So much to say…

These past six months have been a whirlwind. The beginning of my year was not a pretty one. The short rundown involves panick attacks, constant anxiety, a trip to the ER, bloodwork, doctor's visits etc. I was to the point in my life where something…SOMETHING had to change.  

So 2017 became the year I chose to BE INTENTIONAL. In many ways, I wasn't sure how that was going to look. I just knew that I wanted to be doing my life on purpose and not life running over me. 

I started going to Biblical counseling which started a snowball effect for the rest of my life. Learning about God's truth and applying it to my fears literally brightened up my life. God's grace was a refreshing rain on this dry body. Mentally I began to feel free again. Thank you Jesus. 

Second, my doctor informed me I have high cholesterol and needed to be working out multiple times a week. Say whhhaaaa?! I hate running. I joined a gym with childcare and started attending classes. No clue what I am doing in a gym so the classes have helped me start to learn what my body is actually capable of performing. It has been hard and emotional. I considered myself a strong person but four kids in five years with little no exercise does a number on the bod. 

C…while we are listing things in order. My husband and my kids. The time I have spent in the Bible and working on my physical health have spread into the areas of my family. My relationships with them are serious. I want full connections going on. Again. What does that look like? How does intentional play out in the day to day for us?

Family dinners many times in a week. Conversations flowing between us and the kids. Some evenings Russell and I just laugh so we don't cry at the table. Kids still whining about onions being on their fajitas or wanting a cup without a straw because "I AM BIG!" That is then spilled a over the table in mere seconds. Learning to keep our cool. Because after all…it is just spilled water. 

Setting down the phones, tablets, computers, shows, and simply just being together. This is so much easier said than done! For so long I have allowed tv to babysit my kids. I don't feel guilty about it. As I said, four kids in five years. Mind melting. But now we are at a place where our youngest is almost two and everyone doesn't have to be fed bottles and diapers changed. We are in a place where tv shows aren't needed as often to supply us time to get stuff done around the house or cook a meal or shower. Instead we listen to music and have dance parties. 

Praying as a family. This is one we are still working on and it hasn't come as easily. We pray over meals but have also added in family prayers at bedtime or in the van. When the kids are cranky, we take a few minutes and each pray. It can usually put a calming effect on the kids and lessen a headache for moi. Does this always go as I wish? Heck no. But we are showing our kids that they can talk to Jesus anytime they want about whatever they want. 

I have written a lot and my brain is starting to fizzle on the words. 2017 in my and my family's year of living intentionally. BE INTENTIONAL. I made this choice to get myself out of the pit I was living in. I in no way could perform this duty on my own. God's grace has been more than sufficient for my needs. Friends and family have prayed for me for months and continue to do so. God has brought me to a place of not being so broken. It feels great! It is HARD! It is BEAUTIFUL! 

I am loving my life and trying to live it more fully. I am still struggle with anxiety and self doubt and all the things but guess what? It does run me. These things don't rule me. I speak God's truth over them and they continue to fade. 

I hope you read this and feel encouraged. We can all live intentionally. I can't stress how hard it is, but let's be real, life is hard anyway but how we live it out makes a huge difference. Be intentional today and tomorrow and next month. Take it for a test run. 

I could keep going but at this point it feels like rambling. I leave you with some of the resources I have been using this year:

Never Say No by the Foremans is a parenting book we have been reading. So far a great read and I recommend it to parents. We are only about halfway through and have gleaned a lot. 

The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. A great Bible study for women. Check it out if you haven't heard of it.  

Here as in Heaven by Elevation Worship. Simple Gospel by United Pursuit. Because music feeds our souls and putting in peace helps output peace. 

Kinetix Gym. Going to a gym  has made a huge difference for me. Accountability. Time away from kids. Getting in shape and I feel so much better. Ask anyone. I hate physical stuff but it has changed me. Go to some gym and get your body moving!

Biblical counseling. After a train wreck experience with an anti depressant, I decided that medicine was not the way for me. Going to counseling twice a month has also changed me. It isn't regular counseling but instead using God's word to shed light on the issues in my life and learning God's truth. 

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James 1

James 1 is packed with some gooood stuff. What I  reading and thinking on today:

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:19-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What have you been reading in the Word lately?

I Am Thirty

Yesterday I rung in my 30th year and what better way to do that than with a stomach bug? I have four kids and a husband. The stomach started earlier in the week for us and worked its way through one by one until yesterday when it hit my husband and myself…on my 30th birthday. 

I will spare you the details, just know, it wasn’t pretty. Never have I wanted a birthday to pass so quickly. 

This is life with four kids five and under am I right? Nothing is sacred or special anymore. It is filled with gross. They are blessed with cuteness or else I might be mad about my day being taken from me. 

Getting real, this is honestly not a surprising way for my birthday to come. Last year I began deciding that I was going to make some serious life changes. Self improvement type things within my own person. My 30th year was going to be a year of change and boy am I getting it. 

I started the year with what some may consider a mental break down. A collision of stress and anxiety topped with a few health issues. These health issues have continued and finally coming to head with the stomach bug. The mental side has been on a healing path due to some much needed counseling. Thank Jesus for those people! 

It has been a very up and down few months to start my year. It has felt discouraging at points but overall I feel as if this is encouraging. My plans for change will not be thwarted by set backs. I will press on. I will get back up on my feet and keep striving for what I want out of this year. 

The good, the bad, the ugly, the glorious, the beautiful…my path is constantly going in a new direction and my person is changing with each turn. I don’t ever want to stop changing and becoming the woman God has called me to be. 

Are you in a tough place? Seeing the light is hard in the darkness, but with Christ the light is always there. Are you dealing with unbelief? Check out Mark 9 when you get a minute, especially around verse 23…a father asking Jesus to heal his son. Jesus but it will happen if a person believes it will happen. My favorite line right now is what is next from the Father. “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Come on Jesus! We can ask him anything…even to help us overcome our unbelief in HIM! Thank God for how awesome he is. Loving us in such a way where he can and will restore our belief in who he is. 

So today, take a breather and raise your eyes to heaven and remind your heart to believe. Ask for your heavenly fathers help to believe. 

A Slave to Fear

When God wants to speak to you, it may not be in the conventional way of saying words into your ears. He speaks through many avenues. Over the past few years, I have dealt with the darkness that anxiety brings. It has been a hilly road and I have no doubt that it will continue to be so. 

Over the past week my anxiety levels have been running at high speed, chasing me into physical ailments and shoving me into the walls of my mind. If you have ever experienced these feelings, then you know. If you haven’t…then you can’t possibly understand. 

I become paralyzed by fear. Irrational fear. I can not even pinpoint one fear, I have them all. In the past few days, God has clearly spoken to me through the avenues of worship, His word and confirmed them by lovely, godly women in my life. 

No Longer Slaves by Bethel

1 John 4:18-19

I have been a slave to fear but the Bible tells me that perfect love casts out all fear. Therefore, I am no longer a slave to fear.

How powerful is that image? A slave. Someone bound to someone else or in this case something else. When I am living in fear, I am not living in the pure love that God has so freely given me. 

As I said, I don’t doubt that anxiety will completely leave me today and maybe not tomorrow. Why? Because I live in the world and as long as I am here, there will be trials. The trials make me stronger and bring glory to my Father. He is a good, good Father. 

I hope that you have found some encouragement in my words. If you struggle with anxiety and feel completely alone…well my dear friends know this…you are absolutely not alone! 

Low Times

Then there are the low times. You know the days. Your life is good. Your heart believes it and your mind is sure of it, yet the low times can tear you down fast. When it happens, you are completely shocked and caught unawares! I was sipping my coffee and reading my devo when nothing happened and my day was turned inside out. 

So what took place? How could my day possibly turn into shambles? 

Life. This the only answer I can come up with. I am a person, walking the human path, and on this journey are the struggles, the hormones, the unbelievable. My reaction can mold the end result. I can sulk. I could cry. I may eat a tub of cookie dough while doing the first two. I will even fall into a sleep stupor to avoid my own thoughts. 

I had done all the above, but some days…I get it right. I sit and yell at God, “why?!” I cry to Him. I shout at Him ABOUT Him and the unfairness of my emotions. I meditate on the music He sendsover my radio. He has His arms open and He beckons me to Him. I sit and He holds me. He whispers in my heart’s ear about the love He has for me. He reveals the areas where indeed His hand was moving me and He encourages me to keep going. 

He does not turn me away. He accepts me. He graciously molds my mind and heart. 

Today…today I am thankful He loves me. 

Sit Quietly

My dad puts together a yearly collage of our family videos from each year. It is one of the few TV watching experiences that my 16mo old twins will sit through. So as they sit and watch themselves and their cousins, I sit and drink coffee. 

Twenty minutes of uninterrupted coffee sipping and reading. Often times I scroll through social media sites and see friends with their families doing amazing adventure type stuff. For a moment, I rage in angry jealousy but then I set the thought down and thank God for the life I lead. I remind myself “my life is not their life.” 

Truthfully, I want it that way! I don’t honestly desire to live someone else’s path for even a moment. If I did, then I wouldn’t be in mine and the thought of that is heart breaking. I love my husband, my children, and my family. I sort of deal with my house and I am thankful to be driving a mini van everyday. (Seriously, mini vans are the shiz.)

In high school, I used to tell my friends “if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence it is high time you watered your own.” I still believe that! 

Take a moment to think and if there are areas you would like to experience change, then make a change. Life is fluid. We are not doomed to a situation or one way of thinking. If we didn’t have hope…a hope to change, then what would we have? 

We are not stuck. No one holds us back more than ourselves. Take a breath, ask God for guidance, and jump. 

Happy Friday!