Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rock Eternal

"She's fighting back.  She won't be taken down. Her God will prevail and do a good work in her."

Those are the words that are seeping into my heart today. 

I may be battling, struggling, on rocky ground....

Waiting.
Seeking.
Listening.
Searching.

I do have way too many browser tabs open in my head/heart and am seeking to simplify my heart and mind.  I am struggling to find balance with meeting more needs than I can meet on my own. I do have some muck and mire to wade through.  I do have some areas that I need to surrender to God to allow Him to do His work.

However, I know one of my biggest issues is that I've lost some of my "fire" because I'm not seeking Him above all things.  I have once again found myself focusing on situations and circumstances and I'm focusing on the storm, instead of the Master!

But when I come back to the simplicity and shut out the rest of everything...I find Him.  Already just waiting on me.  He's not that hard to find, I'm just guilty of looking everywhere else first.

I tend to have a bad habit of getting caught up in the opinions of others too much.  Even though it matters FAR less as I get older, I do find myself caught up in it much too much.  When I begin to let the opinions of others shape me, I quickly find myself in a pit.  One that drags me deeper, quickly.

I tend to overthink. (Ha, really?)  I tend to worry.  (Gets me no where, like a rocking chair!).  I try to control too many things.  (Surely not!).  I tend to look at the things going wrong instead of celebrating the victories much too often.

So, as I go back to the basics.  Go back to the truths.  Go back to the goodness He has always provided. 

I find Him.  Waiting on me.

Ready to provide peace.  Restore brokenness.  Speak to my heart. Correct in love.

Whether I'm too busy to be in His word or in a season of life that is really chaotic and hard to focus (raising children IS chaos no matter what ages and stages!), I can't let that be an excuse.  Because, frankly, it is NOTHING but an excuse.  A pretty lame one.  Because in His word...

IS life.
IS peace.
IS answers.
IS hope.
IS....

Everything.

It's a choice. 

To renew my heart.  Renew my mind.  Communicate.  Drink from the fountain.

Yesterday, I got in His word.  With the wrong attitude at first.  Just the let's "get this done" and over type attitude....and I got nothing.  Duh!!!  Then I did a heart check and went back with a teachable heart and the words filled my heart.  Over and over.  Answers and encouragement I needed just flowed from the pages.

Today, I found myself quickly slipping into a mindset that I didn't want to get a grip on me because I had read something on facebook that irritated me and caused my mind to wander to places that I'm seeking for God to restore.  I had to make a choice:  get deeper in the negativity (even though I would choose not to confront this person or verbally say anything in response----it was still creating havoc in my own heart) or transform my thought process. Making a choice to step away and refocus. 

THIS time, I made the right choice. 

I recognized the trigger, replaced it with truth, and learned.

It truly is about the renewing of the heart and mind.  Making choices that are healthy!  What I read wasn't the problem.  My reaction to it was the problem.  What I allowed it to do in my heart and mind was the problem.

I constantly gravitate to words of scripture that remind me of the power of the mind and transforming it.  You'll see those written in various places around our home.  Mostly because I NEED the reminder.  I NEED to make the right choices and refocus my heart, mind, and priorities.

Today, I put in a Seeds Family Worship CD---a fantastic tool that I originally bought for our children, but quickly found it shaping my own heart even more.  I just told my daughter to grab one out of the stack and put it in because I needed to change the direction of my heart.  She happened to choose the 3rd one "Praise".   Immediately, my heart did change.  Drowning out the frustration.  Calming my heart.

Then...

I kid you not....

The CD got stuck on a song.  On repeat.  Over and over.  Yes, it's probably just a scratch or finger print (I do have multiple kids that aren't the most gentle with things!), but I also believe that the Holy Spirit can open our hearts in different ways.  He just happened to grab mine deeper with a song STUCK on repeat. 

The verses just grabbed me and held me tight.  So very needed! Clinging to them like never before.

(The Song is The Rock Eternal taken from Isaiah 26:3-4)

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal."

That is a POWERFUL passage.  That is where my heart and mind need to focus.  Peace comes from trusting Him.  He is the anchor.  He is the ROCK. 

Look away from the situations.
Look away from the triggers that pull me away from Him.

Focus back on Him.

My mind will become steadfast (unwavering, immovable, firmly fixed, focused, faithful) when I TRUST in Him.  In perfect peace.  Contentment. A place of stability.

That is WHAT I need.

That is ALL I need.

Answers:  waiting right in scripture!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bumperguards

I tend to write from a place of vulnerability and honesty. 
Bare with me as this post seems to be stepping deep into that honesty....

I'm walking around as a liar.

Well, at least that is what it feels like.

The last few months have been a time of struggle. 

It's been incredible steps forward in faith and growth. 

Followed by....

Crash.
Burn.
Collision.
Tumbling down.

Doubts. 

Just struggles of faith.

On the outside, life has looked great.  AND it truly has been.
Yet, on the inside...

It's been one storm after another.

My kids have jokingly called me their psycho mother. Though in a joking manner that we do all laugh at together about, reality is they've pretty much nailed it.

My boys purchased inexpensive R/C cars this weekend with their own money.  Though my older son has an expensive "professional" type car that he worked and saved for, he doesn't play with it often because there is always a piece breaking and needing replaced.  Constantly needing repairs that are out of budget. My younger son is just learning to really drive them on his own, so he wanted one that he could play with and not worry so much about tearing up. Knowing that we just don't often go out and make purchases, he knew that he would have to use his own money. 

This morning, he brought me his car and was so proud of what he had done.



He had taken electrical tape and covered the edges and created basically bumper guards.  As he's learning to drive, he was quickly learning that he was scratching the paint.  He wanted to protect his "investment" during the transition phase.

When he handed it to me, I immediately felt the weight of the same thing in my own heart.

I've been walking around with my own bumper guards.  Having dealt with unexpected trials and some very painful experiences in recent months, I had put many guard rails back up in my own life. 

I'd stop investing in others as much emotionally.  I poured into my husband and family, but began to step away from those outside my walls because I didn't want to risk feeling more hurt. I'd reached the point that I just didn't think I could handle anymore.  Self protection mode.

We stopped praying for direction and doors to open as often in our desires to be on the foreign mission field because our direction has so obviously taken a detour as plans changed. To protect myself, I stopped reading my favorite blogs or interacting with those that are currently living out life in the way that we desire to be doing.  As my heart still yearns for Africa, I pretty much stopped following anything to do with it. 

Church---I'm just not as involved as I was.  Some of that is for a good reason because there are current situations that require me to be more present in my own children's lives, investing in them as my first and most important ministry.  Yet---it's also an excuse on some levels.  My enthusiasm about attending has also been squashed as we have found ourselves floating and looking for our right fit again. Reality is----I'd also allowed walls to be built back up around my heart as I've had doubts of faith creep in.  Not whether I believe in God, but whether or not I trust His plan.  Saying I do and walking it out in faith are two different things.

I've watched families fall apart. Literally.  I've watched marriages dissolve at such a rapid rate that it seemed like every time I picked up my phone or turned on my computer, someone else was hurting so deeply.  I've watched multiple friends face grief over the death of a child, spouse, parent, dear friend, etc... 

I've gone back in protection mode.  Pulling away.  Wrapping myself in bubble wrap. Shutting out and shutting down.

Then...

Things happened to rip those off.  Not one little layer at a time.  Not slowly and with ease. 

Ripped.

I've been walking around feeling broken and empty, yet on the outside happy.  I've had joy and I've had moments of growing faith, but on the inside....

It's been turmoil.

Depression crept back in. 
Dissatisfaction and discontentment have tried to rear their ugly heads.
Comparison traps have snagged me more than once.
Anger, bitterness, and so many lies from the enemy have been speaking louder and louder.

Over the weekend, despite having just enjoyed an amazing week with my family and some precious visitors....

I broke.

Just literally broke. 

I found myself at the bottom of that ugly pit. Reality trampled out and replaced with darkness.

But...

Thank you, Lord, ....

For the one that you gave me to love me through the valleys and to celebrate on the mountaintops with.

For the TRUTH of who I am, who YOU are, and YOUR goodness in all situations.

For the friends that see beyond what's on the outside and hang with me through the clawing back out to be the one you designed.

Thank you most of all for the life-lines of hope and strength.  For tying the knots of the rope to hang on and climb. For the reminders that there is purpose in the times of struggle and that broken vessels are Your Specialty. 

Today, I'm not fully back to myself.  Wounds still ache and doubts still remain, but the voices of truth and the reaching of His healing hand is felt more powerfully than ever before.

I have no doubts that as He rebuilds, reshapes, and chisels out His plan---it will be a masterful one. I may only see a thread or two right now, but someday when I can step back and see the full tapestry.  It. Will. Be. Beautiful. 




Friday, July 11, 2014

Reshaping Broken


Life lately:

It's been hard.
It's been amazing.

It's been trying.
It's been a season of growing.

It's been a time of reevaluation.
It's been a time of gratitude.

It's been eye opening and heart changing.

It's been beautiful.
It's been draining.

It's been slow.
It's been fast.

It's just been....

Ordinary and extraordinary.

I've never been more content and yet longing for some specific things at the same time.

I love where we are in life right now.  We are drained, exhausted, and battling some pretty big mountains.

Yet, it's where we're finding God, each other, and a hunger and thirst for the simple, the purposeful, and the direct source of all things. The well of living water.

We're finding Him. Even in the swirling of chaos. In seasons of change.  In times of uncertainty.  In the rat race.

I'm finding just how beautiful redemption is.  How broken pieces can be put back together.  The repaired vessel may not look the same, may not even serve the same purpose...but oh my...it can have value and beauty. 

In the quiet lately, I've thought often of the brokenness of life.  Some of the deepest valleys I've been through or that my husband and I have faced together.  I've thought of the times that we just knew we wouldn't make it together in situations or we felt like our faith wouldn't stay intact through trails that seemed too hard to handle.

I was wrong.

Strength comes from brokenness. 
JOY comes from pain.
It DOES really take some brokenness to gain strength.

It really does.

It most definitely doesn't feel like it in the process and maybe even many years after the fact. But...dear ones....it does....some day.  Perhaps even when you least expect it.

Exactly a week ago, an "anniversary" date of a very negative event in my life came and went.  For what seemed like a lifetime, this situation felt like it defined me.  It broke me.  It broke some plans in my life.  It changed me.  Even years beyond the time that I felt like I had healed the majority of the scars, it still shaped me.  In many ways, it shaped me for the better (after LOTS of time had gone by).  It closed doors that needed to be closed (perhaps some never should have opened to begin with) and with time it opened doors God had intended from the beginning.  But....  I still felt like it defined me. 

I found that for the first time, I didn't even find myself thinking about this dark time.  It came and went without even a flash.  Life was busy and I didn't really have time to slow down and think about much of anything to begin with, but that typically hasn't mattered.  It wasn't until after the fact that I realized the day had come and gone without even a flash of regret, hurt, or anything of the such. 

It was a defining moment. 

I realized that the broken pieces had been put back together and sealed.  No longer leaking along the glued places.

What I realize is that God had been at work in the healing for many years, but the vessel was finally ready to be held together without resistance.  Just like when I'm repairing something like a broken chair or picture frame (which we tend to have lots of experience in this house with!), the clamp/grip is necessary for a certain amount of time.  It's needed to hold the pieces in place while the glue has time to dry and strengthen.  God has been that grip on my heart for many years as I've navigated through multiple difficult places.  On this particular broken place, it feels like He knew I was ready to have that clamp removed.  It was time.

And the brokenness was ready.

Realizing how much more I need to allow that to happen in other areas.  Ready to feel the grips released and see the new vessel.  See the new purpose.  Find out the hidden strength. 

Ready to be reshaped, renewed, and reliant on Him.

I am redeemed. 

Time to walk in that redemption.










Thursday, June 19, 2014

Get Fit (Wisdom)

I'll be honest.  My time in scripture has been a struggle the last couple of weeks.  I recently finished going back slowly through the NT start to finish highlighting and taking notes.  Having completed the Bible in 90 days program multiple times as a reader and as a leader, I craved the going back through slowly and soaking it in.  Finishing left me floundering with "what now".  I couldn't get back into a rhythm and my focus was lacking.  I tried a couple of "plans" but didn't last more than a day or two because I just couldn't connect.

Then....

He took me back to Proverbs.

One of the places He can work the greatest power in my life. 

This morning, He reached in and grasped my heart and started shaping and directing and I'm  ready to see what He has waiting.

He really grabbed me in the beginning of chapter 2 (specifically verses 1-5). 

Though I've read those words numerous times, they really got my attention today.

Those verses are COVERED in action verbs.  Every few words are words that require action.

If you want to lose weight, get healthy, etc...  you have two ways to effectively do it and it last long term.  No quick fixes, but real long term lifestyle changes.  You change the way you eat and you get active.  To get fit, you have to change what you put in your body and how you move your body.  No overnight miracle drugs.  No quick results.

After reading those verses, the same thing hit my heart about wisdom.  I have to change the way I feed my mind/heart and I have to get active. 

ACCEPT my words
STORE up my commands within you
TURNING your ear
APPLYING your heart to understanding
CALL out for insight
CRY aloud for understanding
LOOK for it
SEARCH for it

....THEN you WILL understand the fear of the LORD

The rest of the chapters goes on to tell about the incredible benefits of His wisdom.

It doesn't say wisdom will just happen.  It doesn't say it's a gift handed over without effort.  Not arbitrarily given. 

Weight loss doesn't happen by just looking at the scale. 

Wisdom isn't going to happen just by holding His word in my hand.  It HAS to be in my heart.   I have to crave it.  I have to seek it with all I have.  Put His word into action.  Walk in His ways obediently. 

I can't do that if my eyes are off of Him and focused on circumstances, doubts, or fears. 

I can't do that if I'm harboring bitterness, anger, jealousy, etc...

I can't do that if I'm not applying His words to my life. 

It just isn't possible. 

I can't sit down with a gallon of ice-cream or box of doughnuts if I want to be healthy. 

I can't sit on the couch with my feet propped up if I want to be heart healthy.

Neither can I act in wisdom that I greatly desire if I'm not actively pursing Him.  Running after Him.  Feasting in His word.  Fasting from worldly pleasures. Pouring out of myself to find Him.

It's just not going to "just" happen without the effort. 

Nor are results going to happen completely overnight.  Granted, I believe that He does pour out wisdom at times because I've experienced His strength in my weakest moments and His direction spoken clearly to my heart when I've needed it most. However, if I want that to be the NORMAL instead of the UNEXPECTED, I have to actively be getting fit.  Fit through Him. 

A daughter seeking wisdom.

His child.

Soaking Him in.

Accepting. Storing. Turning. Applying. Seeking. Calling out. Crying out. Looking. Searching.

Monday, June 16, 2014

"Let it Go!"

It's been a month of being "quiet" so to speak. 

Not much in the blogging world and not so much in facebook world other than posting pictures of life with our family and life with our sweet littles.

But...

Oh my.

My heart has been anything but quiet.

It's been screaming.  It's been screeching.  It's been tugging.  Pulling. Reshaping.

I finally found the right words to describe where it's been. 

"Let it Go!"

Now, if you haven't been living in seclusion and have any access to children, these three words may haunt you, especially in sing song form.  If you've been around any children in the last few months, you've probably heard this song from "Frozen" a few hundred million times.  As a matter of fact, this song may have been sung or lip-synched by ADULTS just as many times. 

I realized that these words have become the anthem of life lately. 

It's been a process of letting go.

But...

Holy goodness is that hard to do sometimes!

Letting toxic relationships go even though I grieve for what could have been and SHOULD have been. 

Letting go of "my" plans, "my" dreams, etc.. so they can be realigned into HIS plans.  As our specific plans for the mission field have taken a door temporarily closed sign, we impatiently patiently wait for the correct door to open.  Looking for direction and "the" path  He has chosen.  We know without a doubt it is there, we just wait for the correct steps and direction. It most likely looks differently than we expected, but that doesn't make our desires wrong.  He just has a different plan.

Letting go of things I can not control.  Whoa, baby---that's tough for a reformed control freak. Learning that though I say I trust in God (which I whole heartedly do), I still have sticky fingers.  I give it to Him and take it back.  Just like the back and forth motion of a rocking chair, you just don't really make forward progress that way.

Letting go the weight of knowing you can not heal a broken person, broken marriage, broken heart, etc... of those you love and care for.  I can pray and I can support, but the "repair" can only come from Christ and the Holy Spirit.  As a fixer---that's a hard spot to constantly find yourself in. 

Letting go of having things "my" way---and seeking to walk in His grace and mercy instead of demanding things line up "my" way.  Whether it's in regards to future planning, a new school year, scheduling, ministry, daily responsibilities, behavior of those I care for, etc...  Stepping back and learning to let my grasp be held a little less tighter.

Letting go physically as our children move into new stages of life---one nearing adulthood, one about to step into the teen years, and one beginning to make independent choices.  Trusting God with the future and where HE wants them, what HE has designed for them, and completely entrusting....that's a heavy weight, but a necessary one to release.

Letting go as WE are physically entering new stages of life.  As a couple, we approach 40 and 50 this year.  We will have been married 20 years next year. We definitely see ourselves in new ways (most GREAT) and we are learning to let go of who we were, who we are, and seek to be who He wants us to be. 

Letting go of thinking that it "all" falls on me.  Learning that I am responsible for planting the seed, cultivating the soil...BUT HE is the one that makes it grow.  This is becoming especially important in matters of the heart and soul of my children. 

Letting go (though EVER so slowly) of the lies that have plagued my heart for years from listening to the world's version of what my life should be like, the lies of Satan, or the doubts/scars that have taken so long to heal. 

Letting go as the grieving process continues.  Father's Day hit me unexpectedly hard again yesterday.  I keep thinking it won't, but it never fails.  So many losses have been heavy on so many hearts this year and especially recently.  Grieving has become a path that so many are walking.  Life has become heavy for countless.  Teens from my community back home have died in very recent days and recent months, extended family is going through grief from the murder of a young father, multiple families are going through illnesses that medical intervention no longer can help, etc..  Letting go to know that the only way to navigate through such heartbreak is to know that our true place of comfort and rest is in Him.  As I talked about often through our journey with Dad, we for years had talked the talk of faith and now we were having to walk the walk.  Continuing to walk that faith walk and keeping my eyes on Him when my heart gets blinded by the brokenness.

Though I've been letting go, I'm learning there are things that I do not EVER want to let go of.

Just last night, my little guy was snuggled in next to me just before he went up to bed.  The day was officially ending on his 8th birthday (ouch!!!---my youngest is not so itty bitty now!). He hugged me tighter and tighter and I was squeezing back until we both were about to pop.  He said, "Mom, I just don't want to let go."

Oh my. goodness....

If he only knew what his Momma's heart was thinking.

I don't want to let go of those sweet moments either. Just so precious.

I'm not going to let go of the joy that life brings even through disappointment, struggles, and heartache.

I'm not going to let go of my faith in Him.  My desire to know Him more and my desire to be less of me and more of Him. 

I'm not going to let go of the values and beliefs that I hold so dearly, no matter what direction the world says is normal. 

I'm not going to let go of loving passionately and completely, even when at times that love and care from others isn't returned. I'm not going to stop caring and offering of myself, even when it seems one sided effort. This one has been a TOUGH one lately.

I'm not going to let go of raising our children differently.  God entrusted us with these precious blessings and has called us to parent under His direction. 

I'm not going to let go of putting my marriage second only to Christ because of the lessons learned from not having those priorities in proper order. I'm not going to stop being my husband's greatest supporter and cheerleader.  Not going to stop thanking God every single day for the blessing he is in my life.

I'm not letting go of the belief that when one door closes, another one opens.  God's "no" is just a "yes" to something greater. 

Letting go and not letting go. 

That's the dance we are learning. 

And yes----I make no apologies to those that now have "Let it Go" stuck back in their head.

Go ahead. 

Sing it out loud.

As a matter of fact, stand up and dance. 

Big hand motions have bonus points.  After all, one of my two year old littles not only knows the song word for word, but also knows exactly what hand motions to do! She'll also let you know QUICKLY if you mess up on the words.

But I'm singing and dancing anyway.....

I just close the blinds first. 

:) 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Off the Shelf, Out of the Cabinet

In a few months, Kev and I will have been married 19 years.

We've moved 13+ times.  It may have been more, I've truly lost count.

After 3 kids, 2 of which are boys and one of which inherited his mom's klutz genes and bless his heart, broke nearly anything not bolted down (oh wait, he got some of those as well!)...

Very few things from our wedding showers and newlywed days remain unbroken, still working, or not completely worn out.

However, this is one big exception.

I cherish it.

My wedding china.

All except for one plate that specially hangs on the wall with a piece from my grandmother and my stepmother, they are protected.

They are treasured and valued.  They are gently tucked away carefully wrapped, sealed, and cushioned. They are in safe place. 

They only come out for special occasions.  Though I have been purposely redefining what a special occasion is and finding excuses to use them more in the every day, for the most part they stay tucked away.

Only brought out when needed.

Only brought out to impress or set a specific mood.

Only brought out when really thought about.

Only brought out when I want them out.

In many of our homes, in many of our daily lives, we have something else that is quickly becoming treated the same way.

Our Bibles.  Scripture. His Word.

We can tend to pull it out only when needed. We treat it like the special occasion china instead of our everyday Corelle dinner plates. (I finally got a new set for Mother's Day----and oh did that make me smile! That was another last of the original wedding gifts that had been used well beyond its prime!).

If we aren't careful we can pull it out as a means to "impress", but not actually apply.  Being honest and transparent, don't we all have verses that we may can quote or recognize, but seldom faithfully apply to our lives. Ouch.

We may even read it in passing, but we don't cherish it.  We don't protect it. We don't value it like we should.

We don't huger for it.

We don't meditate on it.

We'd rather let someone else read it to us on a Sunday morning or on a favorite blog, but we don't dig in it for ourselves.

When we do, it sometimes is just out of desperation because we feel like we've exhausted every other resource first.  We've sought counsel, we've read books, looked online for answers, talked to countless friends....

But....

We've gone to the SOURCE, last.

We're not even trying to protect it like fine china.  That's not even our excuse.

We're just ignoring it.
Letting life get in the way of our priorities.
Letting the lies of satan speak too us too often and too loud.

We think we don't need it.
We think we can handle things on our own.

Yet, we often wonder why we can't hear from God/why He seems so out of reach?

"O beloved, I plead with you not to treat God's promises as something to be displayed in a museum but to use them as everyday sources of comfort. And whenever you have a time of need, trust in the Lord."  Charles H Spurgeon

We've got to get back to the basics.  We've got to get back to our true source of life. 

Life is hard.  It's messy.  Dreams can fall apart.  Marriages and families are breaking apart.  Right is being professed as wrong, and wrong is being taught as normal.  Life doesn't seem to be black and white, the lines of gray have overtaken.  We get in over our heads.  We have more questions than we even know how to ask.

The only way to navigate life and to grow and THRIVE (not merely survive)...

Is to dig.

Deeper.

Every day in His word.

Not putting it up on a shelf.
Not pulling it out just for Sunday morning (if even then).
Not just grasping on with both hands and all we are worth when storms hit.

We've got to get in it and learn from it EVERY day.  In the calm.  To survive the storm.

Because the storms come.  More often than ever it seems.

We can't give to others what we don't have in our own hearts.  Our own wells are too empty and depleted.

We can't understand our purpose, our calling, our value if we don't know what God has for us.

We can't understand the impact of His mercy and grace if we don't know its value.

We need to get back to finding a thirst that can only be satisfied when we drink deeply from His word.

Even if we don't know where to start, we have to pick it up and start somewhere.

Every time I look at my china hanging on the kitchen wall, I'm reminded that life is too short to keep the rest boxed up, overly protected for "just" the right occasion. 

Every day might just be the best occasion.




 



Friday, May 9, 2014

A Challenge...

We see the news headlines.

 It's in our face 24/7 through social media.

We see it with our eyes and hear it with our ears just walking out the door.

Our world is a scary place to live in and raise children.

We are quick to talk about how the youth of this generation is spiritually/morally bankrupt.

I'm not going to deny that it IS a huge issue.  I'm not going to debate the causes (for now!).

However, I am going to issue a challenge.  I'm accepting the challenge and hope others will as well.

Today....

Find the one. 

Find the teen/young adult that is making smart choices. The one that is making small or big decisions that are putting them on a path that the world doesn't celebrate as normal. The one that is feeling invisible and alone.  The one that is working hard, showing respect, or learning valuable lessons about being a productive adult in an all "about me" society. 

As an adult, it is HARD to live differently than the world at times.  It is exponentially harder to do so as a youth.  We used to call it "peer pressure".  In this day in age, it goes FAR beyond just pressure from peers.  They feel pressure of the entire world.  Literally.

Over the last several weeks, I've listened to my daughter just talk about what she sees in her world.  So many truly broken hearts.  The battles that our sons and daughters face in this world are NOT insignificant and trivial.  Almost daily she shares of someone heavy on her heart that is navigating brokenness.  She often shares of how hard it is for this generation to feel confident to do the right thing, unfortunately even amongst those of faith. 

Listening to her (and even recently to our older son as he every so slowly begins to share things in his world) convicted my own heart.

They NEED our support.
They NEED us.
They NEED someone to simply just say, "I saw that.  Thank you."
They NEED someone to just tell them, "Don't give up."
They NEED someone to just let them know that there is hope through the brokenness.
They NEED to know they are not alone and that we ALL struggle with something.
They NEED a smile, a laugh, a hug.
They NEED to know we are approachable.
They NEED to know WE FAIL.

Today, find the one....the one in your daily life.  The one in the market place that holds the door.  The one that shows up on time and ready to work.  The one that you know made a hard decision, but did the right thing.  The one that chose to dress in a way that shows their inner beauty through modesty (which can still be VERY fashionable), instead of revealing. The one that is studying hard or putting in the extra effort in their extracurricular activity. The one that......

Maybe it's even the one that you don't know well.  The one that you just "sense" needs a bit of encouragement.  We don't necessarily have to know every detail of what is happening to know that they are hurting.

As moms, we often talk about how we might struggle with feeling invisible.  How no one seems to notice or doesn't care about the effort we put in, the sacrifices we make, or how exhausted we are some days.  We can definitely have those days and feelings.  We can often feel deflated and truly just struggle through those emotions.

I think we have a generation of youth feeling the same way.

They need to know we notice and care.

It's easy to overlook them with the headlines around us.  It's easy to overlook them when what we see outside our door draws our attention in a negative way.

Let's challenge ourselves to search for the positives and support it. They need our support. They need the encouragement to keep making the hard decisions. 

They need to know that their light is shining in a dark world.