Take the Time

I used to look at my days and weeks with the, “If there is an opening, I can fill it” mentality. I’ve always liked to squeeze in as much as I can in the time I’ve been given. Even to this day I find myself trying to squeeze in one more (unimportant) task before rushing out the door, usually making us late.

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When I would look at our days, I would look to see what “good” we could fill them with. Who we could meet up with, where we could go for errands, what projects we could accomplish, how many things I would achieve off my to-do list. These fillers to our day were all good, and often fun, but they weren’t letting me take time for what was really important. Conversations. Rest. Peace. Intentionality.

I often would feel some nudges if you will, to slow down. Scriptures I’d read, sermons or podcasts, even conversations with friends, would encourage me to slow down. But sometimes we don’t listen to the nudges and we need a big whack across the face, am I right? Sometimes we need to be stopped instead of slowed.

I’m thankful (can finally say that) for some stopping that has happened in our lives. While I still love meeting up with friends, running errands, projects, and to-do lists. I love even more having gaps in the day to take the time to answer the 100 questions my 3-year-old has about all the things we do in the day to day. I love taking the time to talk about a tough situation we may experience with friends or strangers with my very inquisitive sons. I love having the slowed time to shape the characters of our boys. (Because character building is a full-time job, don’t you agree?!) I appreciate the moments to stop and gaze at the clouds while reading on our deck. I am glad to be rid of the guilt of not working enough, or not being and doing enough.  I love answering the daily question we ask one another, “what was the best part of your day?” and being able to smile though thinking about the joy and peace throughout the day.

There are certain aspects of parenting that each of us look at differently. But most of us have certain things we want to model well for our children as well as enable them to understand the value of these choices. This takes time. Often time to even realize our vision for our families.

It takes time for us to plan healthy meals and explain the importance of fueling our body with good nutrition. It takes time to serve others and help instill the value of caring for others without the expectation to gain something in return. It takes time to school at home and find what flow fits. It takes time to model the characteristics of a lifestyle by design that is honoring to God and not always easy. It takes time. I’m sure you’re reading this right now, thinking of your own values that take time for your family.

It isn’t always easy to experience change when you take pride in your plans. I loved being able to “juggle” everything. I like feeling accomplished. And while these desires haven’t totally gone away, (and not that they are even always bad), my heart needed transformed. I needed a perspective shift. For every yes I would say to an outside activity, I was saying no to the special, slowed moments that we now have because we finally have some healthy boundaries.

Life is a journey as we all know. It’s not a destination. While I’ve seen God move mountains in my life and the lives of others, I know that there are many more mountains we will face. I have so much more to learn, so much more to let go of. But I am encouraged at the changes that have taken place and I want to ask you, what are you taking the time for? Some may be saying, “all that sounds nice, but I don’t have time to…” What do you desire, versus what are you experiencing? Do you have the underlying peace that is promised, or is it complete chaos and you’re desperate for a change? It’s not always easy, and it’s not always popular. It’s also not always an “all or none” approach.

Take some time. Pray. Be still. Journal. Ask. Listen. I bet you’ll be amazed at what you’re shown. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, it may take…time.

What do you think? I’d love to hear!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …

 

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So Much Noise. Self-helping Myself Crazy

Can there be too much of a good thing? I’m sure the answers we would get when asking 20 people that question would vary. Even my own answer could vary based on what “thing” I was talking about.

So how has this question had such a powerful impact on me right now? Can you try to improve too much? Can you read good books too much? Can you get too much valuable input? Can you have too much noise? Can YOU try to be too much?

There is so much noise. Even good things have created so much noise. I have found over the years that I get very easily over-stimulated. I noticed it in my kids, and that’s actually how I noticed it in myself. (Funny how God shows us!) I found that after very busy days, I almost had a brain hangover, we called it. So much noise. Loud days would transform into loud weeks and before I knew it, I started feeling this over-stimulation, brain hangover, more than I didn’t.

But why? All the things were good. I had created margin for our day. I had learned to say no. I had discovered triggers that pushed me into this brain hangover. I had been improving in so many areas that I felt the need to grow in. And I had prayed about all of them so WHY was I starting to feel this anxiety when I was also feeling such peace?

So much noise.

Podcasts. Books. Input. Social Media. Radio. Laughter. Phone conversations. Stimulants, good or bad, they were creating so much noise because I had allowed them to cloud the TRUTH of who I am.

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I have been self-helping myself into crazy. I was taking in too much self-help, even though it was good, and it was overpowering the truth of who I am in Christ. I began ranking my worth by how well I measured up to the things I wanted to change in the first place. Craziness. The reason I was drawn to some of the podcasts, books, and social media profiles in the first place was encouragement not comparison. I already know comparison is the thief of joy. I don’t (intentionally) compare. I can celebrate differences in myself and other women and be ok and excited with who I am. God made us different on purpose for His purpose. These things I know. So why the shift in over-stimulation? Why the brain hangover? Why the confusion?

With anything, when we try to take matters in to our own hands, intentionally or not, God will humble us. I’m guilty. I’m getting better at praying about something and asking God to work in my life. Sometimes, I’m really good about “letting go and letting God.” But I also still struggle with pride, not intentionally, and it catches up with me.

I am good at seeing my flaws. God is good at showing me who I am in Him. I am good at wanting to change. God is good at changing me in His time. I am good at being inpatient with the progress and rushing results (also unintentional of course).

Anyone else? Anyone else feeling like you have too much of a good thing and you may just need to slow the noise?  Is it good or is it God? I had to ask myself that, and it even took my sweet husband showing me that I have a lot of self-help going on. Are we letting God do the help?

I still think all the things I have are good. There are awesome podcasts I will still listen to, books I’ll keep reading, and conversations I’ll continue having.  But I see that my heart isn’t letting God do the work. I am trying to be good, but am I letting God do the work? I’m trying to control the refining in my time. But His promises remain true. Am I feeding those good things to my mind? More than the self-help? Am I allowing quiet or filling it with good noise?

I am being transformed. 2 Corinthians 3:18

I am capable. Philippians 4:13

I am gifted with power, love & a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

I am complete in Christ. Colossians 2:9-10

In Jenni-fashion, I took too much of a good thing. Good intentions. Good resources. They are even God-focused. But when I hurry the process, when I have so much noise, I am not letting the quiet guide me. The true, peaceful, transformation. While not always easy, and not without growing pains, but also not in my control.

God is always a breath of fresh air. He will help us find the balance of waiting patiently through refining and walking in active faith. I’m so thankful for His good pouring over my control. Such a breath of fresh air in all this noise.

Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous.

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 27:14

 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Breaking from the Funk

Do you ever get in a funk? I mean a self-pity, clouded vision, lack of motivation, funk? I’d love to say it’s never happened to me, then again, if it didn’t then I may not be writing about it! I’ve been there. It’s hard. It’s like, you know you don’t like the negative thought pattern, and you tell yourself to stop, but then it keeps coming back. It’s a cycle of hope, battle of the mind, guilt, repentance, hope, battle of the mind, guilt, repentance…pure brokenness.

Have you ever prayed and looked so hard for an answer but miss it? Maybe because you were looking for the wrong answer? MY answer to the prayer? And have you ever missed so many gentle nudges that when you look back you’re like, “wow, how did I miss that?” I’ve been there, too.

Have you ever felt the peace that comes when you finally get it and can say thank you, God? All of the sudden gushes of emotions come over you and you are in complete awe? You finally begin to see how all of the unanswered prayers begin lining up the true answer that was there all along? Isn’t that wonderful?

I recently experienced all of these. I was doing all of the things that I knew to do. Pray like I mean it, and listen like I want it. I dove into the word more and more because I was so hungry for it. I would get in my funk and cry out for God to help me see more of Him and less of me. But it’s like this cycle of funk continued. I’d ask others to pray about it, listen to podcasts and praise music, read books, I’d complain, ask for forgiveness, praise Him, quote scripture; I mean, I was trying my best. But I was missing His answer through it all.

Give Him Keys

Yes, through all of these things He was showing and asking me to give Him the keys. If you notice how I explained my brokenness, I was so focused on me and my strength. I would say I gave it to Him, but I kept taking it back, kept trying to steer. But the truth is, even if I’m the driver, God holds the map. And in order to really follow/hear Him, I had to give Him the keys.

I had a wake-up call, after God showed me in multiple instances, that I didn’t have to keep praying what I was praying about. He just wanted me to give Him the keys, and take a step in faith. Scary. But awesome. Sounds simple maybe, but it took some refining for me to appreciate that answer.

When a breakthrough happens it’s this feeling of relief and excitement. All of the sudden there are so many mental breakthroughs that happen and there is so much clarity. So much inner peace. So much love and praise. A deeper breath than you’ve been able to take. So much that you want to just Be Still and take it all in.

A wise friend recently told me that she notices some of these times are when God is refining. I couldn’t agree more. But it was such a wonderful reminder. (prayer warriors in my life, thank you for speaking truth into me)

In life we all know that there are periods of refining that happen. What I’ve learned is that I may feel lots of things, but the only way to experience the spiritual growth that he desires is to cling to truth. When we invite Christ into our lives fully, it doesn’t mean that everything becomes easy. I used to say I wish it did mean that, but now I can truly say that I’m so thankful for the refining. I’m thankful for the trials. I’m thankful that He allows me to become so broken that I’m able to see what He wants to strip me of. I’m thankful that His word tells of His promises that He is faithful to.

When I look back at this funk that I was in, I also look back and see that Christ was with me in the midst of it all. While I may have had moments that I felt differently, the truth is He never leaves us. And while I didn’t get the answer I was expecting, I can continue to expect God to be right there. He will give the answers in His timing, so I will keep giving Him the keys, and acting in Faith accordingly.

Think about how you’re feeling today and what you’re praying about. Is He gently showing you an answer, but maybe you’re not hearing it? Are you missing something that could be a breakthrough? He’s ever so faithful. He hears us. He answers. We must keep seeking and trust. Because refining will come again. Thankfully.

Anxiety-When God Works

When God works, I will give Him glory. I will try to be transparent here, but also, it’s important to know that I struggle with the ability to share the work He’s done. To put in to words such miraculous moments and growth is seemingly impossible to me. Then I remember my strength comes from Him and I trust His work will be glorified through me.

A couple of evenings ago, my middle son called out several minutes after going to bed. He was having bad dreams (aka, imagining things that were unpleasant because he wasn’t yet asleep). While he knew in his heart that there was no fire in his room, no scary man coming in, or even his teachers at school and church were not yelling at him, he couldn’t stop thinking these things. He wanted help. So, what is a momma to do? Well, of course extra snuggle time and kisses help, an extra prayer will show him where to turn when we feel this way, but the main thing that changed his peace and calming was to speak truth. To help him change his thinking. Truth that set him free from these thoughts of fear. Once he had this truth to envision, he soon fell asleep so gently, and with the slightest grin.

This was it! The simplification I needed to be able to express in writing what I felt God has been nudging me the past few weeks and working on in me for much, much longer! Speaking truth. Changing our thinking. Relying on HIM! So, a question I want to ask you and continue to ask myself is; Is your mind, right?

 

Heart palpitations. Heaviness.  Short breaths. Deep breaths. Guilt. Anger. Overwhelm. Confusion. Desperation. Sadness. Drowning. Exhausted. Pain. Shame. Tense muscles. Can’t think. Shut down. Failure. 

 

Anxiety. It’s real. It’s real for those far from Christ and those near to Christ. It’s real for working moms and for stay at home moms. It’s real for those who dream to be a mom one day, or those who won’t. It’s real for men. It’s real in our home life and in our workplace. It’s real when we wake, and it’s real when we go to sleep. I’m sure we can all agree that it’s real. And it’s a real pain, too. And it’s real to me.

Being totally honest, I never really “thought” I struggled with anxiety. I felt like some of the emotions I had were unique to me and that maybe I was weird or missing something. I thought that maybe I was an awful person to feel anxious when I was so blessed. I would feel anger and self-pity in some of the highest anxiety moments (and still have those moments). I would hold these feelings in and I would confide in a friend. I was all over the place trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I would increase my quiet time or change what I was reading. I would try to eat better and exercise differently. I would change my supplements. I would read this and that. I would say “today is going to be different” and 5 minutes in I’d already feel anxious. What is the trend here…I. I was trying to overcome something that I needed to surrender to. I was still making it about me, what I could do to fix it. Were these things important, sure maybe, but I was missing the point.

When God works, I will give Him the Glory. I am (and you too) are works in progress. I kept thinking that if I would improve in all these areas, THEN I would not be anxious. I was always looking to the place I wanted to be instead of letting God grow me where I was. Thankfully, He doesn’t give up even if it takes us awhile to “get it”. And thankfully, He continues to grow me and change me and redefine me daily. Even by the minute. I’m giving Him total glory.

I could spend all kinds of time sharing details of this journey, but I don’t think that’s the key point here. What I do want to share is some of the things that have helped (and will continue to help) me break the chain of anxiety controlling me. (Full disclosure-I’m a major work in progress and to be honest, the last 2 days have been extremely trying. I’m thankful for these tools that have really changed the way these feelings are handled.)

One of the first things we must do, is embrace the fact that we are works in progress. I believe God allows us to experience hard situations to grow us. I also believe we are to share these experiences with others as a way of shining His light in our hearts. Not all hard things end up being bad. It’s amazing as I look back, even over the last 5 years, how some of the hardest situations have made me an entirely different person. In the moment, I wasn’t seeing it that way, but as I reflect, I’m able to see His work. I hope you are too in your own life.

Anxiety

I have found a few things to really strengthen my ability to breathe through anxious moments or seasons, and look to eternity instead of focusing on the anxiety.

  1. Read Truth. Read a lot. Read the bible. Read good books. Read. Read. Read truth. Read books that are self-development. Read books that are marriage focused, parent focused, leadership focused, character focused. Whatever roles God has entrusted you with, read about them! I have found such personal growth in studying scripture, applying truth to my life that opposes the anxious thoughts, and allowing God to shape my thoughts. I am filling up with tools and resources that align with what I believe God is doing in my life, and asking that He continue to help me discern His plan. I recently read something so simple; “Right Thinking Leads to Right Living.” Truth is right. So, think truth, and live right. The more we read, the more our thinking changes. (Some of my current reads are in the cover picture!)
  2. Nourish. It’s incredibly important to not only nourish our mind, but to nourish our bodies. Now anyone who knows me knows that this is one of my passions and thankfully also how I get to help support my family. Anyone who knows me also knows our mission at Power Partners is whole health. So, while we talk a lot about spiritual health, we also know the effects of physical health on our brains and anxiety. We know it’s important to eat a good, balanced diet that focuses on building health. Eliminating the junk that is known to increase anxiety, in many cases sugar. (Caffeine can also increase, and I LOVE my coffee…struggle bus here!) I shared in my Be Still and B-Complex post about the value of adding more B Complex to my daily regimen. Game changer. This is helpful in increasing serotonin, which when deficient, can increase anxiety. Magnesium has also been important because it is very calming and soothing. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough in our diet! One of my favorite ways to quickly calm my anxiety, or to help prevent it, is…Stress Relief Complex. When I pair a SRC with a mighty prayer…look out, sister!
  3. Consistency. That’s right, we must be consistent in these things. Perfection? No, consistent. When we are a work in progress, we must feed and fuel that work. We can’t expect God to “fix” everything and not think we must do our part. He gives us valuable truth in His Word. He gives people gifts to share experiences that help us change our thinking and discover resources to put actions in place. He blesses us with ways to nourish not only our minds and souls, but our bodies as well. Do I have all the answers to the “right and wrong” resources, no, but I know that I trust God, and He’s working in me. I do the best that I can, and in my weakness, He gives me strength. I lean on the truth that God fills in the gaps, because He didn’t create me to do this alone. I am a sinner. I fall short of the glory of God. But he redeems me and covers me in Grace. The good news? He does this for you too!

Notice this short list of resources I’m sharing? Read truth, Nourish, and be Consistent. You will be amazed at the goodness of God in His timing, to grow you. We just have to let Him. I get so excited to think about what else He’s going to do not only in my own life, but in that of those around me. It’s amazing to see the heart changes that happen, and the way it truly has a huge ripple effect.

So, while you may or may not have anxiety I’m sure you can relate to needing Christ. Take some of the quiet moments you have (ha-ha, sometimes I ask what’s that!) or maybe some cuddly moments with the little ones, to listen to what God may be saying. And when you can’t “hear” Him, keep seeking Him.

 

For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

“It is our job as Christ-followers to be part of freeing others-physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are to go to the ends of this earth, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and proclaiming that in Him is freedom, redemption, and restoration.” Redefined Bible Study (amazing by the way!)

I give God the glory for totally transforming me. I know I am a huge work in progress, and have more work to be done. But I also know that it’s important to reflect and celebrate the goodness and freedom we have because of the blood of Christ. I’m a different person than I was even just 6 months ago, and I know I’ll be different 6 years from now. By Him working in me, and by doing the things I’ve mentioned above, I’ve been able to have open eyes to areas in our lives that don’t align with kingdom purposes. I’ve began to see the need to slow down and simplify, the need to ask God to show me my heart issues that break His, the beauty in teaming up completely with my spouse for eternity, the desire to see my children’s hearts and help mold/guide them toward Him.  I also know that if it weren’t for the simplicity I’ve found in trusting Jesus, that none of this would have seemed as beautiful.

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Just Be

As I was getting my middle son’s bed ready for bedtime, there it was. Words of wisdom from that precious 5-year-old’s mouth. Words that will stick with me in a new way, because they were so simply put. Words that humbled me and reminded me of God’s goodness. Words that we all could say over and over daily, and I’m pretty sure everyone would feel much more peace.

“Mom, you know what I just tell myself all day? I just keep telling myself to ‘just be Kohen’ and that works really good.”

I stopped in my tracks and humbly turned to him and asked him to tell me more.

“Well, you know, I just need to be me. I don’t want to be anybody else, right? I don’t have to worry about what everybody else is doing, or playing, or saying. I can do good by just being Kohen.”

Tears? Oh, you betcha! I just looked at this little innocent boy and hugged him and reminded him that he’s absolutely right. He doesn’t want to be anybody else, because God made Him (and he has a purpose). Now I know that eventually we will be able to have the conversation that we as humans are sinners, and God doesn’t want us to just be ok with that. We will talk about God wanting us to be Christ-like! But for now, at five, it was nice to focus on the fact that he isn’t worried about doing all the things, all the time, for all the people.

It’s amazing how time and time again, God shows himself through our kids. Do you notice that? It’s like when we are praying over something, He is able to speak such gentleness through the gentlest little voices in our lives. That’s exactly how I felt last night when Kohen said such precious words.

I’m sure many of you experience these waves of emotion in your walk with Christ. That hunger for Him that grows, and the way that our wants and desires change, are all part of this journey. Sometimes we get really excited about these waves, and sometimes we may feel confused or even alone.

How many of you have a “perfectionist” personality? As much as I want to say I’ve surrendered my personal desire for perfectionism, I seem to take it back more than I’d like. Anyone else? It’s like I’m having this internal competition or something, and always expect myself to do better and better, to do all the things, all the time, for all the people.

Then that lovely doubt can creep in. Do you know what I’m talking about? Like, if I can’t do these things perfectly, should I even try? Would x, y, z, be better if…

I just recently went to Shaklee’s Global Conference in Atlanta. It’s always a wonderful few days being surrounded by wonderful people. I always have different takeaways and this year one of those takeaways was simply stated, but powerful to the core.

A sweet mom whom I respect was speaking to the crowd about her journey in her business. She spoke of peaks and valleys and about her emotions in that journey. While she explained a few details, she then shared something that her husband said to her. Something that stuck in my mind and I keep reflecting on. When she was having feelings of overwhelm or doubt, her husband said, “Why does it have to be all or nothing?” Powerful. And he is absolutely right.

And last night, it hit me. My prayers over so many things, the words spoken from a sweet mom at conference, my precious son keeping truth simple, conversations with dear friends, who speak wisdom, and of course the nudge from Christ that He’s still all I need.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Why am I tempted to be all or nothing? It’s this silly mindset but He just wants me to follow Him and be Christ-Like. I don’t have to try to do all the things, all the time, for all the people. I don’t have to do any of the things, any of the time, for any of the people; without His strength! He doesn’t ask for perfection and He definitely doesn’t want us to obsess and be prideful. He wants us to do what He has called us to do, and to walk in Faith. And often, that means giving up preconceived ideas of what we think things should look like. Ouch.

So as we may have this “perfectionist” personality flowing through us, we can ask that He use this (could be) gift to glorify Him and to point others to Him. We can also surrender our control of the need of perfectionism. And we can rest, that we don’t have to be all or nothing. His grace is more than enough, and he fills in the gaps. We just need to be who He’s called us to be. Now, isn’t that refreshing?!

On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, All Other Ground is Sinking Sand…

Just Be Me

 

 

 

 

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

 

Be Still…& B-Complex

Be still and know that I am God…many of you who know me well, know that I LOVE this verse and for so many reasons. Meditating on it has gotten me through so many moments and emotions. To know that His word tells us to be still and surrender to Him and find peace is beyond encouraging. But how often do we truly do this?

Be Still_1

What happens when we invite God to work on our heart? It’s not always what we want or expect to experience, but isn’t it exciting to know that He is working? It’s sometimes hard for me to be vulnerable, especially on a blog post, but sometimes I think that my writing is a way for me to really reflect on what God is doing. So, vulnerable it is!

As much as I love Psalm 46:10, I can’t say that I was actually obeying. I felt the power of the verse and I know His promises are true, but I was still getting caught up in the overwhelm of life.

How clean is my house? How much school did we get through today? Am I doing enough in my business? Did we eat healthy enough today? Did I work out yet? Am I letting friends or family down? Am I doing enough with my kids, or too much? Am I really there for my husband? Did I spend enough time with God?

Now, this isn’t to say that I have it all figured out now, please don’t get me wrong! But goodness, I had to LET IT GO! Seriously. None of those thoughts or the actions that followed were being still at all! In fact, I was being the opposite. I was trying to be my own strength and busyness was getting the best of me. But in all honesty, I was just spinning in circles not really accomplishing any of the things I was stressing about! Can we say hot mess! I gave one example in my last post!

Enter the invitation for God to work on my heart. Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God. All day. All night. Every minute. In everything. Be still and know that I am God.

So when the crazy thoughts and constant busyness creeps in. I stop and I am still. He is God. I had to quit trying to be what He is! Because what I was missing was what truly matters.

The unexpected giggles from my boys.

The looks they give when they tell me that story.

The sounds of the birds all through the day.

The way the breeze feels midafternoon.

The joke my husband quietly added to the story.

The way they learn through living.

The moments that calm me.

The moments give me such great joy.

The grace that covers me.

The quiet voice that guides me.

The life He’s given me.

The chance to be a light.

So now what? Now I just tell myself to slow down and everything is ok? No, it’s not what I do, it’s what He’s done! When I look at how I was feeling before, I was being so prideful. Thinking I had to figure it all out. Silly me-always silly me. He is enough. He is our strength. He changes hearts and opens eyes. We just have to trust him. And when we do, everything really does fall into place.

Oh yeah, the B-Complex…why did I say Be Still & B-Complex? Random? I think not. When we invite Christ to work in our hearts and when we are really growing in our faith, we must do all that we can to really heal and grow. I say it often; I work like it depends on me, but I pray because it depends on God. I’m going to work with Him not against Him!

Knowing my anxious tendencies, I incorporate different things. Aside from my quiet time, affirmations, podcasts and conversations with God throughout day, I also started taking loads of B-Complex. Yes, I mean I quadrupled my B-Complex. Not because I don’t think God can handle it, but because I’m thankful for the resources He gives me! And for anyone who has ever felt any of the things I’ve mentioned, then I know the combination of Being Still & B-Complex has totally unwound this momma enough to say that I feel so peaceful.

It’s so cool how God really does guide us. He opens our eyes to things He wants us to see. He reminds us of His beauty. He supplies the things we need. He is working behind the scenes all the time for our good and His glory! Even just the prompting to write this, He’s been nudging me for over a week now!

So, for any of you reading this who may just feel a tad overwhelmed in the busyness of life, or perhaps you feel like a whirlwind more often than not, I hope this brings some encouragement to you today. Let’s encourage one another and enjoy the beauty He gives!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Making Progress-Letting Go and Letting GOD

I should start with a disclaimer that I don’t have it all together and I don’t want this to convey otherwise. But what I have, is Christ alive in me, and I see glimpses of release and it’s for that, I celebrate! Here’s an example of Letting Go, and Letting God.

letting go and letting God.jpg

Anyone who can say aloud that they aren’t or have never been a hot mess may not appreciate this blog post. Because if I’m being honest, you’ll think this sounds crazy. But for anyone who ever has or currently feels like a whirlwind inside, and equally spinning on the outside, I hope this brings encouragement and hope!

“Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.” Psalm 66:2

April is a FULL month at our house. We have Easter and then THREE birthday boys to celebrate! Adding that to the normal every day things like life, homeschooling, and running a business, alongside my husband’s crazy work schedule, I have often found myself feeling overwhelmed and defeated. When really it should be some of the best moments of celebration; THEIR LIFE!

As a matter of fact, I started finding myself feeling that way even when it wasn’t April. Have you ever felt conflicted? Like, you want to feel and often do feel one way, but act another? That was (and still is) me. I have such Hope in the life Christ wants for me, and such vision for the peace that overcomes me, but then I take control, and turn things into ONE. HOT. MESS. It’s like I don’t want to worry about worldly “things” and deep down, I don’t, but then for some reason, I find myself getting caught up in “things” that don’t really matter in the big picture!

As my faith grows, I constantly make a decision that I am not going to live so burdened by the “world” anymore. Each and every day I choose Joy and I choose for God to guide my steps. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, BUT in moments of reflecting after our boys’ birthday party last week, for example, I see Christ making such progress in my heart. (More to come in upcoming blogs on some of the action steps I took, and how God fills in the huge gaps!)

I decided this year for our boys’ birthday family celebration that I was going to be present, not pinterest. (This is in no way to knock anyone who thrives and loves pinterest, because you are amazing! I however, am so incredibly overwhelmed by the idea of a pinterest birthday or pinterest anything, that in the past, it’s ruined my Joy in celebrating!)

Can I tell you how much FUN we all had? I mean seriously, FUN! Old me would have been a stress ball, feeling pressure to have everything just right, not really interacting with the kids with the fear that I wasn’t keeping the party going smoothly and food filled just right, focusing on the “look” and the decorations, worried about the perfect spread of food and refreshments, and honestly, making it a much bigger deal (inside) than the kids really even cared about! Oh, silly me.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33

So this year we chose simple. Tacos. I mean who doesn’t love tacos, right? Colors. Each boy chose a color for some simple decorations and supplies. Piñata. Silly string. Outside play. Kroger Cupcakes. One birthday banner. Lots of laughs. Lots of fun. Lots of peace. And I was PRESENT!

So, what changed? I gave up control. It’s exhausting to try to control everything. It’s exhausting to try and be “perfect” (because I will never be perfect!) It’s crazy to get so caught up in the worldly things that I lose sight of Jesus and what He has right in front of me. Family. Love. Happiness.

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

As I felt completely joyful after the boys’ birthday party, I just had to get it in writing. Because I know I will still try to take control of things and lost sight of what really matters. And really, writing is a great way for me to process and then have answered prayers to refer back to. Even if I forget some of these small things, what I won’t forget, is the feeling of Christ alive in me!

When we let go of ourselves, and accept Him, things just change. An inner peace that I can’t even express is just, there. Even in the hard moments of the day, when maybe the kids are fighting, when school is rough, when hubby hasn’t been around much, when I’m behind in my business, when life is life…I still am able to remember the peace that Christ fills me with, and after a couple of deep breaths, I just feel calmer. (Trust me, even just one year ago; this was so not the case!)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit.” Romans 15:13

So I will keep choosing to Let Go, and Let God! Letting go of what truly doesn’t make or break the day, and continuing to let God change me and my heart.

What is holding you down today? What are you still holding on to and trying to control that is stealing your Joy? For me, it’s myself. My own desires that don’t really fulfill myself or anyone. How about you? Have you given it to Christ? Let’s choose to do this together. Because I know the best is yet to come!

Now I’m going to enjoy the rest of this gorgeous Sunday. I’m going to relax in the sun, and for the first time(s) in my life, I’m feeling ok that the house isn’t perfect inside and I have many things to do, because today, I’m taking a day to rest. And today, I’m celebrating Christ the living Hope! Today, I’m refreshed. Today, I’m celebrating imperfect progress. Today…oh what a glorious day.