Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jesus Weeps and Sustains

You know that verse some of us joke that it's the easiest to memorize?

Yeah, that one. "Jesus wept."

Do you remember why He was weeping?
Lazarus had just died.
But He rose Lazarus from the dead, right?
And He knows everything... so why would He be weeping when He knew He would raise Lazarus back to life?

Because He is a God who hears our cries and mourns with us.

And if we really believe that He's the same yesterday, today, and forever...
Can't we trust that the same way He wept back then, He sees us in our sorrow and struggles, and He mourns with us today? Take a deep look inside your heart... do you view God this way?

This is a very busy week for us. After a beautiful, relaxing and encouraging time last week at the Pastor/Pastor Wives Retreat (Galatians 6:6) it's been a little overwhelming for such a busy week to follow it. I'm thankful for the busy, because it's all been good things, but it's draining us all. I've found myself already questioning where God is in the mundane and the busy, and wrestling with the same sins I committed to turn from just last week. It's so hard to endure when you're trusting in yourself and not grasping that there is One who longs for you to lean on Him.

But I was reminded last night (at a See You at the Pole rally) that God not only sees us in our struggles and mourns with us...

He finishes the good work He has started. He provides the things we need to keep going emotionally, financially, physically, mentally, spiritually. He fills us up. Oh how bad, I need to turn to Him!

He sees us in our sorrow and does not leave us there.

Thank you God for seeing us. Change our hearts and fill us up. So we can continue to do the work You've called us to and not grow weary.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Go out and eat gelato. Just do it.

Alright mamas. I went out last night. My sister-n-law Jennie and I were losing our minds and we NEEDED this. And now YOU are going to go out too.

The poop. The whining. The drama. The dishes.

Mamas, this is our lives right? It's ridiculously beautiful and rewarding, but also hard as crap.

Mamas... you've GOT to let yourself get away from all of that sometimes.

When you feel like you will cry if you have to change one more poopy diaper. When you feel like you will SCREAM if one more kid whines at you about not liking the food you set in front of them. When you think you might tear someone's head off if they bring one more piece of pointless drama, that will not matter 5 minutes from now, before you. When you look at the sink and want to punch somebody because it's overflowing with dishes that haven't even been rinsed.

It's time to get away.

"There's no way for me to get away."
"My kid is attached to me."
"I have to be there to put them to bed."
"I don't have the money to go out."

Drop the excuses. You're going out, Mama.

There is a way. Yes, you have to use the teensy tiny bit of brain energy (<--real thing) to plan out how this can actually happen. But I PROMISE it's worth it. Use that little bit of brain energy to plan this getaway and you will be amazed at what it will do to your depleted brain energy supply.

You're crying attached-to-you child will be fine for a few hours. Seriously. Even if they cry the entire time you're gone. THEY WILL SURVIVE. But most likely... they won't cry the entire time you're gone. They'll get over it. And if they don't they will just be extra happy to see you when you get back and you have brain energy again. They will think in their little baby brain, "Wow, Mama doesn't have that crazy look in her eyes anymore..." It's worth letting your kid fuss a few hours so that you can get your brain energy back. You need it Mama. That same fussing child is the one who took it away from you. Go get it back and then you can take care of them like a sane person again.

Ok so putting our kids to bed at night as a family is kind of a big deal to us. It's something we've decided is important for our family. We always want our kiddos to know that we are there at night and they don't have to wonder where we are and blah blah blah. So if this is your life too, know that you can still go out. You've just got to plan around that time. For me, I planned my mama night AFTER bedtime. Meaning I laid the kiddos down and then took off. Freedom doesn't begin to describe the feeling I had. So do that. Lay them down and then leave. It was nice knowing I didn't have to worry about them driving their Daddy up the wall while I was gone. Or if ya want, plan it out so that you can go out and be back by bedtime. And if you're a fam that doesn't do the family bedtime thing, then even better. Just leave the kiddos to do bedtime with Daddy-O and greet them with new brain energy in the morning! After you've had a cup of coffee because you stayed out so late of course. :)

Yes you do have the money to go out. Don't say you don't. I spent $6.23 last night and was out for 3 hours. We went to a cute little Italian ice cream and pastry shop called Angelo Brocato. I got strawberry cheesecake gelato and a strawberry Italian soda. Jennie got strawberry gelato and a giant cup of coffee. We talked until the place got so crowded and loud that we decided to go sit on some benches in front of a bar next to Angelo's. We talked and talked some more until a creepy old man kept smiling and staring at us, and I decided I would rather not be hit on by a drunk old dude. So then we drove back to where Jennie had parked and sat in the van for another hour and just talked some more. We only left when we remembered the fantasy couldn't go on forever and there would be children demanding brain energy in the morning.

Look how cute and excited we are about gelato and coffee. I don't know why I'm sticking my tongue out like Miley Cyrus, I was just excited, okay?

And ya know what? I greeted my children with coffee and brain energy this morning.
Hello children, there is less crazy in my eyes and your whining doesn't seem so loud today.

So why not get out, Mama???
Don't let anything hold you back. You need to breathe and eat some gelato. :)


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sin & Grace {dedicated to my mom}

Everyone has crazies in their family, right? We've all got that goofball uncle who shoots spitballs at thanksgiving, or that wild cousin who lives in Europe doing who knows what, or a crazy great aunt who obsesses over goats. Every family is jacked up in some way, shape or form. Everybody knows that.

Well, did you know...

My Great Grandmother was a prostitute.


You want to see a picture of some of Satan's dirtiest work? Just look at my family line.

From prostitutes to pedophiles, adulterers to alcoholics, murderers to molesters... it's all covered in my family line.

People say, "It doesn't get worse than my family."


You can find "crazy" in every shape and form of the word. And you don't have to look far at all to find it.

Oh, but friend...

You want to see a picture of God's grace and how much He cares for the individual? Just look at my family line.

 I've witnessed healing, TRUE healing. The kind of healing that's incredibly humbling and painful, but it brings with it restoration. I have seen Him take broken people and change their story. Washing all of that dirty, disgusting sin away and replacing it with grace and a new life. Beautiful, precious grace.

There have been times that I've thought of myself as 'less than' or 'disgusting' because of the family line I come from. Maybe you guard your heart better than I do, but my line has caused me to be really embarrassed at times. I know I'm not them, and yet still I know I'm somehow connected to them...

But listen to this. EVERY. TIME. I think of my family line, God doesn't let me get stuck on their sin. He reminds me of what He can do.

God, I know I could easily be still on that same track they were going down. Only You in Your grace could save me from it all. You could have left my family on that path of destruction. You could have abandoned us and our line in our sinfulness and filth. But You didn't. You healed, You changed paths, You picked us up out of the mud and started wiping all the crap off of us. You literally changed thinking patterns, you restored relationships, you taught us how to live a life of freedom from sin, you showed us true love and how to trust again...

That beautiful grace that reminds me of who I am in Him... if it's available for me and my family, it's available to you and your crazy family too, friend.

- Dedicated to my mom, who was one of the first to take steps away from the bondage and into the light. Who knows who I would be if you hadn't responded to God's grace?