Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Little Brave Faith


This year I told God I wanted to be brave.  To live courageously in obedience.  To create a home where my kids grow, seeing their parents walking through life boldly following God wherever He leads, and not settling for any other kind of living for themselves.  This all coming from a sister who gets craaaazy grumpy when I'm hungry or tired or am in a confined space with a lot of chaotic noise.  I'm just anything but naturally brave- I love them comforts.  

We've walked through some awesomeness, some obedience that made zero logical sense in the act, and some junk that I'm just like, "Can we be done with this drama already?" in 2014.  An interesting year to say the least, but can I be honest in saying..it hasn't been my favorite.  But full of growth- oh definitely.  So many dang emotions and new things and new battles and old shortcomings and baby steps..and God standing so close all the while whispering thoughtfully, "Yep, c'mon..this is what brave looks like."  Nothing particularly extraordinary has played out, except this momma's point of view on Christianity being burnt up and slowly being rebuilt.  So maybe nothing earth shatteringly important, unless you're standing in my shoes.

This season has had me asking myself, am I the last to realize that being a cowardly Christian makes absolutely no sense?  Who are we in Christ if we can't step onto the troubled seas and expect Him to be present in every step?  When we've already given up our lives, what else is there to fear, to possibly lose?  Jesus sent The Comforter in His place when He ascended to heaven, fully knowing the Christian walk would not be one lavish in comforts and ease.  And yet, I've spent years putting more weight in logic and security than in the God who has His own blessed economy with no room for anything outside of full trust in Him.  We need to live courageously outside of our own abilities and giftings as Christ followers to know what faith is, to be who God formed us to be, to make His greatness known.

Our courage might be hidden behind wobbly knees and a mind whirling with doubt, but when He has our little mustard seed sized "yes," and our willingness to act, then and only then, can we begin the adventure of leaning our humanness on Him and watching what our little brave faith looks like in the hands of a miracle worker.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

And it's Fall






As I type this with itchy red eyes, a cup of tepid chai (I'm wishing was coffee), and smelling like all kinds of essential oils, I'm grouchily asking myself- what happened to summer?  Dang it fall, you've done it again.  School pick up lines, pumpkin flavored everything, ALLERGIES, packing lunches, extra laundry...pass.  I love three of the four seasons, fall is just the odd man out.  But back to school, we're embracing that here, even if I'm convinced it takes more work to send kids to school than to keep them home.

Roc had his first day in first grade today, not complete without a call from the school nurse to report he has a goose egg from his head getting knocked into the lunch room table.  Sounds about right.  Rome started preschool last week and barely glanced back to wave goodbye when he realized there was a pet snake in his classroom.  Out-shined by a snake, motherhood has never been more glam.  Not sure if our boys' confident swagger as they easily walk through life without us is a testament to how well we've raised them or they're just pumped to get a break from us.  Either way, we'll take it!  Because one they're darn cute and two maybe we need a lil break ourselves mmmmkay.

Come on fall, you're not my favorite, but bring me a salted caramel mocha, don't judge the tissue in my nose and maybe, just maybe, we can be cordial.






Wednesday, August 20, 2014

C'mon Church


I've always seen the world in black and white and been a staunch advocate for equality in all forms.  Growing up, often this perspective displayed as a fault.  But as I mature I see God mold how my mind processes into a refusal to accept injustice... If I don't deserve this wrongful treatment, you don't either.  I love that He creates all things purposefully and beautifully and let's our ugly world refine what He's placed within us to become solid and useful.

The last two weeks I have saturated myself with the news, Syria..Iraq..Ferguson.  Sleepless nights, interceding, tears, heartbroken texts with friends, and a holy prayer meeting with a group of mommas who refuse to look away.  We are a country with unlimited resources and power and though thousands of innocent men, women, and children are being slaughtered and horrifically mistreated we choose to move along, business as usual because it isn't directly affecting our "safe" American bubble.  Yet anyway.  Christians will be broken for the unborn who are aborted every second, as we absolutely should, but not get on our knees and soap boxes for the not so silent and sterile holocaust happening outside our borders.  We will turn our heads and channel when more news rolls in from Missouri about an African American boy shot in the street, hands up in surrender.  Would there have been a different outcome had he been white?  I have an opinion on that, but I also don't know every detail of the night.  Watching the coverage and all of the anger and hurting, I just can't look away, I won't.  I am married to a Hispanic man, have mothered three African American babes, and have neighbors of many, many different ethnicity's.  I've rushed to a hospital to stand beside a sobbing African American single momma friend, against the staff who were being unprofessional and treating her like a second class citizen (the same hospital I've visited many white friends who were treated wonderfully).  We can't be ignorant to inequality white friends, prejudice and the hurt and stigma it assigns is still alive, and I'm afraid it has a comfy home in some of our churches and the hearts of many "well wishing" believers.

The American church needs to wake up to injustice, the marginalized, the poor, the needy, the forgotten.  If we're honest with ourselves, if Jesus walked the earth He wouldn't be found most often in our fancy sanctuaries shaking hands with the upper middle class white folks and commenting on how amazing the new performing arts wing looks.  I don't think He would have the time with all of the hurting and broken lives surrounding him outside our church doors.  The church should be found where He would be, and is.  We need to drop the politics, stop expecting the government to do the job of correcting injustice well (when the church never should have handed it that role in the first place), and be willing to shoulder some of the hurt and wrong in our world even (and especially) if outside of our comfort zones.  C'mon church, let's open our eyes, and mouths, and hearts, and resources; if His eye is on the sparrow, let ours be as well.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Abiding in the Parenthood





We went camping up north last weekend, not too far from where I was raised.  Beautiful surroundings, perfect weather, and everything little boys love was within eye sight.  But even staying in my parent's camper I gotta say, glamping and especially camping ain't on my list of fun, especially with an 18 and 8 month old.  Little rest, always chasing or holding a babe, dirt, tight quarters, public restrooms.. just pass.  And yes, I was raised on a farm surrounded by hundred of acres of land, I appreciate nature, but I also thoroughly appreciate a warm shower and cozy bed.  It was def a little trip planned more for the bubbas than for Ricardo and I, and for the most part my weary attitude displayed that.

Our last night camping as we took the scenic route to the ice cream shop down the road, the big boys walked the beach as the sun slowly began to dip toward the horizon.  My heart caught a little as I watched them against the stunning backdrop, I wanted to capture all the raw goodness of that moment and let it cover the not so pretty moments sure to be ahead.  As a momma I can err on the side of rules, schedules, order, and forget what a joy and privilege my four are.  It's easy for me to get caught up in the everyday and feel like motherhood is a job without a time card because we never get to punch out.  I want to slow down more and abide in the beautiful moments of parenting and let that grace and joy permeate and sustain the mundane and exhausting ones.  And to find joy in the things that are so not my bag, because my kids find joy in them.

The morning we were packing up camp, a sweet older man walked over, noticing all our kids and smiled, "My wife and I have five of our own ya know?  Our oldest is 47, ya just never get over being a parent."  The joy and pride that lighted his face...no more words were really necessary, it was obvious he was a parent who delighted in his children, and for nearly half a century.  I will probably never be a happy camper, but a happy momma I hope to always be.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Bottled Bravey


Pulling out of parking lots with tears struggling to creep out has become oddly normal, peaceful even.  The state of Michigan should have warned us with our foster license in the mail a few years ago we'd I'd also receive a brand new penchant for openly crying.  God told me from the get go of this foster parenting gig, "Don't let the system make you bitter."  And the uncountable tears I've shed through this process out of frustration, heartbreak, joy, gratitude..they're keeping my heart soft and my hands open.  Maybe our Abba bottles our tears because they are precious, sacred, and the first evidence of the beauty He is going to fashion from the heartache and struggle?  My strength as a foster momma woman I'm finding is strongest in my vulnerability, so I embrace it, needing all the backing I can get.

Letting love take over fear, the "what if's," the impending broken hearts.  Loving with open hands and being at peace if God leaves us with empty arms, because He alone fills our heart.  Trusting in His strength, in His wisdom, when ours just isn't enough.  I'm learning this is brave love, an audacious love.  A love that doesn't fear man, or the days ahead, or the cost.  Unconditional love looks to me these days a lot like courage laced with sacrifice that asks nothing in return.  And despite all the drama and hurting- the hard cuts away the excess, it carves through the layers of self protection and gets to the good stuff, the valiant love that is a force to be reckoned with.  

We can choose to build walls to protect our hearts or we can can lay down our own fears and shortcomings to follow Jesus and rescue others behind their own barricades.  I imagine Him one day revealing the walls of heaven lined with His collection of captured tears and whispering tenderly, "Do you get it now, do you see every one was worth it?".

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 56:8



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Our Anthem


There's an anthem our little shabby in the most lovable way, downtown storefront church silently sings every time our body meets together.  You see we are a small but mighty, diverse but tight knit, group of believers that may not look like much to those who may know how, (ahem) proper church is supposed to look.  Religion for the sake of habit and status is nearly void- we're just sick of wasting time on comfort and we see the richness of knowing who and what God has specifically called us to be.  If our church family is called to be the pinkie toe of the worldwide church body we.will.rock.that.

We're bold in our weaknesses, honest in our lack, and God speaks through that, is glorified in that even.  Second Corinthians 12:9 ain't lying when it says, "My grace is enough; it’s all you need.  My strength comes into its own in your weakness."  His grace doesn't need bells and whistles and flashy worship sets and TVs and sofas in the ladies room (though by no means are those bad obviously).  His grace doesn't need a draw or an extremely charismatic preacher.  Anything outside of grace that our church provides for people is a beautiful privilege wrapped bonus and blessing (and good works will without question overflow when we're tapped into Jesus) but when our focus shifts from the truth that His grace is sufficient on its own, we let our own light distract from Jesus'.  

Our beautifully aged brick walls are only our headquarters, but they do not define us, we'd rather you find us spreading His grace in the streets, in our homes, in our workplace, in the hard things; standing face to face with injustices.  We are not a perfect people, far from the perception of perfection really, but we see our limitations as more room for Jesus to fill.  We stand shoulder to shoulder, everything we have laid bare, letting His song, our own simple, redeeming anthem flow...the Gospel is all we have, and it's enough.



Friday, June 13, 2014

In It All


Growing up on hundreds of acres of farmland I've always known the beauty and appreciated the ease of finding God in that tranquil atmosphere.  In high school you couldn't keep my friends and I away from the open skies in the evenings, they were moments so sacred we'd find in that stillness.  That peace and ability to just be are the few things I miss about country living, though absolutely not enough to leave my Target and Starbucks behind, thank you.

Last Saturday night Ricardo and I got up to stretch our legs during the 7th inning of a Tigers game we were at with my family.  We crept away from the crowds to soak in the skyline and bustle of downtown Detroit at 10pm.  It wasn't exactly the star filled skies I spent the summers of my youth laying under, it was more jet black, edged in a jagged neon glow that canvassed the most feared and ridiculed city in our country.  But no doubt, when I rested in the scene a bit there God was, covering it all.  A broken city, but laced with so much beauty and resilience, and evidently very capable of echoing a Creator even through the rubble and tainted reputation.  

He prodded me to realize in those peace filled moments that it was very much the same sky I've looked upon everyday of my life, just as He is the same God in the D as He is on a little farm in the middle of nowhere or an orphanage in Rwanda.  He is here in it all..the beautiful, the ugly, the hopeless, the written off..everything, and one, was created to reflect and seek His glory.  We need to separate ourselves from the crowds sometimes and steady our wandering, carnal hearts to see our God's unfathomable greatness.  Be still friends, and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)



Friday, May 30, 2014

Fostering Legacies



Six months our lil momma has been with us, that's every day of her life, outside the hospital walls she was born in.  Every evening when I snuggle her before laying her down for the night I lay the kisses on thick and my heart catches as I audibly ask her "What are we ever going to do without you momma?".   Six months, a week, a year..we have no idea how long we'll be together.  She has thrust us into a lifestyle of living and loving one day at a time, arms open and heart steadfast to whatever tomorrow holds for all six of us.  It isn't always so easy, there are the hard days where I complain to God and petition Him to not take His eyes from her for a second, as if He would.  He puts these injustices (like our broken foster care system) that are so much bigger than ourselves in our paths you know, to push us to intervene-yes, but also to turn our heartbroken, weary, helpless-without-Him selves to a Father who knows how the story ends and is never afraid of our hot messiness.  Things get per-son-al with the Abba when you're a foster momma, let me tell you. Ugly cries.Job moments.Day dreams of well thought out and very inappropriate words you'd like scream in court...You'll cling to the story of Jesus turning tables and that righteous anger like you were there. 

On the way home from a parenting visit earlier in the week, tears started to sneak out as I let myself think about how much a part of me lil momma is and how bad it would hurt to let her go.  I felt God whisper, Regardless of what's to come, know that she will be part of your legacy, know that I have so much more ahead.  Those soothing words eased the ache and joy moved in.  As foster parents we may never see the results of our faithfulness and brokenness and sleepless nights and jam packed schedules and loss.  But He does.  We can trust that He waters and gives light to the seeds we plant.

As I sit here typing away on my back patio, soaking up the sun with a cup of coffee and birds chirping, my heart is full imagining the crowds in heaven of beautiful fully bloomed lives I will have gotten the ridiculous honor to mother.  If there is a legacy worth leaving, I will humbly and with crazy honor choose this one.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lately






I'm feeling...expectant.  It's been a wild yet grace filled season and God is just constantly laying things on my heart and plate.  Everyday I feel like I'm waking up to something new and just rolling with it.  I have no idea what's up God's sleeve for the months to come and I've come to appreciate not really knowing and trusting He will let me know when I need to <<< That is a new skill friends, patience and being all carefree ain't me. #holla 

I'm anticipating...summer nights, tan lines, iced errrrything, grilling out, and not making school lunches every night. Cooooome on summer!

I'm contemplating...ideas for our ahem, "raw" coffee house/community theater church building that will be all ours to do whatever we want with come June 1st.  I'm pinning all kinds of chalkboard, antique letter, pallet, twinkle lights, and white Chinese lanterny inspirations.

I'm working on...a garden plan.  Nothing major, just a 4x8 raised bed the boys built me for mothers day..but I had no idea some plants aren't compatible, they all require diff spacing and water and sunlight needs and yada yada yada.  You'd never guess this chic grew up on a farm the first 20 years of my life, I was just pumped to walk in the back yard and snack on some snap peas..turns out there is a lil work involved.  Pray for me the plants.

I'm loving...that my man surprised me with the Tiffany's earrings I've wanted for years Monday, for our SEVENTH anniversary (How, just HOW have we been married that long when I'm only 17?!)and that we got a few very rare kidless hours in the city eating the best BBQ of my liiiife (Slows is where it is at for you local Detroiters).  And also that our lil mommas is exactly six months old today, we're going to celebrate by getting her ears pierced Friday.  I remember going through a bag of summer 6-9 month hand-me-downs the week we got her and my heart breaking not knowing how long she'd be with us..makes my heart so glad to see her in them and for the time she's been ours, though there is no doubt whatever our future holds our hearts will always know her as "ours."  Love that mommas to pieces.




Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Momma's Day



I'm a mom, and pretty much 98% of all of me feels that's what I was thrown onto this rotating planet for.  I'm all up in the thick of motherhood 24 hours a day of everyday of my life.  There aren't tangible trophies or award ceremonies and rarely is there a pat on the back or thundering applause in the wake of another diaper changed, another load of clothes folded, or another (semi) homemade dinner nailed.  It's life, our calling.  As mommas we are ridiculously blessed to call our life's work our life almost completely.  We reap the accolades of motherhood right along with the drama, our little lives celebrate us daily, their cute little selves radiate such us-ness.  We don't always get to appreciate all the sweetness from the sidelines as bystanders do when we're wrapped up in the thick of parenting our babes though.

And so on Mothers Day every year my expectations are the same, and this year was no exception.  I want to just soak up my family as more than their momma, I want to relax with them and say no to the rest of what life demands.  Gifts are thoughtful.  A bouquet of flowers I'm never mad about.  One day of peeling back the expectations and duties of motherhood to focus on the insane joy and privilege of moming our kids is it for me.

Holding my lil momma (who I may never though heart breaking celebrate another Mother's Day with) and watching my brood of boys do yard work and build me a garden bed, so we can spend summer days pulling weeds and eating fresh green beans in our bare feet, on a full belly of take out Thai..that's the good stuff, the best kind of day for this momma.






Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kindred

I've been caught up the last few days in how ridiculous God is with His goodness in nudging me into friendships with people I'd never think to pick to live life with.  Not because they aren't amazing, but I just didn't see that click, that spark, that common ground.  And dang it who has the time for more friends?!  I looooove people, but I'm a tight circle kinda gal..Jesus had his 12, can't I just have three?  I'm a passionate relater of peoples and my loyalty runs deep, as well as my energy to pour into many relationships.  But the ladies in my life that know the uglies of my soul and candidness of my heart best, I just never could have picked for myself.  God threw them into my path while I side eyed Him and with a sigh asked "Reaaaaaally God, another friend?  Mmmmmkay." << That convo legit happened.. #ohthedrama

God just knows what who we need.  He knows we need a balance of different gifts, and opinions, and personalities to help smooth our rough edges, test our flexibility, call our bluffs, love our rambunctious children, kick us in the pants or make us a cup of coffee- whichever is most needed at the time, and mostly, spur us towards the life He has called us to with a sister that just ain't going anywhere no matter the fire.  Our Father's goal in fashioning relationship isn't as much about comfort as it is betterment and growth, and I'm humbled to soldier on through this unpredictable life with a menagerie of ladies who though I couldn't picked out of a crowd, I trust with my life and love more than a trip alone to Target with a venti iced hazelnut macchiato in hand.  I know, I'm telling ya, that's some deep love.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10




Thursday, April 24, 2014

Roc: 6 Years


Roc,
Six?!?!? Really must we go there?  Nope, I can't handle discussing you being a basic man child.  I just read back over the letters I've written you each birthday for all these years..and every word I've typed still rings true. You are your father's son (your looks, swagger, positive outlook, love of TV/movies, gentle spirit, love of gifts, zest for life, charisma, leadership, goofiness, belief that you're funnier than you actually are..(I could go on)..that's all daddy).  I'd estimate just 8% of your genes are mine (your bold mouth, impatience, and those feet come from me).  You're just plain likable bubba.  Ms. Skowneski told me at our last parent teacher conference what a joy you are, how you're the most liked among your peers, and she knows you're going to be the super popular jock in high school who everyone loves, but you'll have no idea because you have a heart of gold.  Watching you mature is both a pleasure and a battle, but no matter how I try to will you to stay little you knock growing up out of the park.  Thanks for introducing daddy and I to each new area of parenting, you are the ultimate firstborn and we are so proud and blessed you're ours!!

Love you wildly, 
Momma 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Everyday


For thirty three years Christ laid His life down.  Daily.  There was the heart wrenching day nailed to the cross, curtain torn, two days in a tomb that changed the future of every soul ever birthed and to be.  His purpose- His death in exchange for our life.  But those habitual three decades He spent with a beating human heart, part man, part glorious God..He felt, He hurt, was tempted, was betrayed, was loved, was hated, and yet never stumbled on the path God laid before Him, because He sacrificed His own path.

Jesus's life was not taken from him on the cross, it was offered, just as it was every moment of the hours and minutes and days he clocked here in the flesh.  An offering that is wasted on us if we don't receive and duplicate, duplicate and offer up...laying our own lives and all the baggage that clings, down with cries of "Not my will, but yours be done!" even through terrified, clenched teeth.
Easter is for everyday because the Gospel is for everyday.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. 
John 15:13-17





Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This New Season


It's hard for me not to pause in the first days of spring and just breathe in slow deep breathes of it's fresh, hopeful air, exhaling the baggage of the cold, locked inside winter months.  Spring has healing power.  And hope.  Hope that summer is so close.. there'll be park play dates, backyard BBQ's, tan lines, after dinner family strolls, bare feet on the earth, late night convos on the faded patio furniture over sweet tea, and no heinous after school pick up parking lot jams to battle.  Spring just beautifully reeks of birth, life, growth, and new beginnings doesn't it?

I felt a stirring today as I opened my dining room window, His whispers flowing in on the breeze..

Breathe it in, don't be anxious about what's next, I'm in every season and they're each beautiful in their own right. Be present. Dwell in the season I've given you. 

Mmm, I'm soaking that up, loving today, rejoicing over what's springing up before my eyes.  It was a long hard winter friends, but it's a new season, let's be overcome with the thawing and new life that's emerging through the soil of our hearts.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Removed

Few things on this earth make passion rise so effortlessly within me more than foster and orphan care (add abortion to that as well).   The ignored innocent without a voice.  I've come to realize it's my thing...my call, my purpose, what I was placed on this earth to advocate for until there's no more breath in my lungs to petition.  We all should hold a piece to solving the puzzle of injustice in our world.  If I had the chance, I would sit over coffee for hours with you, passionately hashing out your part in all this injustice and mine.



As a foster momma of almost two years I have yet to not feel my heart leap a little inside when somebody approaches me about, or I can wiggle fostering into a conversation.  There is a misconception on what the American foster system looks like and the long term for all involved.  Children who've never known stability, proper care, unconditional love, safety, and are more familiar with abuse and neglect walk through the thresholds of foster homes all across the America.  And whether their future holds adoption, reunification, or a life volleyed back and forth in the system, brokenness is part of their story.  As foster parents we get to be a part of the loving them back to wholeness, protecting them, speaking life into them until they can speak it (and believe it) for themselves, and hopefully, and because Jesus is the only one who can fully restore our hurts, lead them to Him. 


Fostering is a joyful, heart wrenching, God leaning, free falling task, dripping with crazy privilege...I was crazy moved and have no words more honest and all encompassing to give those considering becoming foster parents than this gripping video that was created to bring light to a foster child's plight and insight to foster parents and those considering.



All of us who have a Hope, have a place in this.


                                                                                 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Roman: 4 Years




Roman Atticus,

Four years old...alllready?!  Wasn't it just months ago you popped into our world sporting all that glorious black hair, with such ridic ease that I would relive your birth daily?  Time needs to take a chill, but bubba I am pumped about this year for you, us...no more toddler; preschoolin' big boy is in the house now!  You're so excited about going to (pre)school in the fall and I know you're going to love it.  Three was a good solid year for your independence to really develop and your stubborn spirit to rise to the occasion (mom's are good at making even "testy" personality traits sound all kinds of wonderful) and your creative and imaginative side to totally erupt with goodness.  I came to realize this year that you have as much fun playing by yourself as with anyone else, and unorganized chaos makes you anxious and crabby (I get you totally Pickle).  You are so comfy in your own skin and oblivious to being anybody other than yourself.  Love that.  And boy you love our family so so well.  Out of everyone in the house you compliment me the most ("You're such a good mom!" "Momma you are sooo pretty and beautifuuuuul!") and I can promise you that never gets old.  You play with Zito all day long, smother lil momma with kisses and baby talk, are Roc's biggest fan and sidekick, and love being with your daddy.  We're so blessed to call you ours, to get to raise you up and encourage all of your talents and quirks and continue to watch your handsome boyishness slowly morph into the extraordinary man God is creating you to be.  Happy birthday my Rome Sicle Pickle, you are a treasure!!


Love you more than you love vacuums and bread sticks times infinity,

Momma




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Originals


Insecurity isn't something I've dealt too much with in the last decade.  Yet here I am, fresh "pastor's wife" (the quotations are to emphasize how ridic that still sounds) and I'm feeling like a first time momma, losing my single friends and my new mom friends trying to talk me into the minivan and not spanking.  It's the title, the formality..I've never liked labels being slapped on me like, "This is who you are now, make sure you live up to the stereotype!!".  My insides get all queasy and my heart gets all rebellious when I'm expected to be someone other than me.  I'm rolling my eyes at my own obnoxiousness with you.  

I feel so far from qualifying for the majority of the titles I hold in life, and yet in that honest humanity I see God's bigness and the obviousness of His workmanship.  Through the growing and accepting that no suffocating box of expectancy is big enough to contain who God has called me us to be, I hear Him clearly speaking to my self doubt..I created YOU for this, not a robot to be a carbon copy..YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made..YOU feel comfortable in your skin because you're a custom design, tailor made, one of a kind..Be that, be YOU.  He designed us to be who He created us to be, ourselves..to look straight to Him when it comes to ministry, parenting, friendships, etc. because a creator knows every stroke of his masterpiece and everyone else is just observing the glory of his skill.

I'm gonna be me, you be you; lets stop feeling we need to squeeze ourselves into roles and molds created by man, not our God, and rock what He's given us while accepting what He hasn't. :)


Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. (Galatians 5:25, 26 MSG)


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Clanging Cymbals

I think as Christians we sometimes think God is only as powerful as our best argument for Him. That as inhabitants of a sinful world we have to vehemently scream from the rooftops, "This is wrong!  Be more like us!  We're forgiven, therefore have it allll together!"  I think we get lost in the laws and forget the sequoia tree in our eyes when it comes to those who don't know the character of Jesus or the peace that a life grounded on His Words bring.  We want "sinners" to be instantly "fixed" so we can be gratified and move onto the next soul that needs a savin', because Jesus told us to walk people through the Sinners Prayer, not make disciples (ahem, read my sarcasm).  We argue points about sins with people (and many time strangers via social media) who know nothing different, who don't know a God who sent His son to bring freedom.  We get distracted by how pretty and neat Christianity should look and forgot how hideous and messy we looked when we met Jesus ourselves.  Our thinking is backwards if our expectancy is for people to follow the Bible verbatim before they meet Jesus.  Enough with our clanging cymbals of religiosity, God is best shown in our weaknesses, our authentic humanness- not our loud mouthed arguments over things that will never be agreed on between hearts that beat for two different lords.  We're wasting our time proving the critics right (disputing fools and the deceived) when there are relationships to be had, love to be given, freedom to be led to.  I will be the first to admit there is no gray area when it comes to the Word, but have we forgotten that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) and who the judge of the world is (James 4:12)?  I'm scared for us when in our Christian circles we justify "lesser sins" for each other but call out fire and brimstone in the public square for those that haven't a clue what a mess they're making of their lives.

If we as Christ followers need a soap box to shout from, let it be on a platform for those that aren't given a voice or a fighting chance, let our passionate and righteous anger be cultivated to advocate for the unborn, the orphan, the teenager aging out of the foster care system with their whole existence in a garbage bag at their side, the millions began trafficked, the homeless, the handicapped.  Let us save our breath and fight for injustice, let His love lead us to help cover the rampant brokenness, and His grace open the eyes of the lost.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 
Titus 3:9


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lately


                                                                                           








 I'm feeling...like I got this, not because my life is balanced to perfection, but because I'm finally feeling like I'm easing into the flexibility that you have to have when you're wearing more hats (so to speak) then you ever thought you would and you're married to a man who has no limits (in the best way).  Living the life I'm supposed to be, i.e. grace-filled and full, and loving it.  We're rocking a beautiful season right now.


I'm anticipating...spriiiing y'all!!  Sunday afternoon I sat on the couch about crawling out of my skin because I wanted to hit the park and take a long pleasant stroll with the fam.  Cabin fever is a real thing right now.  Love you winter, I honestly think you're the prettiest coziest season, but I'm just ready to be done and get some sun on my pasty self, you've just been so brutal this year!


I'm contemplating...lots of different ideas for our little downtown church/coffee shop and what God's vision is for us in The Clem.  A lot of exciting things are popping up, but I want to keep my sights on what He wants and will bring Him glory.


I'm working on...my sassy mouth.  Eww, this has always been my biggest downfall (and probably always will be), I speak too often and with too much of my realist perspective stuffed into every word.  My heart has always craved to be wise, but my mouth needs to get the hint and shut itself before I appear foolish.  


I'm loving...Hunter boots.  Yes, everybody and their momma is wearing them, and yes, I am anxiously waiting for them to come into stock at Nordstrom so I can snag a pair for with my birthday money just in time for those lovely April showers.  Uppity rain boots totally speaks to my farm raised but always meant for the city self.  Farm girl chic for the win!  And alsooooo...white kitchen cabinets.  I've always been obsessed with kitchens like the two beauts pictured below, and so currently I'm all over my man to plan a weekend to get those cabinets pearly white.


Prints, Brights and Layers.
via
LOVE a pressed tin ceiling. So beautiful.
via
Country meets industrial
via


Friday, February 14, 2014

Gimme the Slow and Steady


I smiled to myself the other night as I poured the strawberry shake I just made into the two waiting mason jars.  Ricardo was already asleep on the couch, baby girl in his arms snoozing right along, the big boys that should have been long asleep were yelling from their room after hearing the blender do it's magic, "Save some for us for morning!" and I paused for a moment and just soaked in all the beautifully unceremonious chaos that my life has become.  Life after marriage can be such a cliche, especially when you have two SUV's parked in your drive and four kids, but I would chose the slow and steady, rock solid foundation for myself and family every time.

I'm not mad about melting into the best man I know, being able to finish his sentences and not even having to ask his thoughts, that I can be grouchy with him while wearing no makeup and smelling of baby spit up and he likes me still, or that I have the space and freedom to dream because I have a husband who believes I could lasso the moon if I wanted and would be willing to get it for me himself if I wasn't in the mood (which is more likely).

Our love isn't a glamorous one and though Hollywood may never come knocking to get the rights to our story, I whole heartedly embrace the predictability of our good ol' fashioned marriage.  Life is enough of a crazy ride, easy love should be cherished and cultivated on the couch with Netflix and the "good snacks" when the littles are tucked away.  The romance will come and go, the flowers will wilt, but these are the moments our marriage is built on, the just being together that will never grow old, even as we do.