Monday, October 31, 2016

To the person hanging on by a thread

I see you, friend.

You're at the fire station helping three of your kids in and out of the new fire engine with your youngest strapped to your chest.  You don't think you can ever pull it together but you don't see what we see.  We see a strong woman doing what's best for her kiddos, even if their dad is out of the picture for the night or forever.

You're at work where things continue to pile up with deadlines approaching and stress at an all time high.  You don't see how you will ever get everything done, let alone on time.  But you don't see that you are making progress, not just at work but at home and in the lives of your children you build into day after day.

You're busy at work and you get the call that your babysitter can't pick up your kids.  You leave in a hurry but miss that important meeting with your boss.  You feel like this couldn't have been a worse time for this to happen but you are taking care of your kids.  You put them first and your boss will (hopefully) see that you care so much for your kids, that's why you work so hard for him.

You're up for the third time in the middle of the night with your child who has nightmares.  You could use more sleep and just want to go to bed but you realize they are only little for a small amount of time.  You cuddle and rock, and breathe them in because you never know when they might not need you anymore.

You're doing your best to juggle all the responsibilities of work, and home to what seems no avail.  You get home and your wife is juggling her share of things too.  You do your best to greet her with a smile but she's doing her best to get dinner on the table and keep the kids from killing each other before dinner.  This isn't what you pictured adulthood, or marriage, or parenthood to look like.  But you don't see that every effort you do to bring in the money to put food on the table, or pay for those soccer teams for your kids, or dozen roses for your wife are making a lasting impression.  It isn't futile, and they see you providing.  They see you doing your best to juggle everything.  They are doing their best to juggle too, and as soon as you realize you are on a team together instead of opposing sides it will make it easier.

You're in your first semester of college and can't seem to get a hang of the pace of the classes.  No matter how much you study, or how hard you try with flashcards you can't seem to make good enough grades on the tests.  You feel like maybe you weren't ready, or maybe the haters were right, but you don't see that almost everyone is going through the same thing right now in your classes.  The pace is much faster than high school and you'll get the hang of it soon.  It may seem like forever until you finish this semester let alone graduate but it will actually be there before you know it.  Keep on keeping on and if you need help, ask for it!  There are plenty of resources out there for you, it isn't a sign a weakness, but strength, to admit you need help.

You're trying to make everyone else happy at the expense of your soul.  You go, go, go until there is nothing left but the shell of who you used to be.  Remember to put on your oxygen mask.  You can't help anyone else if you don't help yourself first.  I used to think that it was so weird that the airlines always remind you to put your mask on first before helping your kid or neighbor with theirs.  I always thought that you were supposed to help others who were younger or otherwise more helpless first and then serve yourself.  I mean that's what we do at dinner right?  Shouldn't that be in the rest of life too?  No, actually it's not.  You see, if you don't take care and time to put on your own oxygen mask first, you can maybe help one person or even two if you are lucky with theirs and then, well you likely pass out and are completely useless.  You may even not survive, but if you take care of yourself first by putting your mask on, then you can help a whole slew of others without tiring.

I know you're tired.

I know you're done with the way things are.

I know you're likely underappreciated.

And you may work twice as hard as everyone else and still can't seem to get ahead of things coming at you.

You feel really ready to just give up trying.

You know who else sees you?  Our loving Father.  And although you may not feel like it right now, but you are enough.  In fact, you are enough because He is more than enough.  You don't have to act like you have it all together anymore.  You can admit defeat and surrender control of whatever is going on in your life.

I know, I know.  Easier said than done.  Or maybe you've tried that and still nothing seems to help?  Well friend, I've been there too.  In fact, I still have to remind myself that it isn't all up to me.  And that's certainly a good thing and relief!  God is in control.  He's the ultimate provider.  He knew everything about you and your life before you were even born.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pro-Life or just Anti-Abortion?

(I'm not going to get into politics because that's not what this is about--it is about SO much more than that.)

As a woman this is what I mean when I say I'm pro-life, and as a Christian, this is what I mean.  And as an American, and global citizen this is what I mean.  I would venture to guess that I am not the only one who feels this way....and by that, I mean I SURE hope I'm not.  If we say we are pro-life it needs to mean so much more than just being against abortion, we need to stand up for all life and that starts with us loving our neighbors.

  • I am pro-life because I recognize that life begins at conception.  Which does mean I am against all abortions.   "For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  Psalm 139:13-14
  • I am also pro-life because I recognize that everyone has been made in the image of God and has inherent value.  That is an all inclusive everyone, not just people who look like me, act like me, are related to me or have the same faith as me.  I mean everyone regardless of: color, race, gender, creed, religion, ability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc... has value! "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”" Genesis 1:27-28
  • I am pro-life because every life matters,  We are each unique and one of a kind.  (And if you were still wondering, yep, I still think that All lives matter, but they can't all matter until Black Lives Matter.)   Just as each snowflake is unique and no two are alike, that is how each person is.  There has never been anyone like you who looks like you, thinks like you and has the talents that you have.  No one has ever sounded just like you, or done the things you do.  You are not a mistake or a duplicate.  You are the only you there will ever be.  And so is every person you meet.  The cashier at the quick service restaurant, the clerk at 7-11, the head honcho on Wall Street, the kid down the street, your neighbor, the person in the mugshot on the front page of the paper, the orphan, your spouse, and so on.  Every person is unique and they matter.
So, maybe now you are understanding more what I mean when when I say that I'm pro-life.  I mean exactly that.  I am pro-all-life.  I am for unborn children.  I am for women.  I am for men.  I am for the LGBT community.  I am for Americans.  I am for the people of the world.  I am for those who are poverty stricken.  I am for the middle class.  I am for the wealthy.  I am for Muslims.  I am for Christians.  I am for Atheists.  etc...I am for all life, when it begins to when it ends.  I am not saying that I agree with or approve of everything that everybody does.  But that's not what this is about.  

It really all boils down to loving your neighbor.  Even if you don't agree with what I believe.  Even if you don't agree with everything I've written.  Can we all agree to try to love our neighbor?  This looks different for everyone.  It may mean your actual neighbor, and it also may mean your fellow church-goer, or your co-worker, or the random person you see in line behind you at the _____(grocery store, coffee shop, whatever).  This means that we need to step up and put love into action.  


“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31


I think it's easy to say "pro-life" or "anti-abortion" and not really do anything about it.  I challenge you, if you are pro-life, to help.  Maybe it is helping a single-mom with child-care, a pregnant woman with options like choosing to mother or choosing to place.  Maybe it is adopting domestically, internationally or from the foster system. Maybe it's helping at a local homeless shelter, pregnancy resource center or boys and girls club.  Maybe it is donating time, money or goods to one of those above or another organization that helps people in need.  Maybe it is by taking a smaller step, and change the way we think about others and watching what jokes we say to make sure we aren't being racist or propagating stereotypes.  We need to love on our neighbors and by doing so, we take a stand for life.  

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 1 John 4:9-11


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Would you still follow?

As I sat down to write this evening, I came across these words below that I had written but never published a while back.  (8/1/11 to be exact)  What I find interesting is that now, 5 years later I am also in a different place in my life and definitely have come to understand what these questions mean.  So the question is, would you?


A few years ago I heard a sermon entitled "Would you still follow?".  I was in a different place in my life then, and it didn't really strike me until now what it all really means.  Not that I know what it all really means...but what I remember from it...I {somewhat} get  now.  :)


The Preacher started out by asking questions like these....


Would you still follow Jesus if, your dreams didn't come true?
Would you still follow Jesus if, you could never have children?
Would you still follow Jesus if it meant a life with no retirement and only hard work?


And went on to back things up with scripture.  He talked about how the Christian life isn't always going to be easy, but rather we need to take up our cross and follow Him. (Matt. 16:24-25)


The answer is yes.  I will follow.  No matter what life may bring.  I have hope because of Christ, and I am a new creation.  So, I will trust Him, seek Him and also ask for the desires of my heart.  (For Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.")  But I also have to realize that my desires and dreams may not be in His will for my life.   


I was talking with J about this and this is what he said:


"When you are doing what God designed you to do, it brings Him glory."


Simple and true. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Thoughts on Toddler Gymnastics

I don't think that I ever mentioned on here that we started J in a parent/tot gymnastics class at the beginning of June because our sweet boy was becoming a major risky business climber, monkey dare-devil.  Both he and I have enjoyed it much more than I thought we would and he's learned SO many new skills from it.  I've made some friends and it's become something we look forward to every week.
Two of the 4 areas they work on gymnastics.
While the whole reason we put him in gymnastics was to (kind of) harness the energy and teach him skills (and me too) so he could move without hurting himself.  I wanted to share all the outcomes, rather intended or unintended, from our four months  of such a little one being enrolled in a "class".

In no particular order:

  • J can now sit in a circle and, more or less, pay attention to instructions.
  • J has learned different routines than he would have otherwise.  (Sit a in circle, doing stretches and warm ups, moves, jumping on tramp, balance beams....etc)
  • J has made friends in his class.  It's SO sweet to see them greet each other and say bye each time.
  • J has made friends with his coaches!  I love that he knows to listen to them, and not just me, and that he respects them and gives them energetic high fives!
  • J is learning to communicate better through this class.  Between the coaches, other kids and other parents, he's gaining more of an understanding of vocabulary and expressing himself.  So much so, that he and a little girl in his class had quite the discussion (read: disagreement) yesterday! lol!
  • J has also gotten stronger, more flexible (was that even possible?!?) and can do multiple gymnastics moves on cue!  (Forward roll, butterfly, straddle, pike and even a backward roll (needs a tiny bit of help to complete it tho!))
  • J also has a new found love of "monkeys jumping on the bed".  It's the way we finish class each time and he looks forward to it from the moment we walk in the door to the building.  
  • Lastly, J has gained more independence and self-confidence through gymnastics.  He gets so self-assured when he gains a new skill and learns to do things by himself.  I love seeing the light bulb turn on each time!
We don't know how long we are going to have J in gymnastics but for now, the benefits far outweigh the cost and we both love it!  I realize he is likely not going to go on to be an Olympic or professional athlete, but this is growing so many things inside of him that I can't not take him to it!  Plus, he is rather gifted and strong, so maybe crazier things have happened! ;)  Plus little J now realizes that in more instances than just at home or Church, that there are times to be still and listen and times to play.  Which is pretty huge for a 19 month old...or so I think. :)

Practicing at home together.

We usually go during the week but sometimes if we can't make it because we were out of town or sick, we can make up on Saturday mornings and then daddy gets to go with us too.  :)
This was the first time daddy got to go with us in early July, and I snapped a couple of quick pics on my phone!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Bedtime Routine

Here's another installment of Mommy Style Monday and it's all about bedtime routines!  We have always had a bedtime routine, to some extent but since my son has been able to walk steadily we've made some more additions and tweaks to it and he just loves it.  And I have to admit, that I do too.  It's so fun to see him mature and like doing things for himself (with lots of help sometimes!).

I know children, and people really, thrive on routine and my son is no exception!  He loves reading the last bedtime story, brushing his teeth, washing his hands and heading upstairs with me and now even asks to start it before it's even bedtime!  (Likely because he likes another chance to play in the water and also because he loves his bed...whether he's sleeping in it or not! ha!)

Here are three crucial things that have helped our routine:

1.  Toothbrush holder(similar):  When J got to be about 16 months old I let him pick out a toothbrush holder and he chose this adorable lion.  It sticks on the mirror, and even though he can't reach it yet he enjoys seeing it there and always knows where his toothbrush is!
2.  Stool:  We found this one at Target and I really like that it has two little steps instead of one big one BUT it's kind of huge yet very stable.  We have a Thomas one that is a little more narrow upstairs in our bathroom too.  But this one J loves to climb on and it's so steady it makes us all happy!  :)
3.  J's own towel:  I tried to find some cute character or kid hand towels to no avail, so I let J pick out a color for his hand towels and he went with this green.  He knows which towels are his, and although he can wipe his hands on any towel he almost always chooses his own!  I think it makes washing his hands more fun, but maybe that's just in my head....

Now as for the actual routine, we almost always put J to bed at 8pm but we stay flexible if we are out of town and/or at a friends house or something.  This flexibility has been a lifesaver for our family, because J sleeps well at naptime and bedtime but also can be a great trooper=less stress for all of us!

8 is just a time that we kind of arbitrarily picked when J was a newborn and it worked so well for our family that it stuck.  I have friends who put their kids to bed earlier and later with much success but this gives us the most time as a family between the time my husband gets home from work and J goes to bed and then also balances some time with just my husband and I after J goes to bed so we can catch up on dishes (or other chores), catch up with each other, do a little more work and/or watching a show or something together before we go to bed.  I don't think there is a perfect or set bedtime for every kid or family, just find what works for you and go with it!

7:55pm We read the last bedtime story. (Typically something from the Jesus Storybook Bible, but sometimes J has to hear Pout, Pout one more time after that! :)

8:00pm (It looks lengthy but our routine is pretty quick and I'm usually back downstairs by at least 8:10pm!)

  • We brush teeth, wash hands and face in downstairs bathroom. (I let J start by brushing his own teeth and then I finish, makes it interactive and fun for us.)
  • Then J says goodnight to daddy and heads upstairs with me.
  • (We do baths are every other night or so and they go right here if it's that night.)
  • Then I change his diaper, change him into jammies and lotion him up.  (With low lighting just from the hallway coming in his room)
  • Then J says goodnight to me, we pray together and I tuck him into bed.  I make sure he has his favorite blanket and kiss him about 100 more times because he's the sweetest.  Then he waves as I leave the room and says "nigh, nigh".  He's usually asleep within about 10 minutes and sleep through till morning at about 7am, give or take an hour or two on either side!


Be sure to check out everyone else who is participating this week below, and if you are interested in joining next time for Mommy Style Monday go to Kiana or Madeline's blogs to sign up!

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts | Madeline at CaseyLand 
Sue at Sue's News | Beverly at What a Day | Erica at Good Job Momma | Monica at It's All About


Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall Bucket List Progress

I haven't been great about updating our blog about how our bucket list is going this fall.  Well, see for yourself! :)
Found a new (and festive) place for our bucket list.  And as you can see we are well on our way.  We also have football tix purchased for that one, and lots of leaves to rake up in the back to be jumped in!  So excited to see our little man actually be able to jump in them and enjoy them this year!  He already loves crunching them on the way to check mail each day! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

First Haircut

Our son just had his first haircut at 18.5 months!  He got 6.5 inches off most of his head!  Wow!  Here are some pics of the great experience we had at the barbershop.  I must admit that it was much harder on me than I thought it would be.  I have snuggled, washed, oiled, detangled and cared for that beautiful hair for the last year and a half...  But so thankful that he is strong, healthy, growing boy who we are SO lucky to call our son.

 Here's a before short from the evening before the haircut.  See all those beautiful tiny curls?  So cute.
 Three pics from the during the haircut.  Baby J started out a little uneasy (as you can see him holding Big J's arm) and then he was goofing around by the time we were about halfway through!  He did such a great job for the barber, and the barber was so kind and patient!  Awesome experience!  (And yes, I did save the hair, because that's what everybody does....right?!?!?!)
 After pic, when we were watching a spur of the moment little remote control car race in the parking lot at Trader Joe's.
Doesn't he look about 10 years older now?  Or at least a few?!?!  He went from being a baby to a little boy.  Bittersweet.  But, he's still our sweet, sweet boy.  Who loves to snuggle and read, and run and play and just be around people.  So thankful for our little family.

Surprise

So, a couple weeks ago I got an email from Amazon telling me of a recent purchase.  It was a shock to me, and although I share the account with my hubby, I was sure he hadn't purchased it either so I sent a text him to see how he recommended resolving it.  That was when he told me it was supposed to be a surprise....for....me.  Whoops.

Well, indeed it was.  I have never been a fan of water or tap water, but I've enjoyed flavored seltzer waters like LaCroix in recent years.  So, he surprised me with a SodaStream machine.  He also got me a pack of flavors (unsweetened ones just to make it like LaCroix basically) and then later got me a couple others.  Much to my surprise, he ordered it and it arrived a couple days later (gotta love Prime!) and we've been enjoying it for a few weeks.


It's so nice to be able to make my own fizzy drinks, as fizzy as I'd like, whenever I'd like!  I have really enjoyed the Raspberry and Orange flavors of these so far, and they are especially good mixed together!  

I so love sweet surprises, especially from my sweet husband.  This one was a little embarrassing on my part....but I suppose that's bound to happen when you have a joint account....right? :)

Anyone else have a Soda Stream?  Love it?  Tried many flavors?  What's your favorite?

This is not a sponsored post, but may contain affiliate links.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mommy Style Monday: All about accessories

This week are discussing accessories that are kind of baby-proof!  My sense of style (or sometimes just lack thereof) hasn't changed a whole lot since becoming a mom a little over 18 months ago.  But the thing that has changed is what earrings I choose to wear!  I always loved the big dangle ones, and well, those were the first to go when my little guy turned about 6 weeks old.  He would pull and tug until he nearly yanked them out of my ears, that and pull my hair.  So you'll notice I now have shoulder length hair and wear posts. :)  Well worth it compromise.
These are some of my favorite accessories to add to outfits for fall, and almost any season!  
1. Chevron Scarf--light and comfy!  Love these type of scarves.
2.  Teething necklaces - fashionable, functional and durable!  Yes!  And it has a clasp in the back that makes sure you don't get strangled!
3. Cute Fossil Bag (old, similar and similar!) -- I've been able to just carry a small purse again for the last couple months.  I can fit a diaper, few wipes (in a ziplock) and my wallet in there and it's awesome to not be tied down to a diaper bag anymore for now!
4. Vans -- cute and comfy sneaks!
5.  New Sketchers --  comfy, even for my silly picky feet and I love the look of them!
6.  Another little purse because I'm enjoying the non diaper bag phase! (Can you tell my favorite colors?!?!)  And I know this is in style because my 15 y/o niece just got this one too!  :)
7.  Cute studs -- I have basically not take these out since I got them on sale a couple months ago.  Love the look and that they don't bother my ears!! Win!
I also recently talked about a couple other things I picked up this season to update my wardrobe in this post, so check it out to see links to my favorite new jeans (I had to get three pairs I loved them SO much!) and some new booties!

Probably my favorite part about all these accessories (and yes I'm classifying shoes in that category too) is that they are versatile and could easily be a part of a capsule wardrobe which is the direction I'm leaning.

I always love it when fashion bloggers (totally not claiming to be one of course!) put together little outfits, so I tried below.  Hope they are helpful!  These are three of my updated go-to outfits for fall: 2 casual for pumpkin patches and football games and one slightly dressy for other events.  Did I ever mention, that I just love fall!?!?!?!  
1.  Casual (perfect for pumpkin picking or football games)
 Earrings (Kohls) | Vest (Old Navy) | Scarf (here) | Jeans (Maurices) | Vans (here) | Purse (here)

2.  Casual (perfect for pumpkin picking or football games)
Shirt (Target--so comfy!) | Vest (Old Navy) | Jeans (Maurices) | Earrings (Kohls) | Sketchers (here)

3.  Slightly dressy (perfect for other events like concerts, fall casual work parties...)
Sweater (Target) | Booties (Kohls) | Jeans (Maurices) | Earrings (Kohls) | Necklace (here)



Be sure to check out everyone else participating this week and see their accessory styles!  And go to Kiana or Madeline's blogs to sign up for next MSM if you'd like!

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts
Madeline at CaseyLand
Bekah at These Are The Days
Monica at It's All About
Chelsea at Tessa Marie
Erica at Good Job Momma


This is not a sponsored post, I just linked to things in case you were interested in getting them too!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

All I have to hold on to

I shared what was on my mind the other day in Even if the healing doesn't come, but I didn't really share my heart on the matter.  I've been surrendering control in different areas of my life recently.  So here's a little glimpse of what that song/line means to me...

Even if the healing doesn't come, and I never get to carry a baby to term in my womb.
     My biggest dream was to be a Mom, and you know what?  I am living it!!  I even get to stay home to be a mom.  We have the sweetest boy and I am SO thankful for him and the opportunity to raise him.  I will never take that for granted.  If we do happen to get pregnant, then it will be a very welcome surprise.  But adoption was our first choice anyway.

Even if the acceptance doesn't come, and I feel rejected by some of the people I long to be closest with...
     I have a great family who is all pretty close now, and a great Church family.  I may never be close with some people but I have so many great people to be thankful for!  Plus, God will never reject me.  In fact, He sent His son to die for us while we were still sinners.  (John 3:16 & Romans 5:8)

Even if the healing doesn't come, and I still feel pretty awful a good chunk of every month.
     Thankful that I still have more good days than bad days.  Thankful for healthcare, Chiropractic care and to live in a country that values health/has to the means to help.

Even if the funding doesn't come, and my son remains an only child.
     While we would like to adopt again, we have no idea what the future holds.  We are very content with our sweet boy, and while we'd love for him to grow up with siblings, at least we live close to his 14 cousins that can help fill that void a bit.

Even if the perfect Presidential Candidate doesn't come forward....
     We still live in America!  We have the right and duty to vote!  We can speak to our reps. and have a voice too.  There may not be a perfect (or even super great option for a) candidate BUT we put out hope in Christ, not in things of this world anyway.  So vote your conscience and pray for our country.

At the end of the day, all I have to hold on to is God and His promises.  I have a husband who is my best friend and love.  I have a Mom who has always been there for me.  And I have a sweet baby boy who is my sunshine.  But all of that doesn't really even compare with the God of the Universe who knows me, who sees me and loves me.  I couldn't do anything to earn His favor BUT he freely gave it when He sent Jesus to die on the cross.  Jesus did it for us.  He paid the price of sin (Rom. 3:23, 6:23) and now we can be with God forever.  That's what I'm choosing to hold on to.  And I will cling to that Old Rugged Cross....

There's still time to enter my book giveaway here!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Uninvited

I've been trying to read a new book every month or two this year.  Sometimes I can't get a chance to just sit down and read, so I've been doing some on audio-book and it's freeing to be able to listen to them on a long drive or while doing chores.  (I highly recommend audio-books if you haven't tried it yet!)  I also just recently (like yesterday) picked up a new devotional book because it's easier for me to have regular quiet times if I have a set devotion or study that I am going through.  Day one was today and I am loving it.  The name of it is Pressing Pause: 100 quiet moments for Moms to meet with Jesus, in case you were interested.
Image result for lysa terkeurst quotes uninvited
The most recent book that I actually just finished earlier today is called "Uninvited" by Lysa TerKeurst.  This was a great book, and just what I needed right now.  ( I feel like I say that a lot...)  In fact, I will likely refer back to it a lot because it had so much truth and good stuff in it!  I am going to post a quote from it below about pain that I think will give us all some perspective:

“We must make a crucial choice.  If we place our future in the hands of our unchanging God.  We’ll find healing and freedom.  We’ll see something on the other side of the pain.  Something good. Something we know will be so worth whatever it takes to get well. 

So instead of running from the pain, we embrace it as necessary.  We must feel the pain to heal the pain.  If we never allow ourselves to feel it, we’ll never acknowledge it’s there.  Remember pain isn’t the enemy.  Pain is the indicator that brokenness exists.  Pain is the reminder that the real enemy, is trying to take us out and keep us down by keeping us stuck in broken places.  

Pain is the gift that motivates us to fight with brave tenacity and fierce determination, knowing there is healing on the other side.  And in the in-between, pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His.  We must invite God into our pain to help us survive the desperate in-between.”  
~Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited Book
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by [TerKeurst, Lysa]
I liked this book so much that I would like to give a copy of it away to one of my sweet readers!  All you have to do is comment below with your name to enter by 5:00pm Saturday.
GIVEAWAY CLOSED!
I will randomly choose one lucky commented this weekend.  This giveaway is not sponsored by anyone but me.  I just literally liked this book so much, I would like to get it in one of your hands because I think you will get a lot out of it too!  Giveaway ends at 5:00pm (Mountain Time) Saturday October 8th, 2016.  Winner will be announced shortly after giveaway ends.  Thanks for reading friends.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Even if the healing doesn't come . . .

As I was getting ready this morning, this Kutless song "Even if" came on, and it really caught my attention.  It wasn't my first time hearing it, but it is very relevant to my life and this topic. . . Let’s start more at the beginning though.

I don't know what's going on in your life friend.  I wish I could sit down with you and chat over a cup of coffee, and pray with you.  But since I’m here and you’re reading this….let’s just imagine this is a virtual coffee shop….

·         Maybe your spouse just decided to leave you after 15 years of marriage.
·         Maybe you lost your job.  
·         Maybe you moved across the country for something that didn't really work out the way you thought it would.  
·         Maybe you found out that you have cancer.  
·         Maybe you are trying fertility treatments again after multiple failures just praying that this one will end with a baby instead of a heartache.  
·         Maybe you're a widow long before you ever should have been.  
·         Maybe you just placed your child for adoption.  
·         Maybe no matter how much you or your spouse work, there is never enough money for bills and putting food on the table.  
·         Maybe you are living with a chronic illness and it is difficult to even get out of bed each morning, let alone get anything done on your never ending to-do list.

Please know that God knows what's going on friend.  He is God.  He is good.  He is forever faithful and in control.  He also sees you, and knows you.  He hears your prayers.    And, if you are going through any of that, which I know some of you at least are, I’m so sorry.  I hope this gives you a little hope at least.

If we have faith in God only when things are going great, what good is that to us or Him?  True faith will sustain us during times of struggle and draw us closer to God, His word and His people.  Easier said than done, though right?

So, what is this true faith I am speaking of?  “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Heb 11:1)  We have faith in God and His son Jesus Christ.  “For God so loved the world that he gave His only son, so that whoever believes in Him shall no perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) We know while Jesus was still fully God, He came to earth to be born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life as fully God and fully human.  Then He bore the weight of the sins of the world on the cross, died and rose from the dead three days later.  He ascended into Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father.  God sent His son into the world as His Plan A for redemption.  Jesus’ atonement of our sins on the cross gave us a way to be reunited with God and to have relationship with him.

My challenge for us is to: Praise God even if/when the healing doesn’t come!  I don’t know about you, but I find it so easy to praise God when things are going well and I “Get what I want”.  But the truth is, we should praise him no matter the circumstances.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He will work together all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)  Even if we don’t see it now, or even in our lifetime.  We can cling to what we know to be true about God and have joy and He will build in us perseverance so we can mature and complete not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:4-9
Those verses from Philippians above are what I call my “life verses”.  I’m not really sure when I glommed onto them, I think it was a particularly tough year in college and they have been with me ever since.  I tend to be a “worst case scenario” or realist (aka, type of pessimist trying to justify that it all really could happen…) type of gal and these have gotten me through some pretty tough times. 

So, I challenge us to praise God even if/when the healing doesn’t come.

·         Even if he doesn’t come back.
·         Even if you have to settle for a different job.
·         Even if it takes longer to find work than you thought.  
·         Even if the healing doesn’t come.
·         Even if you never become a mom of a child who is still on this earth.  
·         Even if you miss him.
·         Even if you’re alone.
·         Even if you continue to struggle with finances.
·         Even if the healing never comes.

He is still God and good and faithful, regardless of our circumstances.  Plus, we never know His plan ahead of time and how He might be using something for His kingdom.  So let’s hold onto God and think about what we know is true about Him:  Goodness, Faithful, Powerful, Our Savior, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Almighty, Lord of Lords, Right, Pure, Author and Perfecter of our faith, ………

One last thought, as I published this post I remembered one of my favorite songs "Blessings" by Laura Story. What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy, What if trials of this life, The rain, the storms, the hardest nights, Are your mercies in disguise?  Just some more food for thought...

I also shared my heart on this matter in a more personal post here.

Comment or email me at JJJourney08@gmail.com on how I can be praying for you.  And if you are in the NoCo area, let’s actually grab a real cup of joe together!  Send me a message or email too. J

In case you aren't familiar with this song, here's the lyrics and there’s also a video below:

Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That could never change who You are
And we trust in who You are


Even if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn’t come


Lord we know Your ways are not our ways
So we set our faith in who You are
Even though You reign high above us
You tenderly love us
We know Your heart
And we rest in who You are


You’re still the Great and Mighty One
We trust You always
You’re working all things for our good
We’ll sing your praise



And the video:



and here is another applicable song too: