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....


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.


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.


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


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....

Tumbling down.


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.


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


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.


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 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 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.