that flows in to warm our hearts when they’ve been heavy with burdens?

I say yes. I say, being willing to share your hurts AND struggles AND your happiness gives people hope. Not being willing to share one or the other doesn’t ring genuine. We need both. We want our friends to have safe places, hearts, and friends to share hurts with (because we all have them), and then to see their happiness can literally bring tears to our faces and hope to our situations (because we all desire it). May we all DARE to let the happiness wash over us and not FEAR the outcome or fallout. It’s a gift that can and should be relished.

Happiness comes and goes, anyone who says they are happy all the time, I might give the side eye. That’s not possible in this life. But, to be real, admit hardships, and express happiness when it’s present is a blessing to yourself and to others.

I love to see my friends happy, so I trust they feel the same for me.

 

 

 

 

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….

 

Out With a Sigh

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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…

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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

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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….