What kind of routine do you have for prayer, meditation and reflection?
One of my biggest loves is time with Jesus! I plan and imagine how I want it to be. I prepare like I would if I were spending time with my best friend in person.
It is like a perfect magic elixir that gets my heart warmed up and ready to enjoy great conversation and energizing quality time. It symbolizes both creativity and safety, love and joy. It provides perfect opportunities for celebrations and times of grieving and letting go.
Preparing my heart for time with Jesus is like brewing the perfect cup of coffee. It takes intentionality. If I rush or miss a step, I miss out. Am I paying attention to the details? Am I slowing down enough to allow myself to be vulnerable and pliable? Am I spending enough time to truly allow His word to brew the perfect flavor, scent and flavor from my life? Have I settled for second best or offered second best when I could bring my finest to the coffee table?
These are all questions I have been pondering this season of lent. Jesus brought His best everyday. He spent quality time with God and with others. He never rushed.
He never treated us like second best. He brewed the perfect cup of coffee. His cup brought life everlasting.
How many of us struggle with the thought that we need to have it all together ALL of the time?
✋🏻 I am guilty of beating myself up and feeling like I need to repent of some unknown sin… am I the only one that feels I must somehow measure success by a religious checklist?
Sometimes life is just… difficult, hard, yucky… and many things are often out of our control. How we respond is our choice but have you ever just sat down and given yourself permission to be okay with not being okay?
I am talking about grace over self-pity and I am talking about acknowledging the struggle in order to invite Jesus into it. I am talking about victory not victim-hood.
What is it that you may need to acknowledge and then extend grace to yourself for?
I am here to tell you today that you do not have to hold it together because Jesus already does this for you.
Today I was struck with the beauty that has surrounded me. It is only by the hand of God that I have a beautiful family.
His healing occurs everyday no matter the mess. His mercies are new every morning. He is the reason I sing, write, dance, and build my life despite the injustices that surround me. His goodness reigns amidst any kind of circumstance.
His strength is always ready for me to grasp when I feel like I may not be able to get through the day. And each time I do, I am blown away by His love and kindness! As I enjoyed my first cup of hot coffee today, I prayed this Irish blessing over you. May you find His goodness in your day and be refreshed. God cares for you!
Can you pause with me for a moment? Pour that cup of coffee and savor it for a moment longer than you might do on an ordinary day. Sit down and take a deep breath. What can you hear? Can you hear birds outside, the laughter down the hall or do you have music playing? In this moment of pause, is there something beautiful you could have missed if you had rushed about and let your coffee go cold? I was struck with gratitude the other day as I saw neighbor kids finally playing outside for the first time since quarantines began. My heart did a flutter. My eyes got misty as I realized how beautiful it was to have children who finally were allowed to do what any child should be allowed to do- play. Their contagious laughter filled me up until I breathed in deep to cherish the memory. I wanted to soak up the moment knowing how suddenly life could change. In this moment of pause, what is it that you want to soak up and imprint forever upon your memory? Have you taken time to grieve what may have changed in a years time? If I need to, I can pass you some tissues to usher in compassion and care for the losses that need acknowledgment. I would encourage the tears that need to be released from the iron gates you put up to help walk your family and friends through one trial to the next. In this moment of pause it is okay to release grief. Let go if you’ve been holding on for too long. Sweet Jesus has never left your side. He will weep with you and celebrate the precious moments. Life is both so simple and complex. There is beauty amidst suffering and trial. We just need to pause. Sit down with me and take a deep breath. Simple sunrises and sunsets were not meant to be ignored, nor were the chirping birds, budding flowers or the deep belly laughter from kids. Sit with me. Pause and embrace a moment of beauty.
I know today could be passed by by most people. But our 10 years are a BIG deal! When I reflect on this day 10 years ago, I was filled with excitement of a dream coming true as well as the weight of how serious this covenant I was walking into. It has taken many years to work through the pain of sticking to a ceremony that others did not want me to have but I am thankful I can see all of the beauty of that day now. I will forever remember your gift and what I consider a most sacred moment when I walked down the aisle. Our flower girl was missing and you gifted me with ladies who I cared for, to bless my path with the petals. It was your first romantic act on such a generational-changing day. I also apologize for leaving you waiting for ten minutes post ceremony start time because I wanted to pray with my prayer warriors. I still remember the blessings prayed over us by my precious friends!
I do believe that all the spiteful and curse words spoken over our marriage only revealed how much we were meant to be together. Here is why:
These past 10 years has led to one miracle and impossibility after another! We have seen proof, that as we are unified together, God acts and He acts mightily. We have seen God open one door after the other to ministry opportunities, precious relationships, miracles in finances and provisions, homes, healing, and the miraculous growth of our family. What man told us was impossible was not impossible with God and He gave us favor and did the impossible for us (And He isn’t done— He is only getting started)!
This journey has not been easy. We’ve seen more together than most do in a lifetime. Too many losses to keep track of and injustices that surprise others. We could list our novel long heartaches but none of those would come close to comparing to the gifts and blessings we have gained from God amidst the suffering. He has gifted His hope in small and large doses when we’ve needed it. He has met us in every high and every low. We are not the same people we were 10 years ago. We are better people.
Sex is better (yup, people- I finally said it)— there’s been a lot of freedom here. I will never shy away from saying that a covenant keeping people have way better sex lives (this is proof of healing in me btw that I even dare to write this publicly & the Church needs to take this back, so here I am starting the dialogue)… well, because God designed it that way and it isn’t gross, impure or ugly to speak of it that way. Romance and sex was His idea, not the other way around! Your spouse is supposed to knock you off your feet. Pleasure is God’s design within His covenant. What a great gift of taking back from the enemy the mysterious covenant of intimacy intended for a husband and a wife! I am thankful we saved sex (and having any type of physical relationship) until we were married. I am not sure we would have the freedom we are living in otherwise.
While our vows remain true I have to admit that we have surpassed some because of the growing love and grace of God. Instead of being a Lakers fan for a day I am a Lakers fan full time (Caruso all the way). Instead of breakfast in bed I’ve received it far more than I have given to you. When I could not get up recovering from my miscarriage you took care of me… for 3 months in a row! Our separate vows became one in this decade. And I’m proud to take credit for giving you a love for good coffee even if it may come across a little snobbish at times.
We are gentler and kinder people. We have dug deep roots together in the truths of our Savior and in the promises in God’s Word. Every storm was intended for our destruction but it only deepened our roots and made us stronger. And here we stand, hand-in-hand, looking at more impossibilities amidst miracles that continue to take place. Life is so incredible together!
No amount of suffering and heartbreak will ever rob me of the blessings I hear down the hall. The footsteps that I hear as my world awakens, stirs me deeply. Heart somersaults from hugs, smiles and laughter. Healing is messy. Life gets mucky and until Heaven, we must confront suffering with the hope and healing from Jesus. He is so gracious and always near. We can forget that He wants to join us in the heartache, when it feels we are amidst a hurricane and are being pounded from all sides. We can forget that He took on our suffering. We are not alone. We are understood and known. What comfort we can have knowing this! Take a moment today. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and remind yourself that whatever storm and struggle you are enduring will pass. You can be strengthened amidst the wind and the pelting rain. He is with you. Sip and enjoy even if it is for a few minutes. The wind is changing. The sun is about to break through.
I know it’s been some time since I’ve blogged or posted anything too inspirational. If I am to be honest with you since January 1st I have been grieving certain things in life. Each week presented some other loss. Sometimes I tend to focus on whatever needs to be done and make sure everyone else in my life is okay. Are any of you like this too?
I hit a major grief stage over the weekend because I didn’t realize I hadn’t had time to myself for a month to process as I needed. Any introvert knows that can be deadly and my soul was screaming.
There is a song, Save Me, by Steffany Gretzinger that says,
“I tried to be the hero for a day. But all my superpowers failed to save. So I turned in my ego and my cape. I was made to fly but not this way”.
I had unknowingly tried to save what was not mine to save and I looked around to find myself alone with the heartache. But God met me even as I screamed at Him and beat on His chest while He held me. Todd White likes to say, “God is a big boy” and I never realized how much God could take from me as I said every thought I’d been too afraid to process out loud with Him. This may sound weird to you but I sometimes still wrestle with the lie that God is punishing me for things I’ve done or did not know were wrong. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
He held me close. He dried my tears with His own sleeve. He listened to me. In that moment as ALL my pain spewed out, He told me to rest. In His lap, exhausted, I rested. None of my circumstances had changed. My womb was still empty and aching. The questions still were unanswered. My heart hurt most of all. For my lost children. For injustices I could not fix. For so much loss over the past decade. For things bandaids could not make better. For relationships I missed. For the life I let go of and the one I feel I have to fight for. For my broken country. For the painful tears that never will dry on earth. None of these were fixed in that moment.
And that is okay.
In that moment I had God holding me, hearing my heart and my voice at the same time.
He extended so much grace and mercy. His gentle arms held me closer as I rested and I could finally hear the beat of His heart after mine had stopped pounding in my ears. Gentleness was gifted to me instead of flashing angry eyes and a stern voice. He knew I needed a break from the pain.
Our burdens were never intended for us to carry on our own. As He held me, the burden started to lift. It took some time as I worked through the anger that lingered but new air started to fill my lungs. Each day since then I have realized how much I have gained through each loss and moment of suffering. God is so good that He had woven so much beauty amidst every part of life!
How long has it been since you stopped what you were doing and rested? Do you need to hang up your cape, that you may have unknowingly put on, and allow God to come save the day or perhaps save you? He is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46). He is a “big boy” and can handle whatever you need to talk about. He extends grace and mercy even when it doesn’t come out nicely because He knows us perfectly.
God knew I could not take anymore. He knew that just because I was angry I still loved Him and wanted to love Him more and more, for forever. He knows you too. He knows.
Coffee Break #1: Shoutout to all of you who are home helping kids in school and struggling to make sense of life. Are you a hott mess? Messy hair, sleep deprived and patience growing thin? The news and current events probably are not helping you either. I made a pour over today and drank my second cup of coffee and prayed for YOU. Yes, I SEE you. You may feel hidden or alone because life these days have discouraged us to stay away to protect one another. But I want to acknowledge all you do. I want to rebuke the fears that have held you captive and pray in freedom and peace into your home. May laughter bounce off the walls in your belly and in your home. If I could, I would drop off a fresh, smooth and creamy cup of coffee to encourage you today. We could laugh, cry, and dream about our lives as sisters or friends allowing unity and peace to become normal again. Because of this I will be doing a drawing for all those in the U.S who comment, like, tag friends or share this post and the ones to follow labeled, “Coffee Break”. The winner of the drawing will have coffee delivered to your home to help remind you that you are seen, valued and loved! Every action will give you extra entries into this drawing. Entries are good from my website, FB page and Instagram. I am also considering bringing back coffee break videos and doing weekly coffee delivery drawings. Would you let me know if you would like this? The whole intention is to encourage your week and remind you that you are not alone and are one amazing friend. Enjoy a cup of coffee today and breathe deep. You are seen and loved! Drawing will occur next Thursday and is not sponsored by FB or Instagram.
Too often we run from rejection which is why the statement, “rejection is a gift” seems odd to many.
What I have experienced this past year through rejection has blessed me far beyond what I could have imagined. Rejection letters, rejection emails, blatant silence and individuals ignoring me and much more has encompassed my life every month for the past year. The most rejection has come from things very few people know anything about. I do have to admit that this can be very exhausting. But it has also been a rare gift that people tend to view negatively. I used to view it negatively. It still can even sting a little but rejection is a gift.
Here are a few gifts I have gained from rejection:
1) A closer relationship with Jesus. As I have grappled and wrestled with fierce rejection, I have had such precious, tender moments with Him. These moments have deepened my love and trust with the only One that matters at the beginning, middle and end of my day.
2) Because of my extra time with Jesus and the deepened relationship I have gained, I know more of who I am. My identity and self worth are not in others or in what I do. When rejection comes it can roll off my shoulders easily. Confidence has grown so much that it is much easier to stand for the truth and remain in it. Compromises become less unless the goal is peace.
3) Life is better overall. I don’t need to depend on what is going on or whether I am “accepted” or not for my life to be enjoyable. I have begun the practice of celebrating rejection knowing that I am living life to the fullest and that I am loving with every fiber of my being.
4) Love for others increased also. I have chosen to let go of pain and forgive in the moment and then love fiercely no matter what. Some people aren’t ready to receive the way God wants them to. I have learned and continue to learn what this looks like as rejection comes my way.
5) Letting go of what has hindered me has become a much bigger part of my life. I truly desire to live a blameless life. I have made decisions that don’t make sense to others but I have chosen to let go of anything that could lead me to sin or continue in unhealthy, toxic thoughts and actions.
6) Freedom and victory come daily. God has shown me that some rejections were enabled by His hand to protect me and lead me into a greater blessing elsewhere.
Thanks to rejection I have gained eternal treasures and share a lifestyle of joy no matter how intense life gets. Life has been intense— and not because of COVID or lockdowns. But God is good, therefore my life is good.
How can rejection help you? What treasures would you like to gain? God truly helps us live our best life when we allow Him in.