Reckless love. It is a necessity. Our kids are longing for it. And so is the parent sitting next to you. None of us deserve a reckless love. No one can earn a reckless love. Yet, when we were a foe, He still loved us. If we are privy to such a love, we must be that much more willing to give it all away.
I ran into a friend in the shaving cream aisle at Target. We hadn’t seen each other in quite some time and started to catch up. She was overwhelmingly exhausted due to motherhood. I, being on the other side of motherhood, was able to tell her it wasn’t always going to be this way. And what better place to talk our motherhood whoas out then with a Starbucks and red cart? Am I right?!?!
When I got home, I had a vision. I remembered what I felt like when I was in the throws of motherhood. At one point, I had an infant, one year old, and four year old. Even though I loved being a mom, I felt depleted and exhausted most days. I got the vision of a tree in the winter. The branches are stark. The tree is barren. Nothing is blooming. Then, all of a sudden, as spring nears, a bloom bops through. And another bloom. And another until the tree is full of wondrous colors.
The tree is me. I felt stark and barren when the boys were little giving my everything to them. I was depleted. As the boys got older, I began to rediscover myself. All of a sudden, one bloom popped out. Then another. And another until my tree was full again.
Motherhood is magical. It is also exhausting. We tend to neglect and reject ourselves in order to care for these precious souls entrusted to us. At some point, though, our barren trees need to bloom again. That won’t happen unless you’re willing to water it.
It is time we stop neglecting and rejecting ourselves.
Our trees will remain desolate as long as we neglect and reject ourselves. For some reason, we have convinced ourselves that sacrificing all of us is what motherhood (and life) is about. I am here to tell you that you are no good to those kiddos (or anyone for that matter) if you don’t love yourself.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4-5
God loved you before he created the world. Can you believe that? He wanted you to be a part of his family because it made him happy. No matter how depleted, exhausted, unworthy, or depressed you may feel today, know that the God of the universe loved you so much that he thought of you before he placed on star in the skies. He loves you so much that he created you to be a part of his family because it makes him happy.
You are worthy to bloom. You were never meant to stay in a barren season. There is something in you that he created that brings him great joy. Stop neglecting and rejecting yourself and find that thing.
You are worthy of more.
It is time your barren tree starts to bloom. There is too much beauty within you to be withheld.
Stop neglecting and rejecting yourself and bloom.
We need you to bloom.
Love & Blessings,
Have you ever been so devoted to your point of you, your way of living, or what you thought to be true that you cannot see any other way?
Or, have you ever picked up a Bible or book, began reading, and felt like you were reading another language?
What happened when you finally saw another way? How did you feel? Freedom? Relief? Fear? Frustration?
There is a guy in the Bible named Paul. He was once known as Saul; a well-educated man who condemned Christians. He not only condemned them but murdered them.
Until, he met God.
Paul while highly educated, was spiritually blind. He could not see the goodness of God. So, God physically blinded Paul for a moment. (You can find his story here Paul’s Journey https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+9%3A1-19&version=NIV )
Paul could not see through someone else’s lens. He was blind to the other side. Because of this, he lived a life of condemning others for their lifestyle and beliefs. It wasn’t until God physically blinded him that he began to really see.
We are no different from Paul. We have our blinders on only seeing through our lens subconsciously condemning those who don’t live, work, or believe like us.
What lens do you look through?
When we stay stuck looking only through our lens, we become part of the problem. When we refuse or exclude ourselves from seeing through someone else’s lens, we shift from grace to condemnation. We lose the ability to love well when we only see through our own lens.
When we refuse or exclude ourselves from seeing through someone else’s lens, we shift from grace to condemnation
What lens are you looking through? When hard issues come your way, are you more apt to see from the other side or stay stuck in your corner?
When we enable ourselves to look through someone else’s lens, we open the door to opportunity: opportunity to show others the love and grace we know and experience every day.
Saul was blind. He only allowed himself to see through his own lens. Because of this, he spent part of his life murdering people for their beliefs. The moment he became Paul was the moment not only his life, but so many lives changed. Paul is one of the greatest authors and missionaries of the New Testament. Countless lives are changed for eternity all because he chose to look through someone else’s lens.
Don’t be afraid to see from another side. It isn’t something to fear. It doesn’t mean they are going to convert you or take over in all their “badness”. Allowing yourself to see from someone else’s lens opens the door to eternity. I want to be a part of that. Don’t you?
Take the scales off your eyes.
Expand your lens.
Open the door to hope.
Love & Blessings,
"For you formed me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139: 14
The new year brings a desire for a new you. Whether that be a new body, mind, or spiritual thing, we all tend to make goals at this time. We don’t always speak them out loud or even acknowledge our need for change, but it is there. Many of us want more: more structure, more organization, more exercise, more healthy eating, more calm and loving parenting. We strive to do better and be better. While that is not a bad thing (to do better and be better), our strategy may be a little off.
We are constantly told how we can do better and be better. Our inboxes are flooded with the latest craze to a healthy lifestyle or the ten ways to move up in our careers. Our social media feeds seem to read our minds and strategically place ads that are like cryptonite to our floundering souls. It is hard for us to turn off the noise. So very hard.
What if doing better and being better doesn’t look anything like what society and culture are telling us? What if we can actually DO and BE better without all that nonsense? I believe we can.
A healthy you isn’t equal to a smaller pant size.
A healthy you isn’t obtained by climbing the corporate ladder.
A healthy you isn’t maintained by having everything in its place at all times.
A healthy you isn’t found in striving.
A healthy you is found in resting in who you were created to be. A healthy you is obtained when we stop striving and start living. A healthy you is discovered when you realize the season you are in and accept it as good. A healthy you starts not in what the world tells us to do to get healthy, but rests solely on His truths and His promises for our lives.
Your value does not lie in the number on the scale.
Your worth is not secured by what you do or don’t do.
You are worthy because you are His.
A healthy you starts with a healthy mindset. A healthy mindset is found in Him: knowing that you are loved just because you are you. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Let’s start there. Let’s start by accepting we are loved so that we may love ourselves.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You cannot do anything to become healthier until you accept this; until you start loving yourself. You cannot love yourself fully until you realize that you are loved; loved no matter what just because you are YOU.
We can all chase that smaller pant size, cleaner home, or big promotion, but it won’t fill us. We will obtain these goals and then what? If we don’t love ourselves because He first loved us, we will never be filled. And if we are never filled, we will never find true health.
A healthy you is found in love. Knowing that you are loved by a Savior created with purpose, on purpose, and for a purpose. Find a healthy you this year by finding love: love for yourself just because you are YOU.
Love & Blessings,
I have a word. A couple of years ago, I jumped on the word-of-the-year bandwagon. Just like the colored jeans and booties trends, it took me awhile to catch on. What can I say? I tend to be a stubborn rebel unwilling to immediately accept the fads of the day. I will say, that once I accepted the word challenge, I was all-in.
My word for 2018 was, “expectant.” I started a new journey chasing after a dream I’d been talking about for a loooooooong time. The word, expectant, came as I said, “yes”. The moment I stepped into the reality of taking my dream to a goal, I became expectant; expectant of what the Lord was going to do. I mean, he called me into this place. Surely, I could expect great things from him.
As 2018 was coming to a close, I revisited my word a few times. If I’m being honest, it stung. I had high expectations and most went unfulfilled. Yes, exciting and wonderful things happened throughout 2018. I learned so much, grew more than I have in a very long time, and was given incredible opportunities. However, my ministry didn’t blow up like I had imagined. It didn’t grow as quickly as I desired. I was expectant, and, if I am being frank, 2018 did not meet my expectations.
Ouch. Once I started processing my disappointments, I realized why I was disappointed; why it didn’t seem that God met my word for the year. I created the expectations. I decided what this year would look like and told God, “Here’s what I got. Now make it happen.”
Ever been there? Ever tell God your expectations; given him the script and told him to make it work?
Once I realized what I had done, I prayed. I knew I needed to have a chat with God about my control issues. After admitting my wrong-doing, I asked God to show me where he exceeded my expectations; where he fulfilled the dreams in my heart. Do you know what I found? A year full of gifts.
I believe God gives us words. I believe he speaks to everyone in the way they need to hear. I absolutely believe my word, expectant, was from him. It was my gift from him for the new year. What I did with that word, however, was on me not him. He gave me a year that went above and beyond my expectations. I was just blind to it because I manipulated my word.
Do you have a word for 2019? I do. I actually have a word and a phrase…I think. When you find your word, lay it down. It is time we surrender our words. He gives them to us as a gift. When we lay it down, we get to open that gift with each new day. Don’t underestimate God by trying to control your word. Don’t limit the possibilities of your word by trying to write the rest of the narrative. Find your word. And lay it down.
LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23
Love & Blessings,
A few times in history, we unite in emotion and human will. Events occur single-handedly stopping time. We unite in feelings, thoughts, and an unstoppable motivation to do better and be better for humanity. For my generation, that time is 9/11. For others, it’s Kennedy’s assassination or the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those around the world are united fighting for the wane of suffering. It’s there. For all of us.
There is another time in history in which all humanity stopped and gasped. I often wonder what it felt like the night Christ was born. CNN was not there to report on the horrific birth conditions. FOXNews didn’t show up to share the good news. It was a quiet night. But, I still wonder if the earth shook. Did it stop on its axis?
One of my very favorite Christmas songs is, “O Holy Night.” One line in that song clenches my attention like no other.
“And the soul felt its worth”
The Lord appeared and the soul finally felt its worth.
Do I feel my worth? Do you?
I wonder what you and I would feel that beautiful night the sky beautifully lit with stars as far as the eye could see. Would we feel our worth the moment our Savior was born? Do we feel our worth the moment we decide to follow Him? Do we realize that his birth was meant so we may feel our worth?
This season, when I look to the night sky remembering a baby born in a manger to a teen mom, I want my soul to feel its worth. If I don’t allow myself to feel my worth in him, then his birth is meaningless for he came for me; for you.
I pray we all exhale Christmas morning. That our breath reminds us of our fullness. I pray we feel united in the glory of God when we look up at the vast night sky spotting the North Star. I pray we find our worth as we walk through the journey of this advent season. We are worthy because a teenage girl unabashedly said yes to God. We are worthy because a teenage boy decided to walk alongside his pregnant fiance. We are worthy because he was born. Feel your worth this Christmas for through him and by his birth, you are worthy.
” O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name”
Love & Blessings,