Keep Going…

The tension I feel between God and me sometimes is palpable. Then I fall into His theoretical lap, mostly ashamed of myself, and allow His love to wash over me. Again. And Again.

I’ve started and stopped this post so many times this week.

What did I want to share? Why did I want to share it? What is the goal or message of the post? Who should read it? I’ve been trying to sort out those questions, as well as formulate words that made sense. I don’t always do either of those things very well. 😉

I want to share about trauma and its aftermath. Unfortunately, my life isn’t short of trauma that I’ve needed to heal and process, but most of that was from my earlier years. For some of it, I was at fault(ish) because of the decisions I was making and the lifestyle I was living. My most recent trauma, though… not my fault.

Last year, on July 3rd, after an incredibly busy day at work – like my busiest one yet – I was finally home, the day before a holiday I already struggle to enjoy, taking a few minutes to relax with my cats on the sofa.

I heard someone come up the steps outside, but didn’t get up… see above sentence. Anyone that might be showing up had a key. No need for me to open the door, though, usually I would.

Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.

I drop to the floor, footsteps running away, cars speeding off, my phone ringing.

My neighbor. Frantic. What was that? Are you okay? What happened?

I don’t know.

I call my kiddo. Where are you? Someone just shot up my apartment.

He’s safe. I call 911.

I won’t revisit the whole event; I’ve already shared about it. But I will say that a year later, I still freak out when I hear someone/something outside my door. That’s probably going to happen for a long while.

On July 5th, we were homeless. Unable to stay there. Unable to stay anywhere. Believe it or not, apartments are hesitant to have renters who’ve had their apartment shot up. I found respite from a friend and slept on her futon for several months, while my kiddo was at a slimy, sleazy, disgusting motel with hookers and drug dealers and addicts. Exactly where he didn’t need to be.

In my previous post about all of this, I talked about being mad at God. And I was. And I got over it. And then I got mad again. And then I got over it. And the cycle just kept going.

The truth is that mad might not be the right emotion. The truth is that a year later when I try to name the emotion, I still can’t. The truth is that I’m still struggling to understand everything. A year later I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. It’s too complex to find a good word to explain it… trying to unwrap all of these emotions is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but I’m committed to doing it.

The tension I feel between God and me sometimes is palpable. Then I fall into His theoretical lap, mostly ashamed of myself, and allow His love to wash over me. Again. And Again.

Aftermath of trauma, whatever that is for each of us, is going to look different. In so many ways, I’m grateful to the point of spontaneous tears when I think about how I normally would’ve stood at the door and how He protected me. I’m also frustrated to the point of spontaneous tears that my life will never be normal again. It will regain the appearance of normal, mostly, as it has with other traumas, but it’ll never be quite the same. No matter what. And I think I’m a little bitter about it. Maybe a lot.

I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to find safety or comfort, even though I’m in a whole new physical place. When I left the other apartment, my only home in TX, I left most of my big things because I needed to go quickly. So I’m sitting on furniture that isn’t mine, and it isn’t comfortable. I have boxes still unpacked, unheard of for me, because I have this weird aversion to feeling settled now. I’ve thought of every reason to leave TX all together. I’ve kept most people at arm’s length for fear of getting too close and then having to leave suddenly.

This aftermath is not okay. I’m struggling to find my way through it. But I am committed to the process. Dear friends, I have no idea what your struggle is today or what you’re processing through, but I’m here to encourage you to keep working it. Keep facing it, day after day. Trying to numb it or run from it isn’t going to do anything but prolong the healing that needs to happen.

When you’re frustrated, call someone you trust. Seek care for your mental health. Find a workout plan that works for you. Most of all cling to God through the process. I know how it feels to be angry with Him. I know what it feels like to feel as if He’s let us go. I know what it feels like to lose all hope. Living for Him, we were never promised struggle free or pain free lives. We have sin and evil in this world of epic proportions. We can’t escape it. We’re not untouchable simply because we serve the Almighty. God doesn’t have to keep me physically safe to prove He loves me – He proved His love for me when His Son was beaten, hanged, and murdered on a cross for me.

John 16:33 (AMP) I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Let’s make strides toward His perfect peace. Let’s be courageous and remember that He is always in control. Let’s walk with confidence and joy – each day claiming victory in and through Him. Let’s remind each other that sometimes it sucks and it’s really hard and also that He is always for us and He is always there. He never leaves our sides, and when we’re ready to climb back into His lap for His extravagant love to be poured out over us, He’s there – in the waiting space.

Being in community…

By now, we all know that community is really important to me. When I’m not in community with other people, I’m left to my own devices and the enemy uses that time to whittle away at me. I’m no good in that space.

Sometimes, for me, community might look like face-to-face time, or Facetiming time, phone call time, or online group time. All of the ways we choose to walk with others are good and pulls us out of the isolation easily used to drag us into deep pits. And I’m not talking about my introverted friends who need their time alone to recoup their energy, I’m talking about the isolation chamber we can find ourselves in if we’re easily discarding the importance of community.

I have communities for lots of things; cooking, bible study, single friends, Christians, church, work, writing, etc… each of those spaces are important to me and I’m grateful to learn from others and be able to pour into others too.

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With that said, I joined a community last week with a bit of reluctance, a lot of sadness, and a good dollop of anger. The Addict’s Mom community. It’s a nationwide group with chapters in each state. I’ve not spoken a word yet because I’ve been completely broken  reading through the posts of over 34,000 moms who are walking this walk too. Oddly, as broken as I’ve felt over it, I also finally feel as if I’ve found my people. My group of mommas.

I have always appreciated the advice my friends have given, but I’ve only been able to truly grasps bits of it to fit into the reality of life in our house. The mommas pouring into me haven’t had to walk into their kiddos rooms to feel whether the body was warm or cold, listening for shallow breaths. Most of them haven’t wondered if they’d walk into the home to see a kiddo dead from self-inflicted harm or happy. Most of them haven’t had their kiddo weep into their laps when friend after friend dies from overdoses of heroine, fentanyl, or other benzos and opioids. Most haven’t wondered where their kiddo is sleeping at night because they can’t find them or worse yet they have been found in a sordid state. Most haven’t sat up for days at a time, with buckets of self-blame, wondering where they went so wrong to create a kiddo with so much damage. I’m not saying my walk is harder, I am saying my walk is different, though.

This community of mommas – they get it. In part, I’m grateful for my own addict as I know some of these mommas have it a lot harder than we do. My addict hasn’t stolen from me. He hasn’t gone missing for weeks or months at a time. He hasn’t been to jail for longer than a day. He’s only had one stint in rehab, and not 15, 20, or more. I’m one of the lucky ones.

As I find my footing in this new space, I realize that some of my readers will find comfort in the words I choose to share and some may be triggered. My hope is that we find community. My hope is that if you’re walking down this road, too, we will come to know how we’re not alone. My hope is that God will continue to hear the cries from every momma’s heart that’s breaking for her kiddos. My hope is that we each find the strength to walk through this life with compassion and empathy for others, a growing desire to pour into our community, and a willingness to continue doing the hard work we have in front of us.

You, sweet momma, are not alone. This isn’t a club that any of us asked to be in, but here we are. Let’s walk this out, shall we?

I’ve got a voice, now what?

I write from all the messy places with no real focus on any one thing.

One of the hardest parts about writing for me has been finding my audience. A friend recently told me that I have found one, and I agree… and also don’t.

I write from all the messy places with no real focus on any one thing. One of my ideas was to ask you guys what you want to read. Then I wondered if I was supposed to offer suggestions of what you might want and my list looked a little like this one:

  • Single momma stuff
  • Christian single woman stuff
  • Christian homeschooling working momma stuff
  • Momma to an addict stuff
  • Church hurts stuff
  • Surgeries gone all wrong stuff
  • I feed everyone stuff
  • I house everyone too stuff
  • Even stray cows would be safe with me stuff
  • I can’t find a date (let alone a husband) to save my life stuff
  • Abortion/Rape/Abuse survivor stuff
  • Chasing unicorns stuff
  • I’m a lil too hood for my own good stuff
  • Sometimes I cuss stuff

The reality is that I enjoy writing about all of these things. And I think you all have come to expect some of these really hard topics from me. The reality also is that means my readership might not grow. It might stay right where it is and we have to decide if we’re okay with that – like how I just roped you in on that one?! 😉

In the meantime, I have to do some things – like create an email list, launch a new website with a great lead magnet, and probably start adding some affiliates. This might take some time, but I’m ready to jump in with both of these tootsies and I hope you all are too!

I’m excited to head into this new journey, I’m grateful for the encouragement from my hope*writers group, and I’m ever grateful for each of you!

Share the song already…

None of us fully know what others are facing day to day or what’s happening in another person’s heart. Encouragement is never wasted.

Sometimes a friend will reach into your inbox to say words that affirm who we are and the path we’re walking. She’ll share a song that reminds her of you.

She told me that hearing this song that talks about desiring deep, connecting relationships reminds her of me. It’s how she sees me. And it’s what she likes about me. She called me courageous…

… little did she know that I sobbed into my hands last night calling myself stupid. Little did she know that just last night I was doubting all the ways my heart has loved and cared for others; with its deep desires, its longing for something real to grab onto, and the need to skip over all the nonsense and jump right into the deep, dark end with another soul.

Stupid for loving hard, for being so vulnerable, and for allowing the opportunity to be broken happen over and over again. Punishing myself for not learning lessons, for continuing to seek the things a person hides beneath, and to tear down walls to create healthier people even if it means pieces of me are lost in the process. Stupid for desiring the deep, connecting relationships that come with an overload of risk.

I asked a friend once why God would allow my heart to be so fragile that it stays in a continued place of brokenness – and this is why. Because God gave me the desire to love others so profoundly and with the sincerity to see the underbelly and not run away or be afraid. Because of these experiences, God uses my readiness to share words to bring hope to others. He’s created me so that in my willingness to be open and transparent, others can find their own opportunities to be brave. He’s made it so that other people can see something He’s placed inside of me and find their own ways to be vulnerable and courageous.

God will use each one of us to bring glory to the Kingdom. Our obedience to tread into the space He calls us is up to us. We get to make the decision to walk the walk He has for us, or not. Sometimes the enemy will have us questioning everything and everyone – doubting who we are and to Whom we belong. The enemy would rather have us imprisoning ourselves for the perceived weaknesses we have rather than stepping into those soft spaces of who we are created to be with bravery and courage.

Last night, the enemy tried his trickery… and it worked – a little bit. In true form, though, my Daddy God wasn’t going to let the voice of the enemy destroy His spirit in me and He directed His daughter to speak His words over me, to refresh my soul, and fill my tank. Obedience is critical when it comes to Kingdom work.

When you see something in someone, speak it out.

When you notice the bravery on that momma in the store, speak it out.

When you see that daddy doing his best at the park with his daughter, speak it out.

When you see your coworker accomplish something she didn’t think she could do, speak it out.

When you see that person you’re not even sure you like very much take a step in humility, speak it out.

When the Lord prompts you to speak into someone else, do it.

None of us fully know what others are facing day to day or what’s happening in another person’s heart. Encouragement is never wasted. Remind someone about how their gifting is making an impact in the Kingdom because the enemy is always on the prowl to take us down! Speak some meaningful truths to someone this week. Tell them the things you like about them and the things that you see God doing through them.

The song: https://youtu.be/1Wk8ZRgXQnY

When there is no muse…

If our desire is to go from doing what we love when the mood strikes to doing what we love all the time, then we need to find the drivers – the motivators – the encouragers – the desire – the chutzpah! Some of this will have to come from somewhere deep inside of us and some of it will come from people who surround us. 

One of the things that has always stirred me to some of the better things I’ve written has been a particular set of emotions or the need to process through something. When those things are present, writing is easy for me. It’s my muse. One of my favorite quotes from Lang Leav:

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So what do we write about when we’re not in the midst of a terrible place…?
So what do we write about when we don’t have anything in particular to process through…?
So how do we write when we’re not feeling our way through something major…?

This is where some clarity about the purpose of Unfolding Lovely meets the pavement. This is when my mission – Unfolding Lovely is a community created to encourage people with the love, mercy, and hope of Jesus Christ through our own stories – really has to come to life. And I’ll be honest, I don’t fully know what that looks like just yet.

The really great news about not knowing what it looks like for me is that I’m discovery there are so many of us, not just writers, but all types of creatives, who just don’t know what it looks like right now. Even when we think so&so has figured out all the ins and outs of their hobby turned job, chances are – no. They’re getting better at it every day, but none of us have fully arrived to perfection.

Wherever you are in your journey or your creative process or your calling or your purpose or your why – whatever name you’ve given that thing that gets you out of bed every day – you’re not alone. Find your people. Find those who will not only push you outside of your own comfort zones, but ones who will sit with you while you sort it out – no pushing necessary. Find the people who’ve already done “the thing” and, with an open mind, learn what they have to teach you. Find the people who want to see you be your best self and be successful – and who are also honest with you!

If our desire is to go from doing what we love when the mood strikes to doing what we love all the time, then we need to find the drivers – the motivators – the encouragers – the desire – the chutzpah! Some of this will have to come from somewhere deep inside of us and some of it will come from people who surround us.

If you like to cook, but have no one to cook for right now – cook anyway. Take a class.
If you like to paint, but can’t find any inspiration to paint – paint anyway. Teach a class.
If you like to write, but can’t find anything to write about – write anyway. Read a book.
If you like to sing, but can’t find a place to sing – sing anyway. Find a local choir.
If you like to work out, but don’t have a gym – workout anyway. Create an at-home routine for others.

Friends, we can’t stop doing what we’re called to do cuz we’re feeling unmotivated or unnecessary – we do it anyway. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to take everything we have inside us some days – we do it anyway.

Now go — get all your creative juices flowing! ❤

 

I did a thing…

I have been back and forth between calling myself a writer or a person who sometimes writes some things that people might read. 

I have been back and forth between calling myself a writer or a person who sometimes writes some things that people might read.

Several times I’ve left my blog for long periods of time. Sometimes because I wasn’t writing and sometimes because it was easier to write on Facebook or Instagram and just skip the blog all together.

I’ve decided this writing thing isn’t the thing for me at least a dozen times. I’ve prayed about it and have been met with silence or a green light and sometimes just more silence. I felt God giving me confirmation about writing a book in the spring of 2018, but then things just got seriously messy and the idea of the book went up on a high, high shelf.

I’ve felt like there are lots of really gifted writers with the perfect audience for them, and I just couldn’t figure out how to do the same or if I even wanted to have an audience.

I really had to sort out my goal. My mission.

So, to help, I did a thing. I became a hope*writer! I know! Why would I become a hope*writer if I didn’t know whether or not I even wanted to write anymore?! I don’t knoooow! ha.

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No, really. I spent a lot of time in prayer about this one and felt complete peace to move forward with the hope*writers team. If you don’t know who hope*writers are “we are a community of working writers dedicated to the success and creativity of each member. Working alone is for hobbyists. If you’re ready to stop dabbling and become a writer who writes words people want to read, join us.”

There’s a link over on the right side of the page with even more information about the community. They only open for new members a couple times every year, so I’m convinced that God lined their membership opening and my specific prayers about writing to happen at the same time for His purposes. He’s crafty that way. 😉

I don’t fully know what this looks like yet – whether I’ll be writing more here or on our Facebook page, but I’ll be working toward some specific goals and I’m excited to be able to share them with you!

Vulnerable

I’ve sat upon the floor of hell. The enemy escorting me there time and again. Each time, climbing out — to what I was never really sure and for reasons I couldn’t comprehend. While seated on that floor, the breaking of my spirit, my confidence, my very essence happened in the most painful ways.

Years later, God gave me the strength to climb out for good and to never fall into that space of unworthiness, shame, doubt, condemnation, judgement, perfection again. He offered a hand that led to a redemption of epic proportions. That’s not to say that I don’t struggle with each of those things from time to time, but now I know to choose not to live in that lie from the enemy any longer. Jesus has created a path of righteousness, lined with His blood, full of His grace, where I’ve been ushered into and made whole. Clean. A new creation.

I don’t take this lightly, friends. In the washing of His blood, He gave me a story. One to be told so that none of us ever feels like we’re walking in this life alone. He’s provided me with a voice that some will hear, but not others. He’s made me palpable for some, but not for everyone.

The good news is that none of us have to carry the weight of the Great Commission all on our own. You’ve been given a story, a voice, a group of people who will only be able to hear the story you tell in the way you tell it. Your experiences will speak to the hearts of people that mine never will. Your life and redemption will usher in people to the Cross who would never hear my voice.

Over the last couple of months, when I’ve tried to think through how I write about what breaks my heart, how I remain vulnerable without floodlighting people, and how to help people with whom I have influence to see the goodness and trueness of a loving God – I continue to come back to being true to the walk He’s called me to walk. Right here. With you.

Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability — the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome – is the only path to more love, belong, and joy. The downside? You’re going to stumble, fall, and get your ass kicked. Worth it? Yes.”

It’s hard to be that vulnerable. Maybe we don’t all do it en masse like this crazy fool *points at self*… but I hope that you have someone(s) who will allow your full vulnerability and that you feel safe and secure in the telling of your story while you’re there.

You were created for this time. This space. This unfolding. I’m praying that your confidence to walk in it is encouraged daily and that you are reminded often that you are a beloved child of a King.

Ephesians 2: 10 10 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. 52057067_10218550456971100_425165667398844416_n

 

January is for Stretching

Women who walk in their truth with shaky legs, write with a pen that isn’t very steady, and embrace vulnerability with a racing heart are my kind of women. Brave. Bold. Honest. Storytellers and community makers.

William Wordsworth says, “fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” Over the last several years, I’ve worked hard to learn how to be vulnerable and honest, but not in a way that makes me seem whiny or like I’m complaining. Just living a transparent life. I’ve taken cues from authors I find to be revealing and honest and faithful; Brene Brown, Lysa TerKeurst, Deidra Riggs, Ann Voskamp, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Kim Hyland, Holley Gerth, Michelle DeRusha, and so many other bloggers, social media heroines, and truth-telling mommas!

Women who walk in their truth with shaky legs, write with a pen that isn’t very steady, and embrace vulnerability with a racing heart are my kind of women. Brave. Bold. Honest. Storytellers and community makers. How many times have we been able to read a blog post, part of a book, or a Facebook post and find a piece of commonality, a sense of togetherness, and a reminder that we don’t have to do any of this alone?! We find strength and encouragement from one another – it’s exactly what we need to be able to survive our own day sometimes.
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Recently I was asked to not share from that place of vulnerability that God has been helping to craft within me over the years as a way to minister to the women in my world. I was asked, essentially to choose; kingdom or not – ministry or not – vulnerability or not – honesty or not – community or not – brave or not – bold or not. I had to decide – shaky legs, unsteady pen, racing heart, or not. Suddenly I was confronted with a choice to either embrace who I’ve been created to be or to push my girl back into the closet where most of her life she had to hide her true self for fear of not being loved, or accepted, or cherished, or worthy enough, or good enough, or any other thing we can throw in there.

My word for the year is Purpose, but my word for January is Stretching. I’ve taken a break from writing, from social media, from all the things that I thought I was supposed to be doing and poured that into seeking God and what He’s asking me to do. I’ve stretched into the Word, into His voice, stretched to hear Him with confidence and clarity. We’re told that when we earnestly seek Him, we will find Him. Y’all, I was on a hunt! From a recent book I read written by Michelle DeRusha called True You, I learned to sit in His presence a little better. She started with 5 minutes a day, and so I did too. Just doing not one thing. Just sitting. Not laying down trying to fall asleep, not reading a book, not praying even. Just soaking in Yahweh. The very name Yahweh is breath – it can’t even be spoken. Sitting in the breath of the Creator was necessary. I’m up to about 15 minutes now since I started this about 6 weeks ago. It’s hard and sometimes I’m really easily distracted, but other times I’m rewarded richly with a clarity unlike anything I’ve ever felt.

From that clarity, the confidence to walk in the Purpose for which I’ve been created is so overwhelmingly clear, I couldn’t deny it if I wanted to deny it. So while I may have to modify some things in order to make all of my world coexist together, I will not back down from the mission He’s given me!

Friends, sometimes we have to make hard choices. I’ve learned that making them in the moment, with all the emotions of it, usually leads me down a path from which I may not be able to recover. However, when we take the time to seek Him and His will, counsel from people whom we trust deeply, and time to sit in His presence – the answers will come. His will for us will be clear. We may not understand it all, but understanding isn’t what we need. We walk in faith and obedience, He makes the way. 

Whatever is in front of you right now, I pray that you step into it with shaky legs and unsteady hands. That you fully embrace who God created you to be and that you remain Kingdom focused when the world around you wants to defeat your God given mission. Walk in the godly confidence which can only come from the Creator of the whole entire everything! Be bold and brave!

 

One word, 12 words

I will have my word for the year, but I also plan to have one for each month. I think one of the things that can sometimes hurt me is being too macro-minded when I haven’t spent enough time being micro-minded. This year, the intent is to do both. Who wants to be on this wacky ride with me? C’mon… you know you wanna! 

Happy New Year, friends!

The other evening I had an idea to come up with 2019 things I’m thankful for throughout the year. That’s 5.5 things per day and 39 things per week. Lucky for you, I’m not going to share of all them with you, but believe me – I thought about it!

I’ll admit that I’ve done the thankfulness journals and I find that I’m normally a pretty grateful person. I know all the ways I’m blessed, but I don’t often document them. However, something has been pressing on my spirit to recall things to my mind more often, and to sit in a place where I’m more often thankful and less often questioning.

This past year has left me with a lot of questioning and I’m just not willing to take that into this new year with me. What are some things you’ve decided not to take into the new year with you? Have you called them out by name and maybe heavily rebuked them in the name of Jesus like this crazy girl might have done?! 😉

As some of you know, I like to choose a word for the year and allow my heart to focus on that word and allow my mind to consistently be pulled back into that train of thought when I start to find it wandering into the unknowns. And I still plan to mostly do that this year, with a twist, though.

I will have my word for the year, but I also plan to have one for each month. I think one of the things that can sometimes hurt me is being too macro-minded when I haven’t spent enough time being micro-minded. This year, the intent is to do both. Who wants to be on this wacky ride with me? C’mon… you know you wanna!

So, the word for the year is… Purpose. That word was given to me for so many reasons. I’m at a fork in the road; this way or that way. Am I going to choose the easy road or the one where my purpose lies? Does my purpose lie down both of them, just a bit differently? In fact, what is my purpose? I’ve thought I’ve known it for a long time, but maybe I don’t know it at all! See why it’s my word, but also why it needs baby words to go with it??

e0a47b2239ed45bd48137744ced32ac6My word for January is stretching. I’m totally stealing it from a message series that was announced last week at church and the first part of the series happened today. I have no shame in this thievery!

February: Revealing – this will be a time to get real with myself and to reveal my weaknesses, failures, brokenness, strengths, desires, etc…

March: Exploration – to be fair, the first 10 days or so of the month, I’ll be on a trip part work and part pleasure. I hope to spend some time exploring the world around me, but also myself inside that world. I’m hoping for a lot of good, quiet moments in March!

April: Energy – where is a natural place for my energy to pour over? When I exude energy that brings me joy, what does that most often look like?

May: Service – this is typically a really busy month for me. Like really busy. So, my service might look like one thing, but God is teaching me something totally different. Also, where else or how else can I be serving amidst my own chaos so that I’m able to focus more on others than on myself.

June: Reflection and Gratefulness – this is my birthday month, and I like to spend some time reflecting anyway, so now I’m doing it with some intent behind it!

July: Growth – as I get closer to understanding my purpose, how am I growing it? Learning it? Mastering it? This is the time to settle into the purpose and allow God to show me where I need to grow in it.

August: Audience – once I know my purpose, and then grow my purpose, who is the audience for it? Where should I be directing the energy and the service and the purpose? August may not give me those exact answers, but I hope to learn more about what my audience might look like in this month.

September: Rooted – I hope that once I know my purpose, grow in it, find my audience for it, God will allow me to find a solid root system to keep me pressing into that purpose. The root system will be the people whom He assigns to this mission with me, I kinda mess the whole people thing up when it’s left up to me.

October: Expectation – this is pretty self explanatory. Prayer and expectation this month.

November: Action – what is God calling me to do exactly? Am I ready to actually put action to it? If being a master gardener is my purpose – what am I doing? By the way, being a master gardener is likely not my purpose. Who knows, though. 😉

December: Rest and Replenish – it’s been a long year by this time. With all the other busyness of this month, I’m going to look forward to resting in my purpose, asking God to replenish me for the upcoming year, and reminding myself that some good progress was made in 2019!

* I reserve the right to move these words around throughout the year! heh.

I also feel like I need to say that I really don’t like the whole “what’s your purpose” terminology/semantics/wording. I’m a much bigger fan of knowing my why… why am I here? why am I the one who can do this? why am I the one whom God called for this particular thing? why do I need to be here to do this? God might wish I didn’t ask so many why questions, but then I figure He made me and knew I’d ask them – He made me still. 😉

The struggle is real…

Friends, the enemy finds our weaknesses and he is masterful at using those spaces to dig in his feet and whisper untruths to us. He knows how to angle himself in such a way that we only hear his voice – he wants to stand between us and Him. 

Are you single and okay with it?

I’m not. Not always.

I spent a good deal of my life learning the art of self-sufficiency and independence, but, in some ways, it was to my detriment. So much of my time was spent convincing myself and others that I didn’t need anyone and I started to believe it myself.

The truth is that we do need people. I do. And if you’re being honest, you do too.

It doesn’t mean that I sit around wailing and wanting… although, sometimes I do feel like there is plenty of wailing and wanting happening! heh. It means that sometimes I wonder why my longings are still longings. I get stuck in a place somewhere between being hopeful for a godly marriage and feeling like a hopeless lost cause. I want to believe in it and I also want to be realistic. Yanno?

What I had to realize is that struggling with it isn’t a bad thing. It’s okay to question and wonder about things that we are asking God to do in our lives. We can trust Him and still wonder about the outcomes. Remember my last post where I talked about being frustrated, and that this last year has been one rolling frustration? Yep… my heart was all part of that frustration too.

In the last year, I’ve tried lots of ways to deal with the things that are hurting my heart… I’ve tried to run from church, I’ve tried to drink it away, I’ve tried to get lost in books and movies, and if I’m being really honest, I even thought some physical comfort would do the trick. Thankfully, I didn’t explore that last option more than a passing thought.

The truth of it all is that none of those did or could comfort the longings I felt. Sometimes, for months and/or years, I am able to just go along with normal life without thinking about my desire to be married and other times it’s like I’m being punched in the face. Over and over. A violent reminder of my worthlessness, my inability to close a healthy relationship, my lack of the necessary skill set to secure a man, my inability to attract a man, every flaw on display.

Recognizing how the enemy works was critical to overcoming the constant beating I was doing to my own heart. And there’s a good chance you’re doing it to your heart too. Maybe not today. But maybe you did yesterday or will tomorrow.

Friends, the enemy finds our weaknesses and he is masterful at using those spaces to dig in his feet and whisper untruths to us. He knows how to angle himself in such a way that we only hear his voice – he wants to stand between us and Him.

We are going to struggle. It happens. We have a choice how we struggle and with whom we struggle, though. I’ve made a choice not to struggle with the enemy… I want to struggle with Jesus. With knowing Him better, with allowing Him to know me better, with getting closer to His heart and the things He has for me… that’s my struggle these days.

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As believers, we’ve fed ourselves some untruths like; push through the pain and/or the longing, if you loved God enough you’d be patient and not question His will for you, if you trust His will for your life then you could truly be content in this season. Bleh blebby bleh bleh. The truth is that we gain His power and grow stronger and closer to Christ in moments of our own weakness. When we are in the midst of a struggle and our dependence is all on Him, then we’re closing that gap the enemy uses to speak lies to our hearts. Let’s stop being people who are pretending to be okay when we’re really not okay. Let’s embrace the areas we struggle and struggle with the One who has the answers. Let’s stop shaming other believers for not being content enough, faithful enough, or patient enough. Let’s walk each other to the cross, keep one another in prayers, remember that we’re all just trying to live our best lives and make it into eternity with our Creator.

My name is Stephanie, I love Jesus with every bit of my soul, and I struggle. And He struggles with me. Because I am His and He is mine.