Where does your help come from?

“My help comes from the Lord; the maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

Where my help comes from: The Lord.

Where my help does not come from: Social media. Pinterest. Self help books. Parenting books. Coffee. Sugar. Google. “Experts.” A good workout. Self care. Netflix. Christian celebrities/personalities—yes, even the really “popular” ones. Well meaning friends. Popular opinion. Ourselves.

We probably all find ourselves running to one of more of these things when we need some help to relieve stress, improve our mood, or figure out what we should do. But, if we’re running to them first, then we have a problem. For there is only One who holds the distinction of being our ultimate help, strength, wisdom, peace, and hope. And that is God.

But do we go to Him FIRST? Or is He, often, our very LAST resort?

Today, let’s not be women who choose to consult all and sundry about our problems, our fears, and our concerns before we take it to the throne room of Heaven. Let’s instead draw our wisdom from His Word, walk in His ways and rely on His Truth.

Let’s not be women who try to fix our situations ourselves, thinking if only we try harder, be better, find a solution that might work then things will turn out okay. The truth is, we will never be enough, but God is—and so, we surrender it all to Him.

Let’s not be women who deny ourselves the help we so desperately crave because of our misplaced pride and self-inflated egos. Let’s, instead, recognize our own limitations and acknowledge our deep, life-long need for grace—and for a Savior.

The beautiful thing, lovely ones? He is already waiting to meet us right where we are—with tender mercy and incomprehensible grace—ready to provide the help that we need. If only we go to Him FIRST.

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We Endure

It’s hard not to despair of the world we are living in.

Some days the weight of it almost crushes me. The darkness of it so overwhelming, the needs so relentless, so vast. So much pain, so much suffering, so much loss—how are we mere mortals to endure it?

The answer is found in Hebrews 13:14, (NLT): “For this world is not our permanent home, we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

We can endure it because this is not our true home. There is a place yet to come, where all things will be made new. Where the wrongs will be righted, the losses restored, and the tears wiped from our eyes. A place where a table has already been prepared, a room made ready.

This is Home. The place that our hearts cry out to and our souls long to be. The place where we will finally look upon our King, and everything will be as it should be.

Until then, we wait. We endure. And in fixing our eyes heavenward we also see Him here. God’s handprint on the whole of creation—every breathtaking sunrise, every majestic mountain, every living, breathing creature fearfully and wonderfully made, reflecting His glory. We see Him in the everyday miracles, in every act of kindness, big or small, in every good thing that comes from the very worst. He is here with us now, in the darkness. And His goodness gives us hope. Hope to endure.

If you’re struggling today, friend, fix your eyes heavenward—and keep walking. There may be much left to endure, but the best is yet to come.

 

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Present over Perfect

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Present over perfect living is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice. Present over perfect living is the risky and revolutionary belief that the world God has created is beautiful and valuable on its own terms, and that it doesn’t need to be zhuzzed up and fancy in order to be wonderful.” ~ Shauna Niequist

My friend and her family joined us for dinner last night. “Let’s keep it simple,” she said, and we did. We feasted on pulled chicken sliders and store bought pasta salad. The kids ate boxed Mac’n’cheese and frozen sausages and played until exhaustion hit while we talked for the first time in forever.

There were no airs and graces. No frills. No formality. Just two families choosing to do life together in the midst of the mess, the chaos and the noise. Choosing presence over perfection.

We all crave connection, don’t we? But we’re tired, busy people with young kids, and hosting other people can often feel like an overwhelming, impossible task. Our homes are never clean enough; our food not Pinterest-worthy; our children‘s behavior not up to scratch.

So we say no. We choose not to extend the invitation. And in doing so, we miss out on something beautiful.

There is freedom in simplicity. In letting go of those impossible standards, choosing instead to be authentic, vulnerable, and real. Acknowledging that our lives are far from perfect but choosing to open our hearts and our home anyway.

Because It’s worth it.
Because that’s what Jesus would do.

When Martha was busy bustling around a kitchen, too distracted and stressed to sit at the feet of her Lord, He gave her some sage advice: “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it” (Luke‬ ‭10:41-42‬ ‭MSG‬‬).

“Stop striving,” He is saying. “Choose relationship. Choose meaningful connection. Choose me. These are the things that truly matter.”

So let’s leave our perfectionism at the door today, friends, and embrace the authenticity of a life lived for relationship. You may never look back. ❤️

Knowing who (and whose) you are!

It had been a morning—battling a defiant 2-year-old, brokering peace between two stubborn, warring sisters, and exerting some serious discipline in relation to truth-telling.

Wrung out and exhausted from a challenging parenting week, it was a pretty intense start to a Sunday morning. And then I heard it:

“You’re not good at this.”

Where it came from I didn’t know, and yet in that very moment, I could not disagree with it.

You’re right,” I conceded. “I’m not.”

“You’re failing them. Should you even be a mom?” And I paused and wondered, “should I?”

The questioning voice continued all the way to church as my children continued to antagonize, and I continued to react in kind.

Defeated, I stood to sing as the familiar lyrics from Hillsong Worship reached my ears:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am”

I am who YOU say I am.

Not the enemy. Not unrealistic societal expectations or impossible social media standards. Not anyone else who may have an opinion—not even myself.

Only Jesus.

Everything else is a lie. A lie that to a tired, crushed spirit seems almost believable. A lie that can so easily take root in my heart, poison my mind, and distract me from who I truly am. Who God says I am.

A beloved child of God—worth dying for.

If you find yourself today, struggling under the weight of so many lies, misconceptions and distorted truths, hear this, friend:

One bad day doesn’t make you a bad mom.

One lost opportunity doesn’t make you a lost cause.

One day where you didn’t feel that you were enough, doesn’t make you any less than enough for Him.

Because, grace.
Because, Jesus.

So, on those days when you believe the very worst lies about who it is that you are, take captive every thought that is not from Him (2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:5‬‬‬). And replace it with Truth. Then you will remember who HE says that you are.

And you will smile.

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Reclaim your Year

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In case you missed it, the 2020 train has already left the station—not late, not early, but exactly on time.

We’re almost halfway through January for goodness-sake. Resolutions have been made and are already underway. Goals have been set, vision boards constructed. Your word of the year? People are no longer asking—it’s already so passé.

And me? I’m still running to catch up with that train.

Two weeks in to the new year and I already feel like I’m scrambling. I didn’t have a “word” planned out. I didn’t set goals—heck, I haven’t even reviewed the ones from last year. It feels like I’m already behind, and the year has barely begun.

And yet, this is more than a little representative of the season in which I find myself. A part-time working, full time SAHM to two preschoolers. There is so little margin, mere scraps of time to fit it all in. I multitask, I try to be present in the moment, filing away plans and ideas for another time, another season. “There will be time for that THEN,” I tell myself, while trying not to resent the limited time and resources I have in the NOW.

This year may be just as messy and chaotic and crazy and wonderful as the last. BUT, if I don’t reach out and grab it, it’s going to slip away before my eyes, and nothing will have changed. I won’t have changed.

So, better late than never, I claim back this year from the thief of time. I choose my word, I set my goals, and I take ownership of the woman God wants me to become—in body, mind and spirit.

Becoming means “begin to be.” And so this year, i will aim to do just that. “Begin to be more like the woman He designed me to be: mentally, physically and spiritually.

Becoming is a process—I don’t know yet where it will lead, or what it will look like for me this year. But I do know this—I can’t wait to start!

 

For The Joy Set before Us…

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I had never really noticed it before: The jarring juxtaposition.

The joyful arrival of the longed for Messiah—and Bethlehem’s massacre.

When Herod learned of the birth of this supposed new King—and threat to His throne—and took action, ordering the death of all the baby boys of Bethlehem.

I can scarcely imagine the scale of such loss. The grief and unbearable pain. The broken hearts and shattered lives.

They had been promised the Messiah. And now He was here! What excitement. What anticipation. They worshipped Him with awe and wonder, awaiting the joy that had been promised.

Instead, they got a massacre.

“How can this be?” They must have wondered. ”This isn’t the way things were supposed to happen.”

And two thousand years later we utter the same lament. Experiencing life in a corrupt and fallen world—sickness, hurt, betrayal, loss, death—our faith slowly fades or disappears altogether.

Yet the joy that was promised—it was never supposed to be a quick fix. And the Christian life—it was never promised to be an easy ride. Nevertheless, our present troubles, inevitable though they are, do not nullify the cross—nor its future hope.

“For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross” (Romans 12:2). And for the joy set before us, we must endure too. Trusting in faith that the joy WILL come.

“But me, I’m not giving up. I’m sticking around to see what GOD will do. I’m waiting for God to make things right” (‭‭Micah‬ ‭7:7‬, MSG).

Whatever you’re suffering through this Christmas season, be encouraged. Persevere. For that baby in the manger became a man on a cross and gave a weary world cause to rejoice once more.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (‭‭Psalm ‭30:5‬ ‭KJV‬‬).

 

 

 

I Am Who You Say I Am

“It’s not you, it’s me”

“We regret to inform you we will not be moving forward with your application at this time.” 

“We appreciate your submission but your piece has not been accepted for our publication this time.”

It doesn’t matter how kindly it’s delivered, or how neatly it’s packaged, rejection hurts. 

Like tiny arrows, negative words—well intended or otherwise—hit their target with devastating precision. Eroding our self confidence, affirming our long held insecurities, and leaving an often permanent mark. Until, before long, an entirely false narrative has been created. A narrative we begin to believe about who it is that we are. 

You are not worthy of love  

You are not good enough 

You are not equipped for this calling.

And then Jesus comes along and with three words: “it is finished,’ puts those lies in the grave—where they belong. 

Countering the lies with His truth, He offers us a completely new narrative. One that we can believe in and count on, no matter how our mind may try to trick us, or what the world may say against us. For He sees not as man sees. And He knows us better than we know ourselves. 

“You ARE  loved,” He says. “So much so that I gave my life for you, and would do so again.

You do not have to keep striving to be good enough. You ARE enough because I created you. You are my masterpiece, I delight in you. And when you make mistakes, I will give you grace. Grace that offers hope in the face of failure, restoration not condemnation. Grace you do not need to earn, but is already yours.

I WILL equip you. I have plans and purposes for you in this world, for your good and my glory. I have given you skills and passions and where  there may be weaknesses and vulnerabilities, I will meet them with MY strength so that MY power would be seen through you.“

“I am chosen. Not forsaken. I am who You say I am.” ~Hillsong Worship

Who do you believe that you are? Will you listen to what the world says? Or will you let the affirmations of Jesus shape your identity and be your ultimate truth. The choice is yours.

 

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