You know the feeling of kind of shaking in your pants, or at the edge of the seat? I am there… I am here? The setting: last night before getting ready for bed, I set myself in front of the computer at the kitchen table smiling at the screen. My mom was on the other side through “FaceTime” and I told her, “Mom, I want to be a writer! I want to share stories.” You know what has been on my heart? My moms words. My mom’s words of encouragement. “You can do it. You should do it.” sums up what she said. “You pray and and you ask the Lord for words and you write and share.” My naked thought and words now were wrapped in her warm, fuzzy, honest, and encouraging words. My mom’s words were a salve. My mom’s fleece-like words warm my bare dream! I perked up–my smile stretched from ear to ear! My mom spoke life to me.
You’re reading this thinking, “Aw, your mom is so sweet!” or “Your mom is encouraging. Ugh. Not mine, you say.” I know in sharing this heart-moment that not all can connect. Here is what I want you to connect with: you, too, can be a Sound Chan (that’s my mom’s name, btw, hehe). Has a friend shared a life goal, dream, desire that is noble and honoring and has this friend wanted a push toward the “yes!?” I urge you then, that though you may not have had the Sound Chan as a mom, but you can be the encourager!!
Let’s be encouragers. Let’s send others off into dreams that bloom, flourish and captivate the watching world. Let’s do this for the sake of God and love and truth.
What did the encouragement of my mom’s word do for me? You just wait and see!
Two words…Brokenness and Humility
How do you take in those words? Are they easy to swallow? Do feelings of excitement flood your body and soul? I doubt it if this is a new topic and if you experienced “brokenness and humility” before it’s not easy period.
Here’s my story. I think it’s vital for every man and woman to experience the humbling and humility that is in Christ. So the story goes.. yesterday, I was having a great day… super fun and then my husband and I played a board game (we were playing Potion Explosion–super fun–by the way). I noticed that he was winning BIG TIME as he usually does. I piped up and asked him when the game was ending if we’re doing the first way to end a game or play until all the tiles were gone. The sore loser in me broke down. I was sad, bawling…
I had this “up” day and THIS… this losing a game… this brought me down?! Yes… it did. You see this journey of brokenness and humility is on-going and has been going on specifically since the beginning of the year. I was preparing my heart for a conference in Indianapolis and the theme was “Cry Out” for the True Woman 2016 Conference. Who really openly chooses to experience Christ’s humbling? I did. I didn’t want to. I told my roommate the night before I wasn’t ready. How did it all turn out?
Fun? not all of it… but really it has been humbling.
In a period of two months I saw many prayers answered. A child prayed for me to be healed from sickness. Three friends saw prayers that God answered and their spiritual lives went deeper. God answered specific prayers in a matter of minutes two times. It was intense… it’s been intense.
Now this? Losing a game and being mopey. Yes… I learned that BOO: I am a sore loser and that’s ok–I am growing up. I am growing up in Jesus and that’s good. I was also moping over the tasks at hand and the hats I wear. None of this I do alone. I have the Holy Spirit and also I have my wonderful husband and family and friends. Christ will hold me fast… the Getty’s song “He Will Hold Me Fast” is so touching and timely for my circumstance. After cleaning, praying, talking to God… I got all I felt I needed to do and spent some quiet with the Lord and it’s a new day. He’s good to me.. he’s good!
It was the spring of 2015, when I started reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. My good friend recommended this book as it was recommended to her from her mentor. I got my “copy” on the Kindle App and started reading it when I had more time to lay in bed–I was a mom for the third time to our third baby. I couldn’t believe I was picking this book up after having our sweet Betsy here’s why… immediately into the book, I experience my heart strings tug and hardness tear…I balled, I cried, I couldn’t hold in the tears as I swiped through the pages. You have to read it! It was almost hard to get through and especially as a new mom hormones and all… The book was fabulous–she lays out her journey well and the stories that shaped her heart shaped mine.
The heart of Ann Voskamp to share her life and her journey inspired me to keep a journal. I began slowly putting pen to paper and writing a couple of things a day. I am thinking about how I love it when I’m grateful and joyful (that combo) but not into the grateful and grump + tired. I long to grow up in Grace and Love. I want badly to be a woman who is grateful in all circumstances because of My God! I know his character–he is Love, Abba (father), Comforter, Creator, and so on.
I bring up Mrs. Voskamp’s book because it brings up such a heart to be grateful–to slow down and look and see WHAT God is doing. Do I always FEEL like he doing something? No. I have to look carefully to be the student and study my Maker.
So today, I am looking in the midst of the groggy and the grump. I am looking… what do I have to be thankful for? Here are a few things:
- My in laws–my father-in-law came over to work on a project with my husband. So sweet.
- My children and their eager help! I loved witnessing them.
- I got to meet up with my good friend at the park and our six kids (together) played
- She made me Thai Iced Tea–such a sweetheart
- My girls and I went to the grocery store and bought food for the week! Yum.
- We had a GREAT shopping experience and got to have deli meats and candy for dinner
- Two kids fell asleep as we got closer to home–yay! Effortless bedtime for mama and dada
- Daddy and Delly time–they got to hang out and “work on a project”
- I made a new dish inspired by my friend and it was delicious-Japanese noodles (inspired by The Pioneer Woman)
- I cooked and got to eat (got seconds…) in under 30 minutes
- Betsy woke up fussing but I got to nurse her back to sleep–so nice and easy
- I got out of my funk! Went from grump to grateful by asking the Lord (Phil 4:4-9 and 1 Thes 5:16-18)… oh thank you, Lord! I DO NOT like living tired and grumpy… it’s yucky…
I look back at my calendar and see that it’s been about two weeks since I’ve been away and was able to the attend the True Woman 2016 called “Cry Out.” I think often about the heart of the conference and the heart of the gospel–their aims are life-giving and saves me. Only the gospel can save but when one aims to point others to Christ it is noble, good, right, pure, and worthy of praise.
Now that I am back in the trenches: living my day to day as a child of God, wife, mom, leader and doing all this “ministry” I see that I need the Lord more than ever before. So, I get the email updates from the True Woman 2016 followups and the passage from Psalm 9:9 reminds me:
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.
Oh how that brings such relief to my soul–does it bring strength and peace?
Look up! You have to manage accounts and a mountain of paperwork? Christ is your refuge–you can believe on him and work to his glory. He will strengthen you if you are a child of God and call up on him! Do you have a messy home and a little strength? Would you recall that the Lord is a refuge! He will protect your heart; ask him for strength.
I hope you’re encouraged today. Know that the Lord is the everlasting God and he will renew your strength. If you’d like to know today how you can have a relationship with Christ and be a child of God, let me know.
I have been thinking lately about how our society, friends, and even our own selves can emphasize a big dating event…
Working with children and families, I had a dad excitedly respond to a question of mine if he takes his daughter out on dates and he answered, “Yes, once a year! I take her to the Daddy and daughter date.” My heart sank.
He was serious. I was seriously sad.
Do I stop and walk away with my head hanging? Ever? No…
My friends. I usually choose to fight and encourage with my words. I choose to speak life! So, I am doing that today…
Husbands and wives: marriage is a gift. Marriage is a union that two fallen human beings get to display a love and service to God–draw others to the Cross. Marriage is hard–we have to fight for it. We need to fight for our family and spouse stronger than any other relationship. Too often we fight for the wrong relationships.
Well, speech out of the way. Let me offer ways to date your spouse with limited time and money–I speak from experience. I work part-time, am involved in ministries, and have my wonderful hubby to love on and three baby girls to nurture and train and teach. Yes, just a little busy. Things my husband and I do to keep our friendship and love alive:
- Game night–pick three games, vote for one and play it… play that one a couple of times or play all three: time allowing
- Show night–we decide on a show or two to watch together
- Work near each other night… we’ll actually do something we both want to do but near one another
- Plan, save and set a date night… actually have a date night once a month.
- Talk often (connect right at the door or upon entry home)–communicate. Give and get info and make heart connection.
Fight for one another–love on one another and water your “grass”… make it beautiful!
People who are thankful and grateful are pleasant–fragrance arising!
Are you ever offended when someone is kind and grateful and recognizes what they have been given? I hope you answered a big loud “NO!” Truly, grateful people are sweet. I want to being a series of gratitutde as we went into the Thanksgiving season.
Through a series of circumstances and a bit of digging into the Holy Bible, I found that a life of thanksgiving is vital for the Christian. I found that when I dwell on what God has done for me hour by hour to day by day, I can’t stop! When I go a day without physically writing down something God has done for me, I feel off. I enjoy writing. I enjoy penning blessings into my journal.
After reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I was challenged to have a gratitude journal and aimed to pen 1,000 gifts. I can share that it took about a year (perhaps a little more) and now, I cannot stop!
This season, as the weather cools and the leaves change, will you begin to quiet your heart and listen and search for those things today which are gifts? I think of the five senses, mobility, and breath–without breath, I would not be alive, without senses I would not be able to experience well the world and I am ever so grateful to be able to walk, run, skip or dance. After all, I am a young mom and care of a home of five. I am so grateful. How about you?
What can you begin to list today? Might I challenge you to keep a journal this fall. Check back in with me and we’ll go a little further and pick up on some Scripture to cultivate the heart of a blessed life.