There have been a couple of times in my life that I have walked away from God. Not in a passive aggressive way or a "I'm just tired of going to church" way. No, it was in a very definitive and decided way.
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We have substantially slowed down some of our spending this month. In part because we are trying to be more focused on paying off some of our credit cards and also in part because a lot of our Amazon purchases are for things for our son and he made a substantial haul for Christmas. So, we really want to be able to sort through what he has and see what we need to donate, toss and store away to bring out later. However, there are a few days left in the month as I write this, so it is possible something extraordinary may happen lol. But hopefully we can contain ourselves.
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I have wanted to for awhile, to write something meaningful, but every time I have sat down to the laptop to write that something, words have failed me. It isn't that I do not have anything to say. I actually have plenty to say, but the words just have not come together to be anything value to me or to anyone else.
I don't want to just write something to write something. I want to write something that has value and if possible, encouraging. I want my words to be thought provoking and inspiring. I don't want to struggle to make the words to come out. I want them to flow out.
It hasn't been there for me until the last couple of weeks. I've had a repeating conversation with God the last couple of years and I have had it again within the last month. It is funny because every time I initiate this conversation He answers in a very dramatic way.
I admit it! I am, unashamedly, an Amazon shopper. Don't get me wrong. I am a strong supporter of others who are in direct sales and for those who work their own small businesses. But... I am a fan of shopping on Amazon. I appreciate the ease of a one stop shop for many of our needs.
Believe it or not, you can support small businesses on Amazon as well. Does Amazon make a profit from them selling on their site? Yes, but honestly, there are very few businesses where there is no cost to you in some shape or form.
So, with that in mind, I decided I would share with you what we have shopped for using Amazon throughout our months.
I got called a grandma today. Today was our first day out after another round of quarantine. We went out. We were safe. We wore our masks, even in the stores that don't require them. That's when a stranger called me grandma. Ahhhh! Now, this is not the first time this has happened. Maybe it's the feeling of being in an eternal quarantine. Maybe it's my swollen foot from the bee that stung me yesterday. Maybe it's because I have this cold sore on my lip that is so dry and hurts despite anything I put on it. Maybe it's because my social interactions have been with a husband who enjoys solitary life and a three year old boy that thinks having fun is spraying me down with the water hose or shooting a nerf gun at my head at close range. Maybe. Or maybe it was something else that irritated me so.
I am going to disclaimer before I start.
I have kept kind of quiet on things and have in fact decreased my time on social media and limited my conversations with people who are highly opinionated. It doesn't mean I do not agree or disagree with anyone or that I am burying my head in the sand. It's just that this pandemic has caused a lot of stress for all of us. All of us have to make different decisions based on our own family needs, but a lot of what I see being posted, shared and discussed are more of an attack on people's choices. I personally have received messaged from family members and friends that push their personal agenda and beliefs on me and have even been attacked for disagreeing. It is hurtful to our friends, our coworkers, our family and our witness when we respond out of stress (or we just think we are right). So, I took a step back because I want to be a part of the solution. I want my words to be helpful and not hurtful. So, with that, I wrote this a little over a week ago. I've sat on it because I was scared of the backlash, but a friend posted something today and it inspired me to share my thoughts with you. I pray that you see my heart and intent throughout this post.
Have you ever had a divine moment? I don't mean eat a piece of the best chocolate you have ever had divine moment. (though those rank pretty close to the actual divine moments I actually mean) I'm talking about that moment that God walks up and drops something at your feet and says "Here, this is for you". That moment that is so plain and obvious that there is no ignoring that what you are looking is something that is about to change your life.
If you follow me on social media at all you know that the last few years of my life have been a mix of real struggle as God has taken me through what seems to be a very lonely desert. I can be a loner sometimes. I'm by nature a pretty quiet person. I like to think things out. A lot of times I probably overthink. Okay. Most of the time I overthink.
Let me tell you the story behind this picture.
I was putting up the outside decorations. I was missing two pins I needed to hold the polar bear inflatable down. I was looking through boxes and checking the ground.
Joe said, "Just a minute mama. I'll fix it" and ran around the corner. He came back with this block of wood, the hammer and screws. He knelt down near the inflatables and started hammering. After a minute or so he looked up at me and said, "Ok, mama, I fixed it".
My heart squeezed so hard.
You see, our morning was not a good morning. It was filled with Joe wanting to do or get in to stuff that I just wasn't ready to do with him or he shouldn't have been in to period. Everytime I told him no or tried to redirect him it turned in to a high pitched screaming nightmare. I honestly felt like I was the worst mom ever.
So, after lunch we went outside to "help" dad take the trash to the end of the driveway. We also helped put some brush and branches in to the trailer so daddy could take it to the dump. Joe didn't want to go in after that and honestly I didn't either, so I grabbed the inflatables and started putting them up.
Joe began to dance around and was excited. Then we had that interaction. I wanted to grab him and squeeze the life right out of him. I wanted to freeze the moment in time.
My day with my son was immediately turned around. I saw in him a glimpse of the future. I was able to see past the yelling, the screaming and the morning filled with temper tantrums and saw the man I want my son to be.
A problem solver. Always looking to help others. Seeing a need and meeting it. Looking to help those less fortunate. Sitting with a friend in need. (His friend and him sit with each other when the other has been put in time out) Compassionate. Generous with his time. I'm sure you get it, because I'm also sure you have similar dreams for your child.
I have so many hopes and dreams for this kid. It's easy to get caught up in the moments. The mind bending, ear busting, I'm gonna lose my mind moments, but then, you have a new moment. A little whisper in the ear that says "good job mama... good job".
Yes. It's been a few days. More than I wanted to give, but I made an executive decision. My son and I had both come down with a cold and we had a little mini vacation planned. Once we got to our destination I had plans to take all kinds of photos to share and discuss, but I just had this feeling inside me that said to put my phone down, put my work away and just enjoy my guys. It grated on me in every kind of way because I really wanted to keep to this commitment, but the laughter and joy and fun we had together was worth every day I missed not being on social media and blogging about life. My health and my family will always trump anything else. Because without them, nothing else matters.
Action #1 - Be Thankful
I have to say that today I am most thankful for my momma. She is the best kind of mom. She is always there for me. Back in October I hurt my knee and it hurt to walk on it. I called her up in the middle of the week. With no hesitation she packed her bags and came up to stay with us for a few days to help me out with my little guy, the animals and the house. When we went on vacation this last weekend, she packed her bags again and came up to stay with our animals and watch our house.
I'm not always grateful for my mom, but I should be. She is one of the few people that encouraged and made it possible for me to get out of my box. She sent me to Florida to visit friends when I was young and also gave me a trip to visit friends in New Orleans when I graduated from high school. When I moved to Saint Louis to attend school she would send me care packages and always told me how proud she was of me.
She's a good mom. I'm gonna keep her.
Action #2 - Devotions, Journaling & Prayer
Before I launch in to what I loved about today's devotional time, I want to share a story. I have been wrestling with taking something off of my plate. I love everything that I do, but right now I feel the pressure of trying to maintain balance. I don't want anything I do to become a "job" or something I "have to do". BUT, on the flip side I also fear failure. I hate saying I can't or couldn't do something. I hate the appearance that I am quitting.
I have had so many people (yes! friends and family members) take delight in calling me a failure, telling me I lack follow through, I can't finish anything. These same people have told me I need to just give up and get a real job or just "settle being a mom". What does that last one even mean? My brain doesn't grasp why being a stay at home mom means that the only thing I can do is cook, clean and take care of my family all day.
So I fear, that if I clear this item off my plate I will be a failure and people I love will not hesitate to tell me when they are feeling up to it. Can you relate to this?
I messaged a few people last night as I was pondering over this. One of them was my brother, one was a trusted friend and the other was my husband. I talked about my fears. I talked about how I was afraid and that I didn't want to regret my decision.
Friends! I don't know how this happened, but let's talk about God's timing. I could have never of planned this out if I tried with today's devotionals. Let me share with you.
Cheryl Hale in Girl Be Brave talked about potential and what we were created to do. She discussed what we need to do in order to reach that full potential. Here are some of my takeaways:
It doesn't stop there. Then I opened up Embraced by Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa was talking about paralyzing fear and gave the perfect illustration (because I can totally relate) to an embarrassing time when she tried to do the monkey bars, but was afraid. Then when all the kids got tired of waiting they went around her. To make it worse, a teacher saw her dilemma and came over to "help" her by lifting her down.
Isn't this so true. We want to try something new. We feel like God has given us something and we are so excited to try so we step one foot out, but then we stop paralyzed with fear. We fail. Someone says something they think is helpful, but it really isn't. Then we sit with our hands folded. Too embarrassed to try again. Too afraid. Devastated by the words of someone who thinks they are helpful. Defeated by our own minds.
Lysa had some amazing takeaways:
God really does answer prayers. When I was reading my devotional last night I wrote out a prayer. Part of it was "help me be ok with letting this go". It is the answer I need. Am I 100% fine with this decision. Not yet, but I'm going to trust and have faith that God has something bigger in store for me.
Action #3 - Exercise
I'll make this short and sweet friends. I haven't done a workout in a few days. Being sick has left me exhausted and tired and coughing. Just walking up and down the steps leaves me in a coughing fit, so I'm working on a healthy me before I get back to working on a healthier me.
Note: Anything I have italicized is not my own words, but are either paraphrased or directly from a book. I try to make it clear from which book the writing is from, but if you are unsure, please ask. Also, if you click on any links that lead you to Amazon from this page and you then purchase the product that you clicked on I may or may not earn money from your purchase.