Monday, February 26, 2018

Are you "Expecting"

Have you ever sat and wondered why things are the way they are?!

I can't even begin to explain why things are the way they are. It makes zero sense to me at all and I genuinely feel like I am walking out Christ's thoughts are not my own. This is nowhere near a cry for help or whoa is me, but seriously this isn't all entirely the life I asked for.

I hoped to be able to provide for my kids without struggle yet I can only remember a year and 4 months where life wasn't a struggle. I remember telling God I don't know what do with the bountiful that was coming our way and that I didn't want to blow having that much, and now I would give anything to have a sliver of what that was.

I realized in that time I really did hole more hope or security into the fact I could pay bills, pay for needs, and had money left over, and now I pray about how to cover 10% tithe and groceries out of the same paycheck.

Why is the struggle so real?
What is the lesson we are to learn at this moment?
What truth of God's provision are we to live the example of?

Because let's be honest the only way we make it day by day is because of his provision. The provision of credit card debt is evident too. Let's not cover up that fact, but the truth is... a way has happened to provide. Maybe not provide fully things that shouldn't have been provided for. I'd love to be debt free again. Maybe someday we can live that way again before my oldest leaves the house. But the truth is we've always had a roof over our heads. Food, whether the healthiest or not, has graced our table, and we haven't lost each other.

We did life backwards.
Our marriage has been anything but easy.

Yet, through it all, in the times of doubt on each other and God.... God always was faithful. I know that even in this time of struggle we didn't count on, God will also still be faithful.

This year I am to "expect."

I don't know what I am to expect but I am expecting to expect, and can't wait to see!

I pray that while you may be struggling that you too are to expect... and know.... that HE WILL SHOW UP!

The flood will come.

And at some point.

The dry season will be over.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ice, Words, and Valleys oh my...

Here in Texas, we are hearing all over the news to drive with caution as an arctic cold front is headed our way that could produce the slightest bit of ice. Ice trucks are prepared for the roads, but mind you there is no real percent of precipitation mentioned.

Yet, they are prepared.

Some may say over-prepared, it has been a while since Dallas saw anything significant in weather, but still, they are ready and telling us to be cautious.

It raises the question though, Are you over prepared for the possibility for anything to come in life? Or are you just taking things day by day and hope that you are prepared.

Before the question raised though I was smacked with a visual. A visual of ice on part of my yard and my dead grass visible on the other part of my yard. I was thinking, man the parallel of this hitting near New Years seems quite symbolic.

It's as if 2017 is being frozen in its tracks; a clear line of ending, and then 2018 beginning.
A thaw of new coming.

The day things are supposed to be thawed out here is January 3rd. The day we take our first trek south for a speech and debate tournament. A new normal for us if you will. A new job a few months ago. New financial low at the end of this year. Promises whispered throughout 2017 though.

I don't know what to make of it all. I don't know what is to come.

This year my husband and I had words laid on our hearts for 2017. His was "change" and mine was the word "still." To think back on all of the change we never saw coming or thought that that word meant back in January brings tears to my eyes.

5 different companies he worked for
Left one job we'd been at for 5 years for what he thought was a better opportunity to be fired 6 months later
2 1/2 months of unemployment
I started working part-time
An entirely new industry for my husband, again
Financial low... lowest in 14 years
Parenting moments we never saw coming

We attended a wedding and a funeral this year. 
This year brought it all.

And through it, all God has never let us fall. Never be without. God math blows my ever loving mind. There was no way that back in January we were prepared for the "change" that God has brought to our land or the "stillness" we felt when the world was fallout out below our feet.

Is Texas ready for this weekend? I don't know. Will they even have anything to be ready for, maybe not this weekend but at some point, something will come. This could just be good practice for them for what is to come.

I have no idea what words for the year my husband and I will hear. The words our children even heard for themselves this last year would give you goosebumps in looking back at what they have walked through as well.

2018 has plans. God wrote them a long time ago. Whatever 2018 holds we will praise Him because in the end... this isn't our eternity anyway, and how we handle the battles before us we help shape the eternity for someone else. What glory are you giving to God in the valley you are walking in? Eyes are watching.

Through our journey this year a story was shared with me of a vision a friend was given during a low in their lives. He asked me to envision a mountainous valley... peaks and valleys. Simple enough right? He then asked me to envision the tree line and asked me where I saw it. "Near the bottom," of course, was my response. He said, "exactly." He proceeded to say, "don't you see it? The growth happens in the valleys, not at the peaks."

I wanted to cry right then and there. In the valley is where we grow. That place we want out of so bad because we are being refined. And even that word hits hard. Refined. But the point remains.... growth happens in the valleys... not on the peaks.

How are you responding to what might possibly be coming your way?
If a valley is what you are currently in or about to walk into, or what you are walking out of remember this is the spot where growth is taking place.
Have you already heard your word for 2018?

Whatever comes your way hold tight to know that "all Your promises are yes and amen!"

Monday, December 18, 2017

I Raise My Ebenezer

We remember the Israelites as they are about to cross the Jordan being instructed to place their Ebeneazers along the shore so they can remember and attest to all that God has done for them. A visual symbol.... a conversation starter if you will... for future generations to ask about and God's goodness to be shared.

Of course in the sharing of His goodness, their struggles also have to be shared.

Do you share yours? Even in the midst of it? Do you place visual Ebeneazers personally or as a family in the midst of a trial but when God's goodness is revealed? Do you journal them down somewhere?

We have a couple of the moments written on paper, and a pile of stones in the backyard we want to bring in. Our youth building at church has a spot where students have laid their Ebeneazers. A great visual reminder to them as they pass of items they are praying for, one's answers, etc.

Do you?

Do you have your Ebeneazers?

How do you share God's goodness in your life with those around you? How do you share Him for His glory to be revealed?

I want to challenge myself to bring the pile of stones inside. To grab our sharpies and go to town having a night of praise and worship as we recall with our children all God has brought us through.

In the same token, I would like to challenge you to do the same.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Feeling defeated and hopeful at the same time...

Have you ever been so paralyzed by inaction that it consumes you, you don't know where to start, and you feel like you missed what you felt God was calling you to do?

Missed opportunities?

Feel too much time has passed?

I am 100% in that season right now. I feel like I have let too may excuses go by those things I felt God wanted me to do I just dropped the ball on but feel so strongly I am to do. I wish person after person succeeds at things I've felt I was to do, and then I get paralyzed with even starting because of the most famous line... "What's the point?"

I watch how destructive this line of thinking has been more and more as I see some of these traits with my daughter even.

This train of thought is so defeating, but I feel I can't offer anything because my budget to keep up with the Jones' doesn't exist. I can't do this, and I can't do that... I can't afford... the list of destructive thinking goes on and on. Let's be honest. However, at the same time... I can root the next guy on to start like no one's business! Then it becomes his business... he becomes successful... and I am still sitting here on the sidelines wondering when is it going to be my turn.

Why is everyone so happy for everyone else making things, etc... but no one notices or hears things I've wanted to do. Family members included. Maybe there is a difference I am missing. Maybe they are going out and making things happen and we are waiting for the perfect lineup so we can do things? I don't know. But I do know I feel defeated.

2017 has been such an interesting roller coaster. The emotions. The ups and downs of every week let alone every day.

This year has taught me that life is not at all what you think it is going to be as if we hadn't learned that already, but that with God it always ends up better than we hoped for.

It's even in Scripture.

So while I've definitely missed the bus on multiple things, to begin with... maybe just maybe there is still time to see God's desires all the way through?

We need more action vs inaction. We need to start making time and priority for and with the resources we have vs excuses or fear.

Fear of failing.

Fear of no one listening or caring.

We've had that for so many years. There is a lot to work through with that. Fear paralyzes in even my prayer life because somedays I just simply don't even know where to begin. I feel so much in my heart but the words come out so jumbled that it doesn't seem to make sense.

I guess there are just so many things on my heart today that I'm waiting for, praying through, and hoping I haven't missed the boat on putting things I've felt God calling me to do. Things I've dragged my feet on, let fear and excuses railroad me, things I've watched others succeed at that I've felt I could do too but haven't. My year of "Still" has felt great but also passed over time and time again. As I also pray over what my word for 2018 is to be; I sit back and reflect on how, in some ways, I've been anything but "still" this year, and in other ways "still" is all I've done. So, I continue to be patient or at least try to be.

What are you waiting for or working through?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Keep walking along...

I don't even know where to begin. Life has been much like a rollercoaster this year. The silence over here in this little space has been so much the opposite of the craziness that has been taking place within the walls of our home.

Lost our job
worked 2 jobs
2 months after losing our job a new job came along
with that multiple whirlwind offers came
I am still working part time at our church
still homeschooling, although not like we are used to

we miss slow at home days of just being
we miss being able to do even simple family things anymore
speech and debate life is about to take over
prayers and more prayers have been going up in regards to business potentials at home

learning hard truths about growing up for parenting and the children
lots of stretching has taken place
God's unweavering provision covered every inch of the last couple months

Life is unpredicatable. Each of these crazy moments are not necessarily ones I would have picked to walk down. The scars and brusies still hurt. The tight chest with conversations still exist although I am sure with time the hesitation may go away. I know without a doubt that God is faithful and has a plan for us but I would be remiss to say that there are still times of walking this incredibly busy time that I still have fear of the rug moving again. 

More change is to come. I'm sure of it. I don't know to what extent but I feel it. 

This year has been nothing like I thought it would be but I rest in knowing it is everything God knew it would be. I don't know what the future holds but I do know who holds the future and he says to keep walking this way. 

So... we will keep walking.