Monday, December 30, 2013

Issues and the New year

Hi there.

Merry (belated) Christmas! We enjoyed a nice time visiting my family in WI and despite all of us coming down with a 24 hour bug, we had a great time. It’s been nice to be home though getting things back in order and of course playing with all of our new things.

Elizabeth is *obsessed* with her new baby doll and stroller that we gave her. She learned the word baby in about 5 seconds flat and now spends her days getting frustrated over the buckle on the stroller and yelling “baby”. It’s hilarious and equally maddening to say the least.

First things first…something is going on with the blog. SO if you normally come to the blog via www.comeabide.com things are looking crazy so you’ll have to bear with me while I fix the glitch. You can find the whole site at the old address: www.comeabide.blogspot.com

And now back to the holidays and the fact that 2014 is just a day away.

Life with a toddler means that we will be hunkered down at home tomorrow night but hopefully I’ll get my act together and make some delicious meal for us. I already have New Year’s Day brunch planned out so we shall see.

But one thing I do have planned out for 2014 is my word of the year. Last year on a whim I decided to join Layla at The Lettered Cottage in choosing a word of 2013. I chose “Grace”. If anything this word has been on my heart, in my mind, on my lips all throughout the year. Not only do I feel like I’ve learned not only to receive and give grace but accept it as well.

A couple of months ago I began thinking of a word I wanted to focus on for 2014. The one that kept coming to mind was “Prudent”. I’m not hoping to transform myself into the 21st century version of the word but instead the Biblical attribute. I need to grow in prudence; becoming a forward thinker, being wise about what’s to come, and using discernment and forethought. I’ve always been more spontaneous and impulsive and though that’s great for a million reasons there are some things that would be improved upon if I used some more prudence.

PROVERBS 13:16 “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.”

Going into the year, I never thought choosing a word to work through, focus on, or grasp would be as beneficial as it was. I found that having one thing, in my Bible reading, my studies, my mothering, etc. to think through or focus on was such a blessing. The word GRACE is atop a shelf in my office/craft room and it’s been right where my eyes focus. I’m not about to change the word to PRUDE for 2014 but I will be trying to find other ways to focus my attention on growing in wisdom and discernment.

Join me?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This year Christmas has looked and felt a little different. Piles of cabinet doors, finishing touches, pulling in our purse strings and a thousand little decisions have vied for our attention. And unfortunately our attention at times has not been solely focused on the birth of Jesus.

While our stockings were hung to commemorate St. Nicholas, our advent felt tree was up, and our stacks of Christmas books were out and read over and over again, sometimes our heart is just a bit amiss.

This time of year has felt a lot like we’ve been going through the motions because in some ways we have. Family struggles, the busyness of the season, and trying to finish our house have seemingly gotten in the way of celebrating the way we think we ought to. But just knowing that  carols have been sung and we’ve talked and talked and talked about the baby Jesus due to our many nativity sets around the house gives me grace to know that at least the story has been heard even if in small snippets throughout the day.

Somehow I always think the Christmas season will look for us like something straight of Pinterest with advent readings every night and some fantastic Christmas craft each day and our hearts always in the right place. And then I’m reminded as I have been throughout this year as a whole that the vision I have in mind is not always the vision that takes place.

And I give myself grace.

Because happily ever after and a perfectly executed Christmas and advent season isn’t what we’re after and neither is it, I imagine, what God wants for us either. Because right now, throughout advent and this season, I’m seeing grace anew, and that’s one thing that’s only possible because of the advent season we’re walking through right now. Without the birth of Jesus, grace wouldn’t have come.

Praying the grace of Jesus will find you this Christmas and you will know, as angels sing victoriously in the heavens, that Jesus is the Lord.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

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photo by Leah Fontaine

Thursday, December 5, 2013

On St. Nicholas

Growing up their was one occasion in December that we as kids anticipated almost as much as Christmas Day. And that was the eve when St. Nicholas came! On December 5th, at our house, St. Nicholas “would come” and we would receive treats and toys in our stockings.

After reading this on Wikipedia, it makes sense why so many did this in WI. Given our German heritage and protestant background it’s no wonder. We also hide a pickle ornament on our Christmas tree…do any others do this? Friends of ours recently had a German exchange student and unfortunately this is an entirely made up American thing. No German ties whatsoever.

Last year I wrote about our thoughts on Santa, and while they remain the same this year, Alex and I would both love to continue the tradition of St. Nicholas. And no, their will be no thought that St. Nicholas really came, it will be more of a purposeful and fun learning opportunity of who the real St. Nicholas was and how he gave gifts to the poor. Hopefully as Elizabeth grows this will also allow for a great opportunity to give as well.

After polling Facebook I came away with these great books to help our learning of St. Nicholas to grow. I haven't’ read any of them yet but look forward to searching them out and reading through them.

1. The Secret of St. Nicholas

2. The Legend of St. Nicholas

3. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend

So join us tonight in hanging your stockings and teaching your kids about the real origin of Santa Claus:) He originated through the story of St. Nicholas, the saint who took gifts and set them in the shoes of children.


Great post on The Art of Simple on St. Nick and why and how to celebrate. Hits all my sentiments on the head:)

http://theartofsimple.net/st-nicholas-the-real-santa-claus/

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Favorite things for a snowy winter

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about some of my favorites and as someone who has grown up in the snowy Midwest I thought it may be fun to make a list of my favorites for surviving the winter. I’ll be honest that after 8 years of nannying and now having our own little one, my favorites tend to be pretty practical. When it is blustering cold out and snow is everywhere, usefulness and practicality trump trendiness and fashion, although I hope these are not too utilitarian.

Ever since we’ve been married (just over 7 years) I’ve been working to transform my closet from one of very inexpensive, only last a season or two things to items that can last quite a bit longer. For me that means buying quality brands, made of quality materials, and usually means I spend a bit more. Though as one who can rarely pay full price, most items are scooped up at the end of season for a steal. I often, for bigger purchases, think of the cost per wear and the perfect illustrations would be designer jeans (my favorite pair just got a hole in the knee after 8 years) and a great wool coat (lasting many, many years.) Both items are investments but I like things that still look new after a few years and wear well. Although my favorite places to buy designer denim are EBay and Nu Look Consignment in Mpls.

Winter Coats:

This is one area where I’ve really morphed from wannabe fashionista into I.just.want.to.be.warm. I have four winter coats all for different purposes. Might sound excessive and really it probably is but they all have a purpose and they’ve all lasted seemingly forever. I have a ski coat, a down sweater (which might be my favorite), a long down coat, and a wool coat. If I had to get rid of any of them it would be a toss up between my ski coat and the wool one. Surprise you?

I’ve just realized that there are a few criteria that really matter and here they are in order of preference:

1. Warmth factor  2. Easy to clean/wipe/wear with kids   3. Somewhat fashionable

#2 has easily become something that has risen from the bottom to the top. Wrangling a toddler with messy boots or snowy coats or just wrangling them in and of itself with everything else like groceries, etc. I want what I am wearing to withstand the abuse and still keep me warm.

It follows along with the reasons I still carry a diaper bag. I want my nice coats and purses to stay nice. That’s what it has come down to. I want to be able to go out with girlfriends or my husband and not have dried snot on my nice coat or spilled milk in my purse. Because inevitably no matter how hard I try otherwise those two things will eventually happen. If I pay a premium for a nice thing I’ll try my hardest to keep it that way. I’m enough of a klutz to ruin it myself. I

So I’ve surrendered to motherhood and if I look like a mom, good. I waited a long time.

As far as boots…I’m still deciding. I want something that is easy to get on, is waterproof, still looks somewhat fashionable but more importantly keeps my feet warm and dry. These are the two top contenders from REI. By the way, REI is amazing. Did you know that you can return things a year later? That is so handy when you buy kids winter clothing at the end of the year and need to buy multiple sizes because you don’t know what will fit. AMAZING!!

And as far as the rest of our family goes in surviving the Midwest winters…Elizabeth and Alex have down sweaters. Alex’s is from Eddie Bauer (usually their coats go 50% off) and E’s is from REI, the REI brand. I’m hoping they made a version this year because I would snatch it up in an instant for next year. Best part about the down sweaters are they are incredibly warm. You wouldn’t think so given their size and how light they are but seriously warm. And they compact well so car seat straps can still get really tight.

 

winter essentials

 

Top Row: 1. Kids Down Sweater 2. Merrell Nikita Boot  3. J.Crew Wool Coat

Middle Row: 1. Eddie Bauer Down Coat 2. Upcycled Sweater Mittens

Bottom Row: 1. Eddie Bauer Down Sweater 2. Sorel Tofino Boot 3. Patagonia Down Sweater

 

As far as buying, sales get incredible right after the holidays. I’ve scooped up all the coats above at least 50% off which is incredible pricing for the quality. I’m hoping to hold out on boots until I find a fantastic deal but I might cave considering we just got a slew of sloppy wet snow. And as far as gloves are concerned…I love upcycled sweater mittens. They keep my hands toasty warm and wool is amazing at keeping water out. I’m on the hunt for a pair for Elizabeth. I bought mine at a local craft fair but they are available all over Etsy or you could make your own:)

And somehow I forgot, but warm socks are a must. Our drawers are full of Smartwool and REI brand wool socks but this year I learned of a new winner: DARN TOUGH. They have a lifetime guarantee. LIFETIME GUARANTEE. We rarely get holes in our wool socks but they can occur. That is amazing.

What are your families favorite things for surviving the winter?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Celebrating

Today I sat down at my computer at 1pm and it felt as though my whole body exhaled. With the baby down for a nap and so many things on the list, just exhaling and starting at the top seemed to help get things in order.

We’ve been on the go for the past week like so many with Thanksgiving and then my birthday last week. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind.

Times like this always tend to set me a bit on edge. I like a slower pace and having things in order and being able to accomplish most of my list each day and when we are gone and get back I begin to feel like a fish swimming upstream.

Not to say our time away wasn’t worth it, it definitely was. We spent the weekend of the 23rd back in my hometown with my family for my 33rd birthday. I have loved my 30’s. By far my favorite decade. We spent my actual birthday cheering the Packers to a tie with the Vikings at Lambeau field in the freezing cold and it was so. much. fun. And getting to spend the evening with family and blowing out candles with my sister at my side was so worth it. We couldn’t remember the last time people sang for us and we spent our birthdays together (I was born on her 8th birthday).

And upon returning on Monday, we started off the week a day later than normal only to have another gathering upon us. Thanksgiving was spent at Alex’s brother Jeff’s land just south of the Cities. Being without cell service may have been the best part alongside being outdoors, eating amazing food, and being with family.

And somehow we managed to emerge without buying anything during Black Friday, well unless you count groceries because somehow the fridge was empty and needed to be filled on the busiest day of the year:/ But my favorite find of the week was a new vacuum cleaner. I’ve definitely become that person that asks for household items for birthdays and Christmas. An iron is also on my list if anyone was wondering:) I’ll jot the vacuum as my best household deal ever found. 64% off.

And now we’re trying to catch up just in time to almost miss advent. It always amazes me that no matter how much I prepare in advance or try to get things under control I somehow come up just a bit short. And then I’m frantically trying to catch up. The fact that our house is still in disarray may be adding to my frenzy. But I’m realizing as the days go by that none of the little things I think matter really do.

It’ll be okay if we don’t do everything on the list or if everything doesn’t get decorated or put away. I just keep reminding myself of all the things we DO have so I don’t get swept up in what isn’t yet accomplished or finished.

But let’s just be honest…some days remembering this is easier than others.

Happy belated Thanksgiving and beginning of advent:)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Elizabeth’s mid year update

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(1st bus ride on the way to her 1st time at the State Fair-Sept. 2013)

I was going to title this “Elizabeth’s 15 month update” but as of today she’s 17 months old. Um, that’s not going to win me mom of the year, but maybe just maybe, acting like a fool day in and day out with her playing with toys just might. At least in her mind;)

Elizabeth is seriously hilarious. This kid has me in stitches day in and day out. Her latest thing is “helping” clean. She pushes around her mini swiffer and loves to pull out wipes and wipe down any surface that is nearby. She did not get this from me. At least I don’t think so. But she does do it so frequently that she must have. She’ll drool all over the floor and then run to find a wipe to clean it up. Fine by me.

(*by the way…if anyone has an old swiffer sweeper you can take out two of the bars that make up the handle and it becomes the perfect size broom for littles*)

When she’s not taking over the cleaning duties, you can find her dancing to music, walking throughout our basement holding her picnic basket (and has the bruises to prove it), or stomping her feet on the tabletop that is soon to be her toddler table. I swear she didn’t learn any of this from me, or by that I mean she’s learned all of this from me, her very quirky mother.

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(playing outside-October 2013)

Needless to say, I’m amazed at who she’s become since her 1st birthday. She mimics most any word we say to her even though they all kind of sound the same. But she has the intonation down which is just part of the process. She loves to pray and often reminds us at dinnertimes by folding her hands and not eating. I can imagine her in her head being like “seriously, they teach me this and then they forget. hello, it’s time to pray!” Thankfully she’s not saying that yet.

The past few weeks have been a little interesting over here as we wrap up our remodeling project. All four of her incisors are cutting through as we speak and then hopefully 2 year molars will not come in any time soon. Once these four are in, she’ll have 16 teeth. With that mouthful she can eat just about anything with her favorites being: pickles, celery sticks, pretzels, cheese of any kind, rotisserie chicken, dried apricots, popcorn, scrambled eggs, apples, and peanut butter. She eats peanut butter by the spoon. And that she did learn from both of her parents. We’re all obsessed.

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(Halloween 2013 - right before trick or treating)

Books have taken a back burner for her, although she does like to page through them from time to time, but that’s fine by me. She’s always ebbed and flowed so I’m sure they’ll be a favorite again. In their place have come puzzles, which she can actually place some pieces in, balls, and driving her cozy coupe outside. Still a rough and tumble girl she’s always game for climbing, tickling, and running outside. My in-laws just got a new dog and I think she was the perfect thing to get Elizabeth past her dog fears. They’re so much fun to watch with each other. She also by her own volition loves girly things like carrying bags and putting on headbands and wearing necklaces. Accessories are her best friend.

I think we have officially moved to one nap after a few weeks of being flexible and now she sleeps from about 12;30-2. Not long but she seems to make up for it at night and has been sleeping from 6:45/7pm-7:45/8am. Yesterday she didn’t wake up until almost 8:30 and we definitely were pacing outside her door:)

I can hardly believe that almost 1/2 of her 2nd year is almost already over. I mentioned to my girlfriends on our weekend away, but I’ll mention it here too, we really feel blessed to spend each and every day with this kid. Seriously, we don’t take the days for granted. Not to make it sound like it’s all bliss, it’s not. There’s times when pulling my hair seems more fun and exasperation is the air we’re breathing, but that’s part of the job. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a job where I’ve loved every minute of it but for me, this one comes pretty darn close.

We’re in the midst of my favorite age range for kiddos and I’m over the moon to sit and have a front row seat to see who she’s going to become. Fascinating. Watching kids learn and grow and develop and become adults. I wouldn’t miss want to miss that and I’m grateful I don’t have to. To be short and sweet, we’re all doing well and taking each day as it comes!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

my weekend away

Sunday afternoon I walked in our house around 1:30 pm and was greeted my the best thing my eyes had ever seen.

My husband.

I know I’ve loved him more at other times, but for many reasons, Sunday at 1:30 I loved him so much it felt as though my heart might burst. He had given me the greatest treat; a weekend away with my girlfriends and not only that, but he held down the fort with so much finesse it almost baffled me for a minute.

But then it didn’t. Because I was immediately reminded of all his excellent attributes and any misgivings I may have had easily floated away.

But I may have had a moment of slight panic when he sent this picture of our daughter to me on Saturday afternoon:

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It. cracked. me up.

What on earth. Apparently the hardest part of the entire weekend was figuring out what she would wear. Next time I think I’ll just lay the clothes out:)

Daddy and his girl had a great weekend at home running to multiple hardware stores, playing, and working around the house. And while they did that, my book club girls and I had a very life giving and encouraging weekend away up north strengthening our friendships and getting to know one another better. I cannot wait until the next time we can get away…

I am so grateful that I was able to go and more importantly I am grateful for cell phone service and texts because it was my first time away from our baby for an entire weekend. And while it wasn’t sad or painful, I couldn’t hide my excitement to be back home and reunite with my two loves.

I’ve said it before on here but there’s just something about coming home that does our little family in every time.

Home will always have my heart.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Devotional from today

Today I had the honor of giving the devotional at our MOMS group at church. I don’t normally do things like that but it was a very encouraging thing for me to do and hopefully my random thoughts encouraged someone. But a friend asked what I shared, so I thought why not just put it here. Because I prefer to write things down I took this up and basically read it word for word with some added fodder and attempted to look up so as not to seem like a horrible public speaker.

So here you go:

My husband and I, after 2 years of marriage, began to think that starting a family would be a good thing. But we didn’t end up having our daughter until our 6th year of marriage so it took us awhile. And the waiting was hard. And something I really struggled with was letting go of the idea of being a parent. I had a fear that we would be childless, or more broadly, that my vision for the future would not be as I imagined. And I had to face that fear.

Our story was kind of unique in that my husband, while he wanted children, he could also could imagine our future without them. And that really scared me. Because I had always wanted to be a mother. In fact, all through college I struggled to find something comparable. Something I’d do until I had children. I remember telling my dad at one point, “but dad I just want to be a mom and be on the PTA.”

But God had a different plan for us. And while we waited I steeped myself in the word and wrestled through the promises and sought to know who God said He was and what that meant for me.

And I found that God is all we need. God is a giver of all good things. God is incredibly good and no evil resides within him. God is not withholding something I want because he is mean, he’s withholding because he has something better. God is our refuge; we can joyfully abide under his wings. God is for us, all the time.

And I sat in Psalm 62 and 63.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God, he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times.” Psalm 62:5-8

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands” Psalm 63:2-4

And after waiting for 3 ½ years we got pregnant twice and those babies are now at the feet of Jesus. No better place for them to be I’ve come to discern. And soon after those losses, He gave us our Elizabeth. I had realized through the waiting, through the Word, through the tears and unknowns, and through the losses that God was more than enough for everything I was walking through.

More than Enough.

He kept me, encouraged me, held me, loved me, helped me, cared for me, provided what I needed in His word, gave me wisdom from the pulpit to feed my soul, and then He gave us our daughter when we least expected it.

I can still remember the day, after taking a break from medical intervention, when my husband shared that he felt it was time to go back. We were on a year long sabbatical from trying for babies, discerning what the Lord had for us in the future, figuring out how to move forward. And the Lord had just brought me to a place that I knew I would be okay, in Him, if we never had children. My dream, my fear had been surrendered at the feet of Jesus, knowing that whatever He had in store for us was good and better than parenthood. I stood on the ground that God was more than enough and just a few months later He gave us Elizabeth.

It seems when we our given a gift we never even thought possible, the gift has far greater meaning. Like the cross and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. We call Elizabeth tangible grace when we speak of the Lord’s goodness to us. She’s undeserved favor that we can enjoy with our own two hands.

And we’ve all been given good gifts from the Lord. I’ll assume if you’re here you probably have children. And our children are incredible blessings from the Lord, gifts given, tangible grace. And all good gifts are meant to be enjoyed for our joy and for His glory. It is good to delight in our children.

From a spirit of fear that our future would not be as I thought it would, to fully believing that God was enough even if we never had that dream fulfilled, has given me such freedom to enjoy the gift He has given us in our daughter and helped me in the days and hours when parenting is really hard work.

God, everyday in our parenting, in the struggles, in the pain, in the rejoicing, in the waiting for salvation, in the moments we want to pull our hair out. He is always enough, well more than enough for us.

We can find rest in Him because He alone is our ever present help in time of need, our refuge, our mighty rock. He alone is better than life and He is more than enough for everything that comes our way.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Abiding {day 21}

Well it's the last day of the 31 day challenge and I'm only 21 days in.

Instead of being disappointed I'm actually very proud to have made it this far. With all the life that's going on in our midst only missing 10 days seems pretty good!

I've really enjoyed the challenge of writing more and I've enjoyed writing more from my heart. I'm sure the blog will continue to be a mish mash but I've missed posts like this so I'm sure they'll be making a come back.

Thanks for coming along with me:)

Abiding is as easy as three little words:

             Image via mandymom.com

Monday, October 28, 2013

our sanctuary {day 20}

It’s been an interesting past couple of days.

We’ve returned home from our vacation, our toddler is still on Eastern time, we had a funeral to attend today, and our house is a disaster zone. No joke about the disaster zone part.

Piles of laundry, every surface covered in dust, no groceries, no semblance of peacefulness, a hundred tasks on the to-do list, flooring guys banging floor boards into place and a toddler who’s overtired and very needy. Not to mention she just spit up regurgitated milk all over her car seat. UGH!

It’s enough even to make my laid back head spin.

I’m pushing through, holding on to the promises, and doing one task at a time. Trying my darndest not to succumb to the temptation to sit back and avoid the reality that is spilled about me.

But adding to the chaos of returning home was realizing that we had a funeral to attend. I made reference to the fact that someone was ill here but I never really chatted much about it. Sometimes when we don’t have long heritages of believing family we inherit “spiritual grandparents.” Mary Ann and Eileen have been in my life since I was married. They taught a “homemaking group” through our church which has really just become a “sit and soak up knowledge” kind of a time 7 years later. But both in their late 70’s, early 80’s, they have been more than just “grandparents.” They’ve been faithfully showing me how to be a wife, how to be a mother, how to be a woman who puts her trust in Jesus.

After a battle with cancer, Mary Ann’s husband is at the feet of Jesus. After having watched someone die, front row seat to his immediate children grieving while standing beside my mother as she grieved the death of her husband, there’s an ache in my heart as to what’s ahead for Mary Ann’s family. We, the girls of Titus 2, will miss him, but there’s an ache a family feels when a loved one has passed.

And he wasn’t just any ordinary man. He was a living and breathing example of how to abide in Jesus. He was faithful to his calling as a man, husband, father and grandfather. And we knew this firsthand in enjoying his company and more so, through the eyes of his wife. The stories she shared and the love she had for him was incredibly evident. Their marriage is an example of one we can only hope to have. A legacy we can only hope to live.

We are blessed to know them, I’m blessed to have these incredible examples of faithful servants in my life. So we’re celebrating where he is and our hearts are heavy for the days ahead for his family and we’re abiding in Jesus, knowing He’s enough.

For all this mess and all this loss and all this heartache.

Abiding means one foot after another we can move forward.

Because He’s enough.

Friday, October 25, 2013

There is love {day 19}

Do you ever feel unloved? I think I spent most of my adolescence and pre-adulthood searching for love. And in the search so many mistakes were made, decisions made in a quest to feel known.

In reality nothing the world is offering will bring soul satisfying unquenchable love.

Only Jesus can fill that spot.

No boy, no physical relationship, no partnership, no marriage, no child, no job, no position or status, no life change or acceptance of self, no gifts, no monetary success.

Those things bring momentary contentment. Momentary. I know because I've experienced most of them in my quest to be known and loved. 

Unlike what is heard amongst us, money cannot buy love. And love isn't just the happy, snuggly, consumer hearts and arrows.

Love is entering into the ugly places. Knowing that the person sees the inner yuck that most never see. I've got hidden secrets that most don't know but there's someone who does. And it took me awhile to be okay that He sees every yucky thing. 

And He still loves me. Abiding allows you to rest in the perfect, all encompassing love of the Savior.

There's nothing that turns Him off. No action, thought, or spoken thing will make Him shrink away.

His love covers us. It's in us. It flows through us. It's our safe place. We can abide there because nothing can take it away.

When things don't go our way or we find ourselves at odds with what seems should be right we need to remember what His love looks like.

It's not dependent on what we do or how we act. It's never withheld or withdrawn.

It's perfect.

It's not dependent on what we do or who we are. 

He is good all the time so His love is perfectly good.

He is never coercive and never withholds.

It's overflowing. He loves everyone and everything. And He loves those who He has chosen. 

His love builds character. It's not a get what you want when you want it kind of love.

It's a get what you need kind of love.

And it never goes away.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

He never let's go {day 18}

When you abide under the wings of Jesus, you're never going to fall.

He's never going to let you go.

I'm not sure how deeply that last phrase meets you but today it's all I need to know. The fact that He's never going to lose His grip is the most loving thing I can imagine.

We are fallen people often with our own agendas wanting to do things are own way. Jesus paved the way but He asked us to walk forth on the narrow path and I'm here to tell you walking that path is hard.

If you were to look at my life you would notice a woman with a path that is so curvy. Walking straight has its days but so does paving my own way to the left or the right.

And yet no matter how far I get from the path I'm still with Him. Though He may not have reigned me in and placed me back on the narrow road, He hasn't let me go.

He lets out the line, keeping it secure about me, letting me know He's still with me, still got me in His hands. In His line of sight.

No matter how far off I go or how lost I get, He doesn't leave me to fend for myself. As someone who tends to fend for herself, wanting to just do it on my own, it's comforting and yet a little unnerving to know someone is with me helping me along.

But how much it would help me to know and accept that I need help. I need someone to lead me and I need someone to be with me when I'm lost or have traveled to far from the path.

I'm so utterly grateful that He never ever lets us go.

I need that sure strong grip more than anything.

Enjoying His gifts {day 17}

Sometimes enjoying His gifts and a heart of thankfulness is a fruit of abiding.



Warm sunshine, soft sand on your toes, food to eat, company to share, and even sometimes amidst the chaos and disorder there can be glimpses of enjoyment. 



Because when you abide you are kept in Him and in Him there is enjoyment forevermore.

To be honest this week has been a tough one for me. I'm irritable, hard to please, and struggling to grasp good things. But I'm taking this brief moment to look away from myself and my frustrations to see smiling children, the gorgeous landscape in front of me and the beautiful family I'm with and I'm choosing to say thank you.

Because abundant gifts are overflowing right in my midst and I don't want to miss them any longer.





Sunday, October 20, 2013

Joy in the everyday {day 16}

Finding joy in the everyday is not always an easy task. As a stay at home mom, the days are filled with monotony and routine. Some days the monotony is easy and others it's soul stretching and sometimes we'd rather be anywhere but where we are.

So how do we find joy? How when sitting on an airplane with a writhing and tearful toddler is there joy? And how wiping the hundredth nose and wondering how everyone is always suffering from the sniffles can joy be found? And how with a stressed out husband and bills piling up and no dinner to be found? 

Joy comes in abiding.

No circumstance or situation or life moment is too difficult to find joy in or too void for joy to fill.

For where the Spirit of The Lord is joy can be found.

"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."

(John 15:10, 11 ESV)

Friday, October 18, 2013

He gives abundantly {day 15}

It was the middle of summer the first time the question arose. We were out on his boat, like we often were, and the lake was gorgeous, sun high up in the sky. And in response to my question he answered “I want to build boats in a large barn in our backyard.” I didn’t realize then but he was laying the groundwork.

Similar responses were given as we continued our new relationship and every time my heart did a little flutter as I realized what was in store if I married this man. So much unknown. And he was doing me good by preparing me for the life as the wife of an entrepreneur.

I remember often I’d say, “Of course you can build boats. But our bills will be paid right?” And really his questions had nothing to do with whether the bills would be paid. They were questions leading at my heart. They were asking in no certain terms; will you support me, cheer me on, encourage me, stand behind me. Will you be for me and not against me.

Nothing other than having an self-employed father could have prepared me for the heart of my husband. My father, though self-employed, stayed in one field. My husband has incredible dreams, intense work ethic, and he follows the One who leads him.

But more challenging than anything else in our marriage for me has been letting go of “normal.” Letting go of the idea that you must work a job with a boss and co-workers and health insurance. That you taking risk is risky and life should be orderly and under our control.

But that’s not what He whispered and that’s not the life to which I’ve been called. I’ve been called to rely on Jehovah Jireh, PROVIDER, and to support and encourage and help my husband. We’ve seen hard times and very little money coming in the door and we’ve had really good years, when all our desires are met. But throughout every year our “needs” have been covered. We’ve never been without food or shelter or clothing or care from our Shepherd.

We’ve flipped houses in a horrible housing market, sold houses and lived in a rental, we’ve bought rental property and finally our own house. We’ve remodeled houses and prayed for provision. We’ve successfully carried on a business or two in stride with paying for our living expenses, no small feat.

And when the times get really hard and money gets tights my first earthly response is always “honey maybe it’s time to go back to work.” And then I remember the times in the boat, the conversations about building boats and I look across the table at the man I married and my heart swells with pride. For what He’s done for us. For the way He’s created my husband and wired him to work for himself, hard and faithful to the calling to provide. And as a result we’ve had to lean in really close, beckon and ask the Lord for provision, calling on His name of Jehovah Jireh, and He’s answered and not always the way we thought He would.

This isn’t so much about my husband or about myself as it is in knowing that when we abide under the Lord’s wings, He’s got us. He knows our needs better than the birds, He knows our hearts, He knows us. Inside and out. He knows our worries and the cares we carry on our shoulders. He’s showing us that we don’t need earthly storehouses overflowing for the rainiest of days. We don’t need to bury our money in the ground.

He’s got us. I struggle all the time believing this. But I know much more now than I did as that na├»ve wife 7 years ago.

7 years in and I wouldn’t change a thing for the Lord has shown me more about provision through our marriage and my husband than I ever would guessed. I needed to trust the One who gives not the two hands in front of me. I need to believe that what He says in the book about who He is and what He does is TRUE. HE PROVIDES AND CARES AND LOVES US.

And He always gives us what we need.

Always.

Need sometimes looks a little different than what we originally thought.

And now I’m headed out back to see what kind of boats we’re building today.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

day by day {day 14}

The view from our window is one of a dreary fog as temperatures dip lower. The air is so crisp we bundle under blankets, cozy together. And as we sit and giggle and cuddle and read and my heart feels so satisfied. In these little moments, day by day, love is shown and given and received.

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{picture from last year’s trip up north}

Day by day, there’s enough. There’s enough short temperedness and impatience. There’s enough messy dishes and diapers changed. There’s enough joy and love, most of the time to outweigh the heartache and sassiness.

But somehow day by day, there’s enough grace to go around. Enough grace to get through. Sometimes by the skin of our teeth.

Yesterday was one of those days. Our daughter has been extremely clingy. She only wants me. We’re in the middle of a huge project. Our house is a disaster and any sort of semblance ahs been left at the curb. I’m sure she’s confused and doesn’t understand why her daddy is upstairs making so.much.noise. And I can’t walk out of the room. I can’t leave her side. The whining won’t stop. The mess won’t clean itself up. I exhale and think about the fact that I only have two hands but that they can do so much to build up or tear down.

Two instruments given and wondering how they will find there way this day. And I realize then there’s only one thing  for them to do. And I scoop up our girl, her blankie, her pacifier, and snuggle us in. The dishes can wait. The mess can wait. The thousand things I’m behind on can wait.

Because she needs me. I can’t understand her fully yet but you know when your baby needs you. And we giggle and cuddle and rest our weary selves on the couch knowing that if we disrupt this moment we’ll be back to frustration and tears.

And so we sit. Most of the day. Playing and loving and leaving the mess.

And as we sit longer and my mind wanders, I realize that day by day Jesus is looking at me in very much the same way but very differently as well. He doesn’t wait for the moment of frustration to pull me in His arms. He doesn’t wait until everything is done on His agenda to let me know I’m loved. Day by day He walks through all of it right alongside me. And He cuddles me, and loves me, and pulls me close. He’s giving me all of Himself, poured out, so that I can make it through the day, leaning in to Him.

I need to be Jesus to her.

But I need Jesus to make it through my day.

 

“Day by day,

 

and with each passing moment,


Strength I find, to meet my trials here;


Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,


I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.


He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure


Gives unto each day what He deems best—


Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,


Mingling toil with peace and rest.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We will rise {day 13}

One day, we’re going to rise. Jesus is going to come back and there we will be, united with Him. If you’re believing in Jesus you will experience great joy at the feet of the Savior. And the angels will be singing. And thousands of people will be bowing down before Him.

I can hardly fathom a picture in my mind of this glorious day. I can hardly begin to think how amazing this day will be. When we’re with the Lord. Those who have found themselves under His wing, abiding in all He has offered, will be in His glorious presence.

In the Old Testament they had to shield their eyes. We will see Him face to face.

Heaven is giong to be so utterly amazing we can’t even begin to fully grasp it. Small tastes are given here on earth. Music writers have tried to put the bring the experience to life. Writers have tried to discern the words in the Book. But no one really knows.

All we know is how great it will be.

Because when we rise, we will see Jesus. And the angels, oh my, better than any choir here on earth, belting out praise. Worthy, worthy, is the Lamb. Worthy is the Lamb. What a sight. What an experience. And we can be a part.

Sinner me and sinner you are able, by the blood of Jesus, to not only experience it but sit on the throne with Christ. That seems unfathomable. We’re so unworthy and yet that’s what the Gospel does…turns unworthy to worthy through Jesus, Gods’ son. And once we’re abiding, we’re never leaving. The anchor of all anchors is holding us.

Most mornings Pandora plays while we eat our breakfast and drink our coffee. A favorite station of ours is the “Matt Redman” channel. And this morning as the strains of “I Will Rise” began to play I gathered up our girl in my arms and we danced and I sang and she bobbed her little head. And the tears welled up in my eyes for how glorious it will be.

And how much I want her to know.

And for how good God was to allow me to abide in Him.

Because I’m gonna rise and stand among saints, before the Lord of Hosts.

Crazy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

walking together {day 12}

There’s something beautiful about girl friends who love you just the way you are. I’ll be honest and let you know it’s taken me a long time to be a good friend. In fact, often I still don’t get it right.

Awhile back a friend wrote on her blog about friendship and though I don’t know her super well her entire post resonated so deeply with me. In fact, I’ve been back to read her brief words more than once.

Friendship between women can be so difficult and sometimes it’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one that has struggled. And yet, even when difficult, female friendship is so beneficial and life giving.

And as I’ve grown up, now in 30’s, I’m realizing little things about myself and about how friendships work and react and grow. I want to continue to invest in my friendships, in myself so I can be a better friend, and most importantly abide in Jesus, so I can be a good friend.

 

When I first started this blog I wrote this on the about page:

“Come & Abide came out of a desire to dialog our life.

To await, withstand, tolerate, and sojourn along with other women.

come let’s walk this road together.
crossing over the hurdles when they come,
rejoicing together, growing as women.

there’s a kinship here, between women.
will you walk this road with me…”

That’s what I want right now, for myself, and for you, and for those you know. I want us as women to join hands, abide together, as we weather the storms ahead. And the year’s I’ve written here I’ve felt the kinship as I’ve made friends via blogs, connected with old friends, and met new women in person. You have encouraged me and ministered to me and told me how much some of these words have meant to you.

And so I want to continue. Sojourning with you. And I want you to continue to fight through the mess the world wants to make before our feet and I want us, as women, to push through, grabbing the hands of those around us, helping one another through life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

abiding at home {day 11}

I’m a few days behind, leaving a day or two out of my 31. But if I get to the mid-20’s I’ll be mighty proud of myself. We’ve been sheltering in, finding time this weekend to just be a family and enjoy the gorgeous fall weather we’ve been gifted up here in the north.

Enjoy our fall apple orchard photo’s from yesterday’s trip. Elizabeth thought she found heaven in apple doughnuts, hay bales, corn stalks, and pumpkins. She even grabbed the orchard cat by the head…apparently it’s that obvious that she has no pets at home:)

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Friday, October 11, 2013

waiting {day 10}

Life is a constant season of waiting.

I remember while we were waiting for Elizabeth thinking that this particular season of waiting was the hardest. And yet it wasn’t the first I had been through. I had waited on the Lord to heal my broken heart, I waited in hope that He would heal my ailing step-father, I waited for my husband, I wait daily for my sanctification to go faster and be easier, we wait for our daughter to know the riches that are in Jesus, we wait for Heaven, and even more we wait and plead for unsaved friends and family members.

We are not unaccustomed to waiting. We wait everyday for things we want, things we need, things we think would bring incredible joy and erase sorrow.

And yet, that particular season of waiting seemed as if it would break me. And I know, as I’ve met, ministered, and waited with others walking through infertility, that it hasn’t been easy for them either.

And as I reflect back, now on this side of the waiting, I’m not even quite certain why the wait for children is so hard. I’m not sure if it’s the picture of parenthood that the world has created, our innate desire as women to mother, the mere disappointment that something that comes easily to others hasn’t been given to us. Maybe it’s some mixture of a lot of things.

But how we wait seems to matter. We can actively wait or inactively wait. And it seems how we wait is not only to our own benefit but to the Lord as well. To abide, in one form, means to wait.

I can remember how waiting for Elizabeth made us wrestle with so many things. I had been home, having given up graduate school to help my husband with his company, in the anticipation that children would be added to our family. I had no career to fill my time. And then as the wait seemed to get longer we had to mentally prepare for the reality that children may not be in our future. Not feeling led to adoption or more intrusive forms of medical intervention, we began finally moving forward, after 2 years of waiting. I met with my college advisor beginning to brainstorm how and when I would re-enter school to finish. And the Lord led me to a place where I was seemingly okay with not having children.

My husband, throughout our journey with infertility, was never quite certain he wanted children. Yes, he wanted children because biblically children are a good thing and a sanctifying thing, but in some ways he could take or leave parenthood. But I, I really wanted children. To be a mother. So for me to get to a point with the Lord that I was content not having children was quite the feat. And then one day, out of the blue, my husband said casually as I cleaned up the kitchen, that he was ready to head back to the doctor and yes we should continue to pursue having children.

And in my heart, I waffled. I was training for a marathon, I had my classes lined up at school, I felt as though we were finally moving out of waiting to having a future, albeit without children. And yet, I knew I couldn’t pass the opportunity up.

Sometimes we know why we wait on the other side and other times we never know the cause for the waiting. After we headed back we got pregnant twice, losing both babies, before our Elizabeth was formed in my womb. God had a reason for the waiting.

I can conjecture up my own reasoning's but it doesn’t matter. All that I know this side of the waiting was that it was good. For me. For our marriage. For our abiding with the Lord. We wrestled and listened and beckoned and groaned and cried and rejoiced and trusted and became more and more selfless through the wait.

Waiting was for our good and it brought glory to God.

Abiding in the Lord is a combination of waiting on Him and leaning into Him, trusting Him and allowing Him to lead the way. It brings great joy to wait.

It’s not easy.

But since when have the best things ever been easy?

“Though the fig three does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines….{though my womb is not producing children, though the sick may not be healed} yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (italics my own)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

in & with us {day 8}

Before our daughter goes to sleep each night we sing songs. And one song that we always sing is “God is so good.” But lately I’ve been changing the words to illustrate better the character of God. For He’s not just good, He’s always good. No evil resides in Him.

Instead of “God is so good” we’ve began singing “God’s always good.” And along those same lines I’ve added verses and one of my favorites is “God’s always near.”

God’s always near, God’s always near, there’s no reason to fear, for our God’s always near.

More than anything, I want our daughter to know who Gods is. We can’t in and of ourselves save her, that’s a work of God, but we can point her to Him. And just as we point her to WHO God is, we also want her to know what that means for her if He works in her salvation.

Right now I’m studying Leviticus with other women at our church. God, at that point in history, met His people in a cloud, and within the tabernacle, in the Holy of Holies, only for the High Priests to experience. But God, being rich in mercy and having a beautiful plan of salvation in place, has met us.

When He turns our hearts toward Him and we trust Him with all that we are, His helper, the Spirit, comes to live in us.

God abiding with us.

God in us.

We have no reason to fear. For He’s met us and is with us and is closer than anything in this world.

What a beautiful thing.

God abiding in us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

to bear patiently

abide

{TO BEAR PATIENTLY}

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Currently our house is a mess. Upon returning home, we moved almost our entire main level into our basement. Large yellow dust doors went up covering the stairwell and our main hallway and living amidst the chaos of a renovation isn’t fun.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Albeit there will be a brand new kitchen at the end of the next couple of months, the dust and chaos and long hours and tired bodies must come first.

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It’s kind of like everyday life in a way. I’m having to fix my eyes on the end goal, a new kitchen, in order to hopefully make it through the next months, especially when a toddler is involved. And this shouldn’t be new to us. Although this is our first remodel to live through together, this isn’t something we don’t know a thing or two about. My husband coaches families through huge renovations every year.

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But for me, this added mess, the chaos, the tears from the baby, the jostling of food from random locations, the dust…the whole bit will do me in if I’m not abiding in Him.

I know, that by His grace, He’ll get us through. I know, that He will pour out patience and grace onto us. I know that He will help me if only I whisper His name. And so, as the start of our renovation begins, I’m grasping the hand of the only One I know who will get us through this.

And that means abiding in Him.

Staying at His feet, enduring, fixing my eyes on His word, and remaining.

e-remodel

Monday, October 7, 2013

abiding at home {day 6}

Today we returned from my hometown where we attended one of the most precious weddings I’ve been witness to. It rained, well poured, for the better part of their day but despite the sogginess it was stunning in its elegance and simplicity.

And when we returned home after a long journey in the car, we did not stop to relax or enjoy the mere sentiment of being home. Instead we hurried around getting our house ready for our next renovation, our kitchen remodel. It began to hit me as we moved furniture out of adjoining rooms and boxed up kitchen utensils, how much being home, is good for us.

The constancy, the repetition of the days, the comforts and even the stagnant smell only our own noses detect when life is not moving within our homes walls, are familiar and satisfying.

I love that when we return home our daughter Elizabeth gets so very excited. She just can’t hold her happiness in; it just overflows when we are home. And there’s something deeper there that gets me right deep down in my heart. The value and joy of having a constant place to be together, doing life together, that for this season will not change.

And it’s not necessarily dependent on the walls that enclose, as much as it is the familiarity of faces and the routine of the day. But it’s also the smell of the sheets, comfort of the soft chair, your self molded pillow, the things that surround.

It’s familiar. You want to be there. It protects and inspires and brings you joy.

And for that I’m thankful.

Seems just being at home, remaining in one constant place, creates a kind of safety and comfort we all long to experience.

It makes us want to stay awhile.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

the vine in the branch {day 5}

“What sayest thou, O my soul? Shall I longer hesitate, or withhold consent? Or shall I not, instead of only thinking how hard and how difficult it is to live like a branch of the True Vine, because I thought of it as something I had to accomplish — shall I not now begin to look upon it as the most blessed and joyful thing under heaven? Shall I not believe that, now I once am in Him, He Himself will keep me and enable me to abide? On my part, abiding is nothing but the acceptance of my position, the consent to be kept there, the surrender of faith to the strong Vine still to hold the feeble branch. Yes, I will, I do abide in Thee, blessed Lord Jesus.”

– excerpt from Andrew Murray’s Abide in Me

I’m a doer. A pull up your pants and just push on kinda girl. Somewhere along the line I learned that it’s better to just push through than to linger or let someone help. Head strong?

I remember when my husband and I were dating. We argued a lot. Some thought marriage was a horrible thing for the two of us. But here’s the thing, we never argued about things the other had done or not done. We argued about what we believed or were passionate about and most of the time it was out of exasperation because I just wanted to be right already. Even when I blatantly knew I was wrong in my opinion I would defend it as if it were my last day. I didn’t want to fail.

When I was growing up and we would get into trouble my dad would ask us into the living room or some far away, private place and let us know how much we had disappointed him. And because my parents were divorced early on in my life and there was probably some innate need for approval, this disappointment hurt so much. So much that I learned to cover my back in order to get out of “the talks.” Instead of learning to grow and being offered grace, I learned how to avoid, displace, and defend my misjudgments to the end. And though I had grown so much before meeting my husband, I still hadn’t been rid of this choking pride.

And as the days of our dating went on, I learned more and more what it meant to submit and to forgive and to admit that I was a flawed sinner, without perfect knowledge, and that I couldn’t do it all on my own. I learned more and more that I couldn’t trust a person to be more than what the person was physically, emotionally, and spiritually able to do. My husband, then boyfriend, couldn’t and wouldn’t be my God. I learned quickly to be realistic in my expectations, to offer grace, and to be realistic about who I was. The Lord grew me more and more and my husband taught me about grace and forgiveness firsthand. He met my pride word for word, talking about it for what it was, not beating around the bush with sin and then as soon as he outed my wrong, he offered grace. Humble grace. Something I had rarely ever met before.

I don’t deserve him even today.

But what became even more apparent from the time of my lost love to my wedding day and beyond, was that I wasn’t really in control. And I didn’t really want to be in control. What I really wanted deep down in the deepest part of me was for someone to love me and lead me and help me and keep me and show me the way despite of who I was just because they cared so much for me.

I needed to abide. I needed to rest my weary prideful heart right at the feet of Jesus because He loved me more lavishly and beautifully and perfectly than I had ever known before.

And somehow in His kindness, in our short 7 years of marriage, the Lord gave me this fallen, grace filled man to point me to Him. To attempt to lead me and love me and help me and keep me and show me the way despite of who either of us are because he cared for me and more than that he wants me to see Jesus.

I’m always continuing to learn that I’m just dust.

Just a feeble little branch,

Who needs the TRUE VINE to keep me.

Friday, October 4, 2013

keeping me {day 4}

via

{VIA SIMPLY DIVINE CREATION}

He’s keeping us. In ways unfathomable to us, even in our apparent wisdom, He has us secure, under His wing. I need to be reminded day in and day out that He’s got me. He’s keeping me. When the day seems like all is lost, the towel soon to be thrown in, the weariness affecting all that I am. He’s got me. I haven’t been forgotten in the vastness that is creation.

He has set me securely on high…He’s delivered me…and His angels are have been commanded to guard me.

He’s got us and more than that He’s WITH us.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

And you shall find rest {day 3}

“In some things you were led into sin without knowing it, because you had not learned how wholly Jesus wanted to rule you, and how you could not keep right for a moment unless you had Him very near you. In other things you knew what sin was, but had not the power to conquer, because you did not know or believe how entirely Jesus would take charge of you to keep and to help you. Either way, it was not long before the bright joy of your first love was lost, and your path, instead of being like the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day, became like Israel’s wandering in the desert — ever on the way, never very far, and yet always coming short of the promised rest.” –excerpt from Andrew Murray’s Abide in Christ

Yesterday in an attempt to clear my mind and generate some sort of creativity for these posts, I came across Andrew Murray’s book Abide in Christ. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Murray but one of my all time favorite books was his With Christ in the School of Prayer. I read it while on a missions trip in France with Campus Crusade, the summer I say I found myself. And so, happening upon this book seemed more than mere coincidence to me. So I’ve decided that it will provide me with topics for each day as these 31 days unfold.

 

And so it was in my life as Murray stated, and the apostle Paul, my flesh at war with my heart, unwilling to yield everything. Toeing the line between selfishness and selflessness, fearing that it would break me. And yet breaking me is just what it took for me to let go…of everything.

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It was the beginning of classes my freshman year of college and already there was a boy who stole my heart in one glance. He literally had me at hello in that Psychology discussion group. As time would tell, even that first day he seemed to me the one my heart would love forever. It was almost three years until that fateful day when in tears it seemed the future I so wanted fell apart. With my own hands. They say a woman can tear down her house with her words and so literally I destroyed my own. Bricks to dust. My tongue did not yield and he turned in a different direction.

It left me waffling in a place I hadn’t previously known. A desperation. A sadness that somehow has never been replicated. A swallowing of self. Awaking to find I didn’t know how to go on without him. A loss of a limb in some ways. Most everything we were was intertwined, friends, life, my own imagined future. And I was so lost without him. I had the One who never goes away but I was also left with the bitter sorrow of lost love.

And as the days passed, him charting his own glowing future, I went the only place I knew, to the cross. And I struggled with new sight to see the good. To see this future that was not at all as I planned. It seemed, as the days lingered by, that God was not quite finished washing those white washed walls. And into the desert I walked, wandering about, battling my own sin and trying with all my might to right myself, put on a happy face.

Working and waiting filled the days as I tried to put the pieces back together. Frustrated and notably unfulfilled. And the Lord kept working on tearing apart every preconceived notion I had for my life. Every block I began to place upon the next He shattered moving my wall and forming His own. Slowly I learned how much easier it is to follow the road formed before you instead of starting and stopping and repaving all over again. But it took time.

And I began a mountainous trek through the valleys and up through the mountains. Rarely on steady ground, my feet rarely finding rest, I walked, fighting through the brush and undergrowth of the sin that had been trying to hold me back.

A trip overseas, binging, purging, dating all the wrong guys, ruined friendships, new friendships, death in the family, moving, and learning to love who He made me to be.

The journey that brought me to the end of myself. In just three short years.

And at the invitation of a friend I accepted to spend New Year’s surrounded by students. Knowing it was more than her invitation, it was the Spirit within bringing me home. And then I heard the words a man spoke into the microphone, not wanting to be where I was, trying only to appease and yet knowing I was right where I should be. He asked those before him to give a year to serve the One I knew with all my heart but also the One I just wasn’t sure I could trust. And before I knew what was happening I fell. On knees broken.

I couldn’t even give that day, let alone a year or a lifetime. I hadn’t even served Him that day. Out of fear. Out of bitterness. Out of utter sin and selfishness. For fear that He’d take me through harder valleys. Through more pain and more sadness. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t sure I would make it much further.

I must give the day. Yield to the One who knows all.

For I already knew Him, but this was a different. This was a “you-can-do-whatever-you will” with my life, I trust you, kind of give.

I gave everything.

I knew at that moment that wherever He would take me, be it through hard things or seemingly easy, with Him was better than apart. Over the years of reconstructing my life, He showed me that His building is not in vain. No imperfections in the walls.

Confession and consecration and restitution and forgiveness happened that day.

Weary traveler from the treacherous journey, He brought me through, stronger, wiser, and refreshed.

And I found rest, perfect rest.

entire surrender to Jesus is the secret of perfect rest – andrew murray

“Come unto me, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; and ye shall find rest for your souls.”  Matt. 11:28-29

{Just a reminder, I’m linking up with The Nester for 31 days of Abiding. All previous days can be found on the tab above marked 31 Days.}

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

find yourself in me {day 2}

“Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.”

-From the hymn ‘Abide with Me’

As a little girl, on Sunday mornings, I would head to Sunday School more excited for the donuts in the fellowship hall than the stories within the classroom. Every week we were supposed to memorize verses and recite them for our teacher, garnering stickers for a job well done. And all I can remember is the fast paced study on the way there and the sweaty palms waiting for my turn knowing the words would not come out right. It became a game of getting more stickers rather than the pure joy of building up a storehouse of armor.

And yet those brief memories, in the classroom with familiar faces, the yellow and blue ceramic Jesus picture from a teacher, the Christmas concert and orange and apple filled paper bags, stirred my heart for more. And more He brought. Through people.

I can still remember the summer I headed to camp with a dear friend. And my eyes were opened. What seemed familiar and ordinary to the kids who went year after year, was new to me. The songs, the telling of the story of Jesus, the simplicity of the Gospel and the camaraderie amongst friends. And more stirring happened in my heart. I remember praying a prayer and longing for more but life didn’t just fall into place as I thought it would.

There were more people, more friends, more boys, more mistakes than I could ever count. A lifetime of regrets and joy intermixed. Rebellious and perverse, searching for love and acceptance, even though the only thing I ever wanted was already abiding with me. So many mistakes were made, mistakes that have had consequences. It’s been a bumbling, fumbling road to now, and yet somehow looking back, I’m not sure I would want to change everything that’s happened. Some things, yes. But others no.

For it’s taken a lifetime so far to understand and begin to grasp His love for me. For life is happening all around, shaping and reshaping what we thought we knew and what we now know, and all I know fully to be true is that He has not left me.

He’s always been abiding with me…

I’ve only needed to find myself in Him.

Monday, September 30, 2013

31 days of abiding

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Welcome!

I’m so glad you’re here.

What you’ll find before you is a mess of words, stories written on the page, incomplete and unrefined, but full of life. Or at least that’s my goal. Somewhere deep within I just wanted the challenge.

To write for 31 days.

To be honest, this place, these days are completely unscripted. There’s no outline or train of thought. Just a flow of words. This is for me. To get back into the habit of writing out our story. No more recipes. No more life updates. For 31 days just my thoughts on abiding, whatever that means. I’m thinking there’s a purpose here and I’m anxious to see where the topic leads.

Working out life on the page and taking you along. I’m opening my life up and sharing bits about my story, my life, my heart. Hoping you’ll come alongside and journey with me.

Hoping you’ll stay awhile.

come and abide.

{For 31 days I’ll be linking up with The Nester & working through the word abide}

Encouragement for Today {A Review}

Even before having Elizabeth, carving out time to be in the Word had been difficult. It’s not that I don’t have the time, I do, but sometimes so much life is swirling around me that opening the one thing that would help stop the swirling just doesn’t occur to me.

I know…sounds bad but I’m sure we can all relate.

There have been a couple of things that have helped as of late and one of them is the Proverbs 31 Devotional called Encouragement for Today. It’s a book filled with short devotionals for everyday living written by the Proverbs 31 team with questions at the end to help you remember, reflect and respond. I’ve read through them and they are really encouraging and thought provoking.

Short and to the point the daily devotionals are a great catalyst for further study and offer a nice morsel to gnaw on throughout the day. The devotionals are encouraging and to the point, offering a glimpse into the writers own lives. I’ve found it to be a great resource for everyday. I can pick it up, read it through, and reflect on it throughout the day. Great for my limited amount of time and very uplifting and encouraging to my heart.

Do you have a favorite devotional?

I also really like She Reads Truth.

 

{disclaimer: this book was given to me for review as part of Book Sneeze, a blogger review site through Thomas Nelson Publishing}

Friday, September 20, 2013

if:gathering

Somewhere deep down inside of me there’s a longing to do something more with what I’ve been given. Not more crafts or opportunities, not more checks off the list or more obligations on the calendar, and not more time investing in those around me.

I want to make more of Jesus. For my family. For those around me. But mainly for me, as a woman.

There are many new conferences out there for women. For bloggers, there’s Allume. For hipsterish-moms and small business owners, there’s Influence (although I’m sure that’s not how either of them would define themselves). But as much as I wanted to go to one of those, I want so much more to go here, to the IF:gathering.


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When I hear Jennie Allen talking on this video, I get little shivers up my arms and my heart bursts. I know the Lord has given me much to speak of, much to write about, much to unleash to my family and those around me. But somewhere in the past year or so, it’s been bottled up. Fear lingers and my fingers just can’t seem to get the words on the page.

And I know I want to be inspired. Be encouraged. Be changed.

And that’s why I’m hoping anyone who wants to join me in Austin, TX this February would prayerfully consider doing so. I think I may have convinced one friend to come and I’m hoping many more will join me. But even as an introvert, I have to go. Even if I go alone.

So join me or pray for me or think I’m crazy.

But Austin, here I come.

Dates: February 7-8, 2014
Location: Austin, TX
Info: ifgathering.com