I received a rejection letter today.

Before you feel the need to comfort me, please know that I'm completely fine.

A while back I learned that (in)Courage was accepting submissions for blog posts to be used on their site. It needed to be something original that had not been previously published and it should fit the tone for the site and the theme for the time frame it would be published.

I immediately wanted to submit something. I wanted honest feedback about my writing from someone who doesn't already love me or like me or feel connected to me in some way. But I decided that I was not going to submit anything unless I felt prompted by God to do it. I wasn't going to force it. (On a side, but relevant, note I'm actually not sure if I stuck to this decision. I'm still asking God to open my eyes to blindness and He may reveal to me that I didn't wait for Him at all...that I jumped ahead in my own timing instead of His.)

So one night I sat down and wrote something. It wasn't phenomenal but I felt the push to submit it, so I did. I felt totally okay at the thought of receiving a rejection. If they used it, cool. If not, cool. Either way I totally trusted that God would use it for my good. And I believe that is true.

I struggle frequently with feeling like I don't have anything valuable to offer the world. But as my faith is growing and my ability to refute Satan's lies grows I recognize that I do have something to offer. God's power is made perfect in weakness.  So I write this blog as my "yes to God". I write this blog out of faith. Faith that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to heal me and change me from the inside out. Faith that I truly am fearfully and wonderfully made. And that I have a place in His body. Not because I'M awesome, but because HE IS.

Someone recently asked me what my blogging goals are and the only thing I could think to say was "to use the measure of talent that God has given me for His glory".

I'm not saying that to make myself seem more spiritual than I am. I'm saying that to reinforce to myself and to anyone reading this that this blog and anything I write is for Him. It's because I believe He gave me any talent that I have. Out of all the things in my life, writing has been the thing I've (in)consistently done because it feels like a calling. I feel compelled to do it.

Maybe there's something He wants me to learn from this. Maybe at some point I'll decide that I'm just really not good at this and that it really isn't what I should be doing. But that's okay. Because I want to be doing what HE wants me to be doing.

I'm not comparing myself to anyone else. At least I'm trying not to. I do sometimes, it's something I struggle with. But best case scenario, I'm not comparing myself to anyone else. Because God's not. He's the one I'm here for. I'm here because I'm doing a little planting and a little watering (at different times, obviously...I'm not saying I can do both Paul and Apollos's jobs) but God will always give the increase. It will never be my writing ability that will give the increase. It's always God. It's only by His power.

I'm going to write because as far as I can tell, that's what He's called me to. Maybe at some point I'll realize that I made a mistake in thinking that. Maybe I'll be embarrassed that I ever had the nerve to hit publish. But I'm going to do it anyway, because I trust God. And I'm offering what I have to Him. It isn't much but it's what I have.

My God is good. And His grace is sufficient. And that kind of makes me want to dance and sing. :) Be glad that's NOT what He's called me to!!! :)

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

15 of My Favorite Feelings

With all of the things going on in the world I just feel the need to think happy thoughts. And I don't think I have any deep thoughts left. So I'm going to share with you my favorite feelings or the things that make me feel good. I got the idea from here. Yes, I watch make up videos on YouTube and this is a girl that I watch

In no particular order...

1. The wind blowing through my on a lovely evening after a hot day and I roll the car window down and turn the radio up. It just makes me feel alive and free and like anything is possible.

2.  Riding a bike down a steep hill. It's a little crazy. It's kind of scary. When the wheels wobble a little and I'm not quite sure if I'm going to biff it or not but then somehow I manage to keep it upright. Again, alive, free and like anything is possible.

3.  Seeing my kids keep going when they want to give up. Watching them work through the issue to find a solution and then see them finish strong!!! It's like watching Rocky live! I hear Eye of the Tiger and everything. 

4.  When Michael and I do something together totally as a team. When both of us are fully engaged and we rely on each other to do our part and we're sweaty and he doesn't second guess whether or not I can handle my part. 

5.  Lifting super heavy stuff. I. Love. It. 

6.  Roller skating. It's the music and the speed...and the wind blowing through my hair. Again, alive and free and like anything is possible.

7.  My girls singing together. Okay, so they fight a. lot. So it's nice to hear them working together to accomplish something beautiful. It gives me hope that at some point they'll be friends.

8.  When I try for something that I tell myself I can't do. Whether or not I prove myself wrong...I love it when I have the nerve to try.

9.  Moments when I'm completely confident because I know God loves me. Like when I'm baking. Or at Costco.

10. When I'm driving toward the part of CA where the air smells of eucalyptus and sea and I pass through the veil and all of the sudden the air is exhilarating and smells clean and beautiful and I just want to drink it all in. Every breath is communion with God.

11. When I smile at a stranger at they smile back. :)

12. Reading the Bible and learning something I've missed.

13. When my friends pray with me. Not at meal times...I mean that's cool too, but it's especially cool when it's spontaneous.

14.  When the sun shines through the clouds and I can see the rays of sun and I feel like I'm beholding, in a very small way, the glory of God. 

15.  When all of our bills are paid. Even if there's no money left. Knowing that we fulfilled our obligations is amazing. 

I'm sure as soon as I hit publish I'm going to think of a million more. :)What are YOUR favorite feelings? 

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

The One Where I Should "Be the Change..."

 One of my favorite episodes of Friends is the one where Phoebe and Rachel decide to start running and Rachel is embarrassed by the way Phoebe runs. Instead of talking to Phoebe about it (or just getting over it) she talks to all the other "Friends" and makes up excuses to give Phoebe for why she didn't go jogging with her. Phoebe eventually realizes there's something wrong and confronts Rachel and Rachel admits the problem and everyone has a little growing experience.

Passive aggressiveness and unhealthy relationships used to be a way of life for me. This is an area where God is doing some serious renovation in my life. He started showing me a few years ago how damaging passive aggressiveness is and has mostly cleansed my life of it. But I still struggle with passiveness quite a bit! I'm so thankful for God's grace.

The amazing thing that I've learned is that relationships don't have to be that way.  I don't have to go around wondering what people mean by what they say (whether or not they expect me to). Or trying to decode the hidden meaning behind their words and actions. And I don't have to communicate that way either. It's so exhausting. 

God doesn't want that for my relationships. Every scripture about how I should be interacting with others is evidence of that. He wants us to be kind to one another. Not just to each other's faces but even behind their backs. 

Passive aggressiveness, gossip and backbiting damage relationships. Not speaking up when I need something and then complaining because I don't get it is damaging to relationships. Telling things that aren't mine to tell is damaging to relationships. Wearing a mask is damaging to relationships.

All of this relationship damage impairs the body of Christ. Can you imagine if my physical brain decided that it didn't need to communicate openly with the rest of my body? Unfortunately a lot of people don't have to imagine, they've witnessed it.

The thing is, I don't have to live this way. The body of Christ doesn't have to function this way. The change starts with me. 

What if I was honest? What if I just loved people for real? What if I were as kind about you to Tom, Dick and Harry as I am to your face? What if when I need something I just ask for it? What if I forgive as God has forgiven me? What if I just shut my mouth instead of telling your story? What if when you do something to offend me, I just let you know? And when I've offended you I just ask for forgiveness instead of excusing and defending?

What if we were all safe people? 

I don't know, that sounds pretty awesome to me.

Ephesians 4:17-32
Matthew 5:37

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Sometimes My Kids Set Me Straight Volume II

About a week and a half ago, my big boys were packing for Scout camp. I had planned to start early, and we did but we didn't finish early and I was headed for my old panic routine of completely flipping out. I don't even remember the specifics, but I remember that I was probably channeling the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland (OFF with their heads!).

I've always said that I want my family to be different. I don't want to yell at each other. I don't want my kids to think I'm a hypocrite. I don't want my kids to be angry at me. I don't want slammed doors and words spewed like venom.

I want love and respect. Even in disagreement. 

I used to be a yeller. As a young mom, I found myself going down a lot of roads I said I never would. 

I didn't know how to be a mom. I didn't know how to create an environment that embodied all of the things I wanted for my family. I still don't really. I know that sounds silly but I honestly was ignorant. I knew that I was supposed to clean the house and feed and bathe my children but I did not understand how to do all of that. It didn't and doesn't come natural to me. I really wish that I had asked someone to help me. But I thought I was supposed to know how to do it all, and I was too prideful to let anyone know how much I didn't know

God has done so much work in me. He has sent people my way to teach me and help me. I still have a looooooong way to go but I am so thankful for His work in my life. Did you notice that I said I used to be a yeller?! Uh huh. I used to be. I still mess up every once in a while but I am definitely in recovery for that.

So, in my Queen of Hearts state, Nathaniel had had enough and returned fire (via a response spoken under his breath). I reprimanded him. I was NOT prepared for what happened next. He turned to me and said "when you made that face I felt tempted to talk back to you". I had managed not to yell but apparently the look on my face was pretty rabid...I'm thinking probably Cruella DeVille-ish. Yeah, it was so bad that I have to use more than one Disney villain to fully express the awfulness.
Photo Credit
I actually had a hard time keeping a straight face. We've been working on using the whole "when you...I feel...I need" statements and he totally turned it on me!!! It immediately convicted me and I asked for forgiveness. 

And as they left for camp I spent time in prayer for my sweet boys and for myself. I spent the week asking God to make me a better mom and to transform me completely and to do whatever it takes to make me like Jesus. 

I'm not going to say that I am fixed and that my son will never have to let me know I've crossed the line again, but I am so glad to have them home. I really missed them but I'm so thankful that they had the opportunity to go. 

And I am thankful for the opportunity to see where I'm deficient and to surrender more fully to God's care and control and to all the changes he wants to make in my life.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

My Top Ten Moments as a Mother

Being a mom has changed me almost as much as being a wife. 

Here is my list of my favorite moments as a mother. A lot of them weren't my favorites in my overwhelmed and massively sleep deprived, mother of 5 kids in 4 years state ...but now that my kids are older and those days are behind us I can laugh. :)

Without further adieu...or adeiu or aduie. You know what I mean. :)

10. The time Caleb scooted across the bed at like 2 months and we called our parents and said he crawled. 

9. The time we met a friend at McDonalds and didn't order any food (just drinks) while the kids played on the PlayPlace and Lilla came back to our table with ketchup on her face. Confused, I looked around the room to find a group of people laughing hysterically and pointing in our direction. She had apparently walked up to their table and helped herself to some fries.
8. The time Elisabeth made it to church with no diaper or panties on. I heard a commotion at the entrance and went to find out what it was and Elisabeth was standing with her head on the ground and her hiney in the air. With no diaper. And no panties.
7. The time I caught Elisabeth trick or treating when it wasn't halloween. And our neighbors gave her stuff.
6. The time I was 37 weeks pregnant with the twins, and went to Walmart and slipped in a puddle of urine. Nathaniel was still potty training and it was his. But it took me a while to figure it out. Still gross but at least it came from him and not a stranger! A tiny little elderly woman tried to help me up. Like a mouse helping an elephant.
5. The time I had to take all five kids out of church (there were actually a lot of times that this happened) and Lilla got away from me and started to run up the isle toward the front and I set all the other kids down and tried to catch her before she reached the front but I tripped and fell.
4. The time I had to take the twins out and Uriah wouldn't walk so I ended up literally dragging him to the back.
3. The time we went to a wedding and the floor of the church was concrete and slanted down toward the front. We let Caleb take ONE little car in. During the prayer he dropped the car...and it was loud ALL. THE. WAY. TO. THE. FRONT. and finally came to stop at the Mother of the Brides feet. We were sitting in the back. She was not happy.
2. The time I let my dad talk me into taking a road trip to CA when the twins were less than two weeks old. We all got pink eye. Even the babies.
1. The time we were in the McDonalds drive thru and Lilla climbed on top of the car. Uh huh. She did that. And many other things that could probably fill a book. Don't believe people when they tell you that girls are easier than boys. It totally depends on the personalities of both!

I am pretty sure that an army of angels has surrounded my kids throughout their lives. With all of the shenanigans we've only had to make one trip to the ER for stitches. 

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Whatever It Takes

I've gone to church my whole life. I have sung "this world is not my home, I'm justa passin' through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue..." so many times that I can't possibly count. I have heard sermon after sermon after sermon about Heaven and the limitations of this Earth. 

I know in my head that this world is not where I belong. I know in my head that this world isn't meant to satisfy me and that it never will. Not my marriage. Not my home. Not my kids. Not my personal sense of accomplishment. 

But the other day I had a sort of 'aha!' moment.

I was pondering my beliefs about life. About my marriage in particular. I was kind of doing a heart check to see if my beliefs line up with God's word and I realized that they don't. 

I realized that my heart was still holding onto the belief that if I could just work hard enough or find the secret formula that all of my needs/wants could be met and I could be completely and utterly happy based on that. 

The thing is, this life isn't about this life. 

Being dissatisfied here is a good thing. It is those feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment that send me running straight into the arms of God and into a deeper relationship with Him.

This life and this place and these people and this food are not meant to satisfy me. It's not their job. 

And that heart realization is revolutionizing me. It immediately lifted weight off my shoulders and gave me a sense of peace.

I can be content and even joyful in the imperfections and trials of this life. I can allow those moments to draw me closer to God.

When my husband lets me down, I can let him off the hook and praise God for the reminder that He is my completer and ultimate provider.

When my own flaws and imperfections become apparent and the limitations of my humanity show their face, I can praise God and seek His kingdom and trust that His power is perfected in my weakness.

My desire is for transformation. I have been praying for that. I long to be like Jesus. But I've been complaining about the very things He was using to answer those prayers. 

Hm...that reminds me of a song. How about you?! 

So today my prayer is "whatever it takes God. Whatever it takes to draw me to You. Please give me that. As scary as that could be....I trust You. Please give me that." 

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Getting Real About Marriage

A little over a year ago, I wrote this post about my marriage. (And then about 6 months ago I wrote this one)

I kind of laugh at myself now because I didn't even know how unperfect my marriage was.

The truth is, I'm feeling a little bit cynical these days. I have a hard time reading anything about how to have a good marriage, because most of it seems so naive. And because I've taken so much of that advice and worked hard to implement it and I have still ended up where I have ended up. Broken. In a broken marriage. With a broken man.

We don't struggle with fighting about underwear on the floor. I mean, we might bicker about that periodically but it's never really about the underwear on the floor. 

Basically, his character defects and addictions have spent the last 15 years colliding with my character defects and addictions and now there's a desperate need for a "clean up on isle" All this time we thought the mess was normal and okay and what we deserved. So we lived in it. And as we lived in it, it grew. 

I finally realized a few years ago that it wasn't normal and that things really could be different and so I started reading books and blogs about how to do it to clean up this mess I'd made. And it did get cleaned up. Things got better and better. 

But it was like trying to clean up the water from a leak in the roof without fixing the leak in the roof. 

So, here we are fixing the leak in the roof. And I keep having to remind myself and hear the truth that I can't fix it by myself. 

The thing is, I can't fix my marriage without fixing me. A bridge can't be stable if the individual components aren't stable. A bridge can only be as strong as the individual structures that hold it together are. 

Our marriage can only be as strong and stable as Michael and I are. It can only be as Christ like as Michael and I are. 

And so we're working on our marriage by working on ourselves. We are surrendering to the changes that God sees fit to make in our lives. And we are loving each other deeply in the process. 

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS