“I will lead them down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” – Isaiah 42:16
I will be the first mom to say that mommin’ ain’t easy. I have been blessed to be able to be a step mom for almost three years and now have the privilege of raising one of my own as well. Both roles are difficult in different ways but both are beautiful as well. They don’t tell you about the difficult times and the sleepless nights. Maybe they do but in your mind you imagine different. They don’t tell you about being so worried about either of them or praying for their future. They don’t tell you how deeply and completely your heart will belong to them.
If there is one thing I’ve learned these last three years and these last two weeks, it’s that being a mom should be hard because being a mom means sacrifice. It means giving when you are empty. Loving when you are hurt. Praying when you don’t know what to say. And hoping that through it all you can be a light in the darkness and a refuge from the storms in this world. God has reminded me that it is a blessing to be walked out with Him. Time with Him is crucial to not lose your sanity and patience. Prayer is our biggest weapon against the enemy and love covers all.
So while there are many days I have cried over these last few years, there are many prayers that have been answered. God continues to guide and show me how to walk along this mom path. Sometimes it’s beautiful and sometimes it’s just really hard. But at all times, He is God and He is with us. He gives us the strength we need for each day if we let Him.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you” – Isaiah 43:2
This verse has resonated with me a great deal recently. I feel like the Lord just kept saying it to me over and over again this past week as my anxiety crept up in the way it usually does. This anxiety is not necessarily due to any one certain thing, but everything–the small and the big. I like to be in control of all aspects of my life, and when I realize I’m not, it can feel so immensely halting. The unknown can feel truly crippling at times. I’ve struggled to give this control over to God for so long. For too long I’ve fought this battle by myself, not letting anyone else take control. Especially not the One who wants to take it all from me. I am only so strong.
And as I let this verse from Isaiah settle in my mind and in my heart, I realized I don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve struggled with this burden for as long as I can remember and I don’t want to fight this battle alone. I don’t need to fight this alone. I can keep trying my plan…or I can yield to God. His grace abounds in deepest waters and I feel God’s grace most when He settles the storms inside me. I know He can use these struggles to draw us closer to Him and this includes the anxiety we may feel in life.
Admitting I struggle with anxiety has been such a rough battle in itself. Anxiety at it’s depths is ugly, and I didn’t want to burden others with my struggles. But that’s where I’m learning about community as well. I’m slowly growing a community around myself that encourages me to draw closer to God when I feel weak. He will never abandon me when I’m afraid. He knows my struggles and fears, and He holds me anyway.
A few Sundays ago I was really struggling. The week before had been awful with long days at work, unpleasant drama in some close relationships, and unforeseen and unbudgeted expenses. Think of all the things that drain your energy, and they were probably a part of my week. The weekend hadn’t brought any more rest with it either, so by Sunday morning I pulled into the church parking lot with my emotional tank on E.
I sat through the sermon, and I tried not to cry.
I didn’t tell anyone how down I felt. How hard things were. How in need of prayer I was.
Because I didn’t want anyone to know that I was a hot mess. Continue reading “Gaining Strength Through Vulnerability”
I avoid hard times and tough choices at almost any cost. If being allergic to hard times was a thing, I would definitely be allergic. Like highly allergic. There is something buried deep inside us all that tells us we were not meant for pain and hardships, that these things are results of the Fall not of the Creation.
While it is natural to be resistant towards difficulties, it is completely unnatural to expect that difficulties will never arise. And yet, for some odd reason, Christ-followers tend to believe, either consciously or subconsciously, that when we dedicate our lives to following the way of Jesus our lives will be void of hardship. It is almost as if we think God owes us something for deciding that we want to live life the right way instead of the wrong way. But that is not the way life goes. Continue reading “Threadbare”
“Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Mark 4:27
One of my dearest friends and I have known each other for going on 20 years now. We’ve seen each other through a lot of different stages and seasons of life. Bad boyfriends and breakups, new jobs and HR moments, haircuts we never should have had, even weddings and a divorce. Now for the first time in nearly two decades of friendship, we’ve started talking about Jesus.
For a long time, I was skittish to talk about my faith. She’s the friend who has seen me at my ugliest and my lowest. She knows the path I was on before Jesus came into my life. She has also seen how even now with Jesus as my savior I struggle to be obedient, still fall and skin my knees, and at times behave in ways that defy the faith I profess and the Jesus whom I love. Knowing that I’m a poor follower, I’ve let that fact keep me from talking about Jesus too loudly or too much.
Continue reading “Sprouting Seed”
I can’t remember a time I didn’t think of myself as a Christian. Now granted, at my age, there are a few things I don’t recall all that clearly—but I’m pretty sure I have never been a Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian or member of any other non-Christian religion. Like many, I grew up in a middle income home with parents that made sure I went to church and Sunday School most of the way through high school. Following a small period of revolution tied to my college years in the ‘70s, my wife convinced me to return to a mainstream “Top 5” Protestant church where I dutifully sat through Sunday sermons and adult Sunday School classes. I tithed. I volunteered for service projects that fit my busy schedule. By comparison to many of the people I knew at that time, I wasn’t just a Christian—I was devout!
In fact, I was deluded. About two years ago, a crisis in the leadership at that Top 5 church convinced us to shop around, and Two Rivers Church changed my life. I now know I was living only in the Word, and was largely dead to the Spirit. I had ignored the Holy Spirit dwelling in me for so long, I think the boredom had put Him into a coma! I didn’t talk to Him, and therefore, He didn’t talk to me. I didn’t ask Him for help, so He respectfully didn’t help. As a result, I routinely messed stuff up and wrote it off to “we all sin” or “God will forgive me, after all, He made me this way” or “I was saved as a teenager, so it’s all good anyway.”
Continue reading “Holy Spirit in a Coma”