When You Think About ChrisTmas…

When you think about ChrisTmas, I hope that your mind isn’t filled with sappy Hallmark movies. Although, who doesn’t like a festive love story? I want you to know in the depths of your being that there is a love story that is far more valuable than something Hallmark is able to think up. I hope your focus isn’t on Santa but on a Savior. They say hot cocoa and cookies will put you in the spirit, but there is truly no spirit more powerful than the Holy Spirit. And there is nothing that will ever fill you like the bread of Jesus. I pray that ChisTmas for you isn’t about a Christmas parade but about Godly praise. I hope that you don’t ponder on the presents but on the gift of Jesus’ presence. My prayer is that ChrisTmas is less about decorations and more about your devotion to our Lord. When you think about what ChrisTmas is all about I hope you remember that it isn’t about candy canes but about the cross. I pray that you don’t think first about Frosty but about the forgiveness that was so freely given. It isn’t about gifts, garland, and goodies, but it’s all about the gospel. My prayer, as your mother, is that I have not centered ChrisTmas around baking, bows, and bells, but all around Bethlehem and the birth of the most special baby. And when you tell your children one day what ChrisTmas was like for us, I pray that it is exactly what you are making it for them. Because it is not about traditions; it is about leaving a legacy that says that ChrisTmas is Christ-centered. The day that the most spotless and unblemished lamb was born to one day be the ultimate sacrifice for all. The precious lamb of God.

Broken.

I knew that I shouldn’t have put our wedding cake topper on a 3 tier metal tray. But I did. And this is the result of it falling off, hitting the counter, and landing on the floor.

I could have bought a new one from Hobby Lobby for $12.49. But it wasn’t “the one” that we used on our wedding day.

So it sat on my counter for a few weeks, sadly, until I got around to getting some super glue to try to put it back together. Everyday when I went into the kitchen I saw it sitting there, broken into pieces. As the days kept passing by and it kept sitting in its broken state on the counter, God began to speak to me.

My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years. I saw this broken ceramic sculpture as a symbol of our relationship. No we aren’t falling apart, well mostly, but stay with me.

I remember taking this cake topper out of the box. It was new and pearly white. Prior to it breaking it had some scuffs, dirt, and even a chip or two. And then it broke. This past year was a break through and pivotal time in our relationship. We had things a long the way in our marriage that had left marks here and there. And some things that were a little bigger that left chips. And we even faced some things were we felt like we were in separate pieces.

It was sad looking at the broken cake topper when the Lord brought all of this to my attention. The things that our marriage had faced. And I would look at the broken piece on the counter everyday and think about everything that we had been through together.

I started finding scripture that surrounded this theme of “broken”.

Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the broken hearted and he binds up their wounds”.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in their spirit”. Psalm 34:18

I grew weary in looking at the brokenness on my counter day after day and relied on Amazon for super glue. It’s really a funny thing because I was sitting in the kitchen floor trying to piece this cake topper back together and it just would not hold. The topper had broken into three pieces and it wasn’t until I put glue on all three pieces and held them all together (quite a sight as a I was using the bread box to help hold one of the sides) that it would bind.

See, in a marriage you have to have three. You have to have Jesus. And that is why when i tried to put one piece on by its self, it would not bind.

I could have save a lot of time and hassle if I had just ordered the new cake topper from Hobby Lobby. Even eight years later they still have the same one. But we aren’t new. We didn’t just get married. We aren’t pearly white and without flaws. But I don’t want to be. I want the battles that we have fought and overcome. I don’t want to revert back to who we were. I love who we are now; which is why I couldn’t just buy a new cake topper. I needed to repair the first one we had. People in today’s society are so quick to throw the broken piece away and go get a new one. Sister, that cake topper can break just like the last one. We need more commitment to what we already have and what we already said yes to. New is not always better.

I honestly think that if the cake topper were to fall again that it would not break in the same place. I think it is stronger than it was before. In the same way, our marriage is stronger. Strengthen what you have. Don’t sweep it up and throw out. It would have been easier, yes. But, I do not think that I would cherish it near as much. Pick up the pieces and start gluing them back together. Most importantly, make sure that you are binding yourselves with Jesus or none of it will stick.

The Sabbath isn’t just for Sundays….

This picture was taken on a Saturday- not a Sunday.

This picture was also a moment of Sabbath.

Us “Christian folks” usually say “Remember the sabbath and keep it holy” and we interpret that to mean “go to church on Sundays”.

Sometimes you just have to PAUSE;

the news,

the laundry,

the voices telling you that you aren’t enough,

the busyness,

the constant critiquing of your appearance,

the to do list,

the worries, wonders, and what ifs,

the people that don’t agree with you,

the never ending events on your calendar,

the pile of dishes…

Pause all the things.

And take a minute to REST.

See, when God rested on the seventh day of creation, I do NOT believe he did it because he needed it or because he was tired.

MY GOD does not grow tired.

So then why did HE rest?

Because he knew that we wouldn’t know how to rest.

Because after six days of work, he knew that we would need an example to show us how even the creator of the universe set time aside to just look at all that he had done; to marvel.

I did not intend for this to be a sabbath moment, but it turned into one.

I specifically pray that God will allow me to be intentional about having sabbath moments through out my day.

In this picture we were unpacking box after box from our recent move. I was tired and hadnt even changed out of my pajamas. I was sitting down for a second and the mirror to our dresser was still on the floor from where it hadn’t been put up yet. This little carrot top sat down in my lap and requested (in not so many words) that we pause and have a sabbath moment together. And that is just what we did.

We paused to remember all of the good things in this life.

We paused to create time and space for each other and for the presence of Jesus.

I know that your situation might not look like what you want it to right now.

I know that life might be busy and you might be stretched thin.

I know that there are only 24 short hours in a day.

I know.

But would you just pray that God would allow you to focus in finding sabbath moments?

Would you just stop for a few minutes in the midst of chaos and find something good?

Can you find pockets of time, other than Sundays, that you can be still and know that he is God?

Can you rest like the example that he set before us?

I always joke with my family that “Mommy needs five minutes’.

And in those five minutes, I really mean that I need to have a sabbath moment.

I need to SIT, be still, and rest.

I need to PAUSE, even if just for a few minutes.

Don’t let Sundays rob you of your sabbath moments.

Find your sabbath moments on Monday, and Thursday, and Tuesday, and Saturday, and Wednesday.

Rest child of God.

Pause sister of Christ.

Breathe slowly and slowly breathe.

Take your minute, your. moment, a sabbath.

Princesses.

Princesses.

I think she can name them all; Cinderella, Ariel, Repunzle, Moana…

They catch her attention… but what are they teaching her?

That life turns out exactly the way that you want it to?

That a fairy god mother will make sure that you have everything you need?

That if you are dis-satisfied with your appearance or who you are….change it?

When God gave me daughters (shout out to my girl mamas!!) he also gave me a realization.

Our girls can name every Disney princess… but can they tell you one respectable woman from the Bible?

Ask.

But be prepared for that gut wrenching guilt that comes from them not knowing the notable women of God.

And really, (being honest here), I didn’t know very many of the women of the Bible either.

We idolize these princesses as little girls and dream to be just as they are.

Are we navigated by societal ideology from the very start?

My five year old dresses up as an ice princess, singing “Let It Go” to the top of her lungs, wishing with every being inside of her that she too had ice powers.

And while I love to watch her play and be imaginative, smiling and twirling in her snow drizzled ball gown, I also have to teach her about REAL women. Women that seemed insignificant but God chose to use because of their faithfulness to him.

So while it is great that Cinderella was the only girl in the village that the glass slipper fit, we serve a God that has a shoe for us all.

While Ariel lost her voice to become someone else, God speaks for us on our behalf and numbered the hairs on our head.

And while Repunzle sat in a tower waiting to be rescued, our GOD sent his SON to sacrifice his life so that we could be FREE.

& see all of their “happily ever afters” had to end, but if you are in Christ there is NO end.

So while we can still enjoy these princess and their stories, let us not neglect to teach our daughters about the women that chose God.

Jeremiah 31:35

“This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is his name”

Matthew 8:27

“The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!””

Psalm 146:6

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.”

Everything about the beach is spiritual in its existence.

The sand is numberless and infinite just like the love that the father has for you.

The depth of the ocean is equivalent to Gods mercy and grace.

Each shell is uniquely designed to be different just like us.

The tide is only dispersed out as far as the Lord allows it to be. It comes and goes as he sets it into motion. Just as our lives are set into motion and perfectly designed by the heavenly creator.

The different elevations and slopes of the sand reminds us that life too has its own highs and lows.

Getting to the beach involves packing, preparing, and walking on hot sand… but then you experience a peaceful breeze, rest and relaxation, and vitamin D. And after, you make the same hot sand trip back.

Because even though the journey was hard, the destination was worth it.

Let’s talk about it…

“Nobody’s gonna know. They’re gonna know. How would they know? How would they know?”. We’ve all heard it. The Tik Tok that went viral where people are “covering up” things so that other people don’t find out about it. It has become popular in our society to not let things be authentically known as they are because of the fear of other people knowing.

SHAME has crippled us from telling our true stories and exposing our true selves. Living with shame and covering up the reality of our true lives seems easier than being fully known.

I learned today that we are only going to be as sick as our secrets.

Shame dies when it is exposed to light and people still accept you.

In our culture, honor is based on performance. This performance can be your own or someone that you are associated with.

Let’s talk about association.

If someone (a group, an organization) that you are associated with does something dishonorable, you are connected to the shame.

For instance:

At church yesterday our pastor was talking about Lucifer. As soon as I said the name Lucifer you thought things like; bad, evil, sin etc. But that is because of an ASSOCIATION that you have with the name Lucifer in relation to satan. Lucifer was actually an angel who was created with instruments inside of him. His name means “light bearer”. There was no darkness associated with Lucifer until he became satan. We just place those judgements on Lucifer because of the negative association.

Regardless if your shame is because of something that you did or is in association with something that someone else did, the only way to get rid of it is to expose it.

What I love most about my season of life right now is that my pain has meaning and a purpose.

I’m not an open book.

And you don’t have to be either.

But I have to relinquish the power that shame has over me. I have to expose some things to light. It has been a slow process for me but I know that God has so much purpose in my pain.

I learned that when you tell your story, your testimony, tell it as a hero and not as a victim, find beauty in the chaos, remember that you’re not the only one that goes through things, use your situation to become a better person.

When you hear that inner critic telling you that you are not worthy and unacceptable tell it to shut up!

I taught my daughter Psalm 34:4 without ever knowing what Psalm 34:5 stated after it.

4- “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

5- “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

For months my daughter and I recited Psalm 34:4 to help her overcome fear and to know that Jesus is always there to answer her when she needs him.

Little did I know that if I had just read one verse more I would have found the answer that I needed.

I am RADIANT because I look to GOD. My face will NEVER be ashamed.

Radiance by definition means light reflected by something. The something in this case is God. I have a light on me that is reflected off of God. God’s light shines upon me and because I have this light, my face is never ashamed.

Ashamed by definition means embarrassed or guilty because of one’s actions, characteristics, or associations.

So, because of God’s light being reflected off of him and onto me, my face is not embarrassed or guilty.

I don’t know who is dealing with shame tonight, but if I am being vulnerable with you, it is something that I have dealt with. I think we all have things in our life, that are a part of our story, that we don’t want everyone to know. Because honor is based on performance, and what would people think of us if we weren’t performing the way they think we should be?

As I sit here and wager between the thought of other people’s opinions and the freedom that is on the other side of exposure, I am thinking that there is life more abundantly in allowing God to cover my shame and set me free.

I’m thinking that there are people that can find purpose in my pain.

I’m thinking that there is courage in releasing the grip of other people’s opinions.

I am thinking that there really has been beauty from the chaos.

Lord,

Thank you for the person that is reading this right now. I thank you that you have connected them to this page so that whatever words that you give to me may reach them. I pray that she will find purpose in the thing that is holding shame in the inner most depths of her soul. I rebuke the judgement of other people that tries to enter her life because only you are rightful to judge. I pray that she feels normal because she is not the only one that deals with shame. I pray that this woman, this precious child of yours, will look to you. And when she looks up God, just like your word says, I pray that you will reflect your light upon her face, and as you do, I pray that she will NEVER be ashamed. Help her to have opportunities to find purpose in her pain and to allow others to benefit from her story. I pray that she will begin to feel the freedom to authentically be her true self without fear of anyone’s opinion. I pray Lord that her self worth will not come from her Earthly performance but that she will feel worthy in you, her Heavenly Father that loves and adores her so much. I pray that she finds the power in exposing her shame and finding your light. Thank you for loving my sweet sister just the way that she is Lord. I pray that she will know that she has been created and destined for this time and that she will access the gifts and calling that you have for her life.

I surrender my life situations to your will God and will use my pain for your purposes. I will continue to look towards you so that I am radiant and never ashamed. Thank you for being such a loving and caring father. Thank you for carrying things that you don’t have to but chose to do so anyways.

Be the One Who Finds the Gold

I learned a few things today about the person that I want to be.

Today was full of the end of the school year stress where you are “putting away” this year to prepare for the next.

I realized that there were other things that I wanted to put away other than the desks, chairs, rugs, lamps, and school supplies.

In my closet I want to put away the fear of what the future might hold. Really the only thing that it holds is me- captive. I want to place it on the shelf next to my pencil sharpener and close the door. I want to take the next step, whatever that may be, knowing and trusting that God has plans to prosper me and to give me a hope and a future.

In my filing cabinet I want to file other’s opinions. The purpose of my file cabinet is to hold things that I eventually throw away. I wouldn’t be upset if that were the same scenario for this particular file also.

I want to put any anxiety and stress in my desk drawer; closing it up to be contained.

Sweeping away any doubts or “what-ifs”, dusting off the negativity, and trashing all of my insecurities.

The person that I want to be is just passed all of these things that hold me back from becoming her.

I want to be the person that likes all of your pictures on social media.

I want to buy from your small business just to show you that I believe in your work.

I want to be the person that encourages you when things didn’t go as planned; because really, what we think didn’t work out God is using to work it out.

I want you to have another baby if that is what your heart wants.


I want you to buy that house, or sell your house,

or go back to school, or learn a trade,

or get married, or not get married,

or lose the weight, or love the body you’re in,

or travel, or stay in your hometown,

or take the job, or quit the job,

I want to be the person that understands that everyone’s life season will look differently.

I want to show I know that my passions, dreams, and plans are not the same as yours; and that is ok.

I want you to be the best you.

I want you to be the happiest you.

I want you to be the most fulfilled you.

And I want you to live unapologetically.

Not sorry for choosing what you chose; even if what you chose didn’t work out the way that you wanted it to.

We all need people that are willing to embrace other people’s successes and encourage them when it seems like a failure.

We need more people that are more concerned with others happiness and less interested in the life society tells us we are supposed to have.

I want to be your biggest fan and your proudest cheerleader in every season that you go through.

None of us have all of this life thing figured out. It won’t all work out perfectly, but it will all perfectly work out.

Keep striving.

Keep pushing.

The view at the top is worth the climb.

Let’s normalize it being ok for everyone to be in a different season of life.

You took a new job? Good for you!!!

You quit your old job? Good for you!!!

You’re staying at your current job!!! Good for you!!!

Let’s bring the joy and support back to “to each his own”.

Get in other people’s corner!!!

Mama you made it to the end of the week. And if you’re like me, your dishes are piled high and the laundry is overflowing.

But can I just tell you something??? Leave. It. There. It’s ok!!

And you know that snarky comment someone made to you this week that stung your inner core?? leave it there too!

And you know those bags of guilt and shame you’ve been carrying around ?? leave it.

Those people that aren’t getting on board with your hopes and dreams?? Yep, leave em’!

Those lies satan has whispered to you all week about how unworthy and invaluable you are? leave them!

Unclench your jaw.

Yes right now, relax your face.

Drop your shoulders.

Close your eyes and exhale this week.

Release it all to your heavenly father who cares for your every heartache and concern.

I pray sweet sister in Christ that this weekend is full of peace and rest for your soul. I pray that a refreshing and a new anointing would cover you in Jesus’ name. I pray that you receive the renewed strength that he is offering to you. I pray that your next steps will be made with ease and that the enemies lies would be silenced.

Rest in his holy presence. Lay back against him and breathe, feel his heart beat.

What if your social media page wrote its self?

“Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now. Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.” Matthew 10:27-31

I heard this quote the other day, “The devil wants to shame you in the area God is most likely trying to use you”. -Christine Caine

So I started to think about the areas of my life that have been shamed, I am sure you have those too; those deep parts of yourself that you don’t want anyone to know about.

Because then everyone would know that you really don’t have it all together, even though you make “hot mess” jokes from time to time.

But what if we really just vulnerably put our TRUE selves out there?

What if there is healing not only four ourselves but for other people in the testimonies that we try to bury the world from?

What if there is freedom just on the other side of revealing your truth?

What if people were real, and the imperfect-ness of social media was exposed?

What if your social media page wrote its true, authentic, self?

What would your status say?

What would be posted on your wall?

With trembling hands, I write my truth.

I am so tired of the devil shaming me in the areas that I am afraid people will find out about.

I admire people who can be authentically themselves, transparent, and free from other’s opinions.

I want to be the woman that only concerns herself with what Jesus thinks of her

So here’s my truth;

I am insecure.

People say that I am loud, overt, and social.

Authentically, I am most comfortable when I am alone.

I struggle with anxiety; social, separation, non situational, situational…

The enemy uses my anxiety to ATTEMPT to keep me from doing God’s work.

I sometimes allow “what if” scenarios to spiral out of control.

I have been in talk therapy since I was nineteen years old.

I want another baby but the depression that I had with my first two was so debilitating, I’m not really sure that I could make it through another pregnancy.

Sometimes I struggle with my purpose in life.

I get discouraged with the purpose of this blog.

My marriage has faced some effortful times.

Self worth is often astray.

Can we normalize being authentically real?

Can we stop allowing the enemy to shame us?

Can we just shine a light on these things, call them out, and move on.

There has to be freedom and self acceptance in speaking your truth.

I am in no way minimizing the God that we serve by speaking my truth.

I am just simply losing the grip the enemy has over my struggles.

I apologize for anyone that may have mislead you into believing that christians do not have struggles.

That is not true.

Being a christian gives you a loving father who never leaves you in your problems.

I have seen miracles.

I have received miracles.

I believe that God can heal every area of my life.

I also believe that God gives us wisdom to help ourselves.

If you want to lose weight are you going to pray to lose it and sit on the couch eating Cheetoes?

or are you going to use what God has given you to make the results happen?

My struggles are some of the very things that keep me in constant communion with the holy spirit.

God has given me the tools to rebuke the enemies schemes, to call peace to my mind, and to speak joy into my soul.

I pray that these battles that I have fought on my knees will one day be a testimate for someone battling the same things.

I pray that other women will begin to authentically choose the person that is truly them and not the one that is fabricated on social media.

I pray that people will start to speak their truth, aligned with God’s truth, in an effort to help other women.

So Satan you can take this shame somewhere else.

Because here it all is.

This is me.

An open book.

My very authentic, imperfect, self.

Redeemed and set free by a God who is perfect in every way.

Kingdom Kids VS. a Willful World

Have you ever felt like you were THE worst mom ever?

I mean, I could possibly have all of you trumped on the mom guilt right now…

It is a VERY strong 10.

Let me just “spill the tea”.

My four year old sleeps in her own room and as she falls asleep she watches TV.

For the last few days I had been saying that I would not let her watch it if her behavior did not improve.

I’ve prayed and asked God for guidance as to how to handle the things that she has been struggling with.

& even still, I question if I handled it the right way.

You see, I have one of those kids that says “just spank my butt so I can watch my T.V”… the strong willed type.

If you know, you know.

& if you don’t know, then I am so sorry that you do not get to experience the passion and eagerness that these children have.

It truly is a blessing… it just sometimes has to be redirected.

Anyways, as she quoted back scripture to me on the baby monitor because she was so upset

“I sought the Lord”

“and he answered me”

“he delivered me”

“from all my fears”

Psalm 34:4

over, and over, and over,

I start to think about how God must feel when he has to redirect our steps.

My heart was literally BREAKING as she apologized and asked for another chance.

Every part of my being wanted to remove her from the punishment, just as I am sure GOD wanted to remove his son from the cross.

& then I realized that I am parenting in the same way that GOD parents his children.

I am sure that our Heavenly Father wants to take our trials and tribulations from us, and he has the power to do so; just like I had the power to turn the TV on.

But there was more to be gained in the TV being off, than if I had simply turned it on.

Her crying would have stopped, she would have fallen asleep, the night would have been easier on me…

but then what about every day after that?

It was necessary that she go through the trial so that we could all experience the outcome.

& just from a situation of having to discipline my own child,

I understand why people worship GOD when everything around them is falling apart.

Because HE knows what is best for us and HE knows what trials we need to go through in order to get the outcome.

If our Heavenly Father loves me as much as I love that little four year old across the house, (and he does by the way) then every circumstance that I am faced with must have a purpose.

Mamas, we have an assignment.

& the due date is getting nearer and nearer.

I’m raising a warrior, and not for this world but for the next one.

I don’t know where you are at today in your motherhood…

I have had seasons of motherhood where I have felt like my husband and I have done everything right.

& then there are seasons where I have felt like I haven’t done anything right at all.

Can I remind you of a few things tonight mama?

  1. They need your parental guidance before they need your friendship
  2. The best things for your child are not always the easiest things for you
  3. Spiritual parenting requires seeking spiritual guidance
  4. Spiritual parenting reflects the love of The Father
  5. They still love you
  6. Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities
  7. You are enough for them
  8. Your children were divinely assigned to you
  9. You are CHOSEN and EQUIPPED to be their mama
  10. No one else can meet their needs the way that only you can

Boldly and courageously do what is necessary to ensure those babies become who God has created them to be.

It’s not about being the “cool” mom, but being the Christ like mom.

It’s not about being the “stylish” mom, but being the saved mom.

It’s not about pleasing others, but pleasing God.

It’s not about today’s culture but about the CROSS.

It’s not about the gains of this world but it’s about the glory of the gospel.

It’s not a religion, it’s redemption.

Because, one day the Messiah is coming back for us, and when he takes me with him, it is my responsibility to make sure that my children make it to the right eternity.

& tonight that started with turning off the TV.