What a year.

I spent the first part of my year very pregnant and trying to soak up every moment I had left with my son as an only child. Then I birthed our daughter at home in the spring. We sojourned through most of this year in survival mode as a family. Balancing some big changes and challenges, learning to trust God and His faithfulness. We came face-to-face with the destruction that sin and brokenness causes, we rejoiced and learned to be thankful through all of these storms, for our little tribe and this beautiful life.

2018 was a big year for us, but I am here to say I am happy it is behind us and I welcome 2019 with open arms. I am declaring 2019 the year of radical growth, truth and vulnerability. The year we learn to lean in to whatever God has for us to learn.

Now for my annual photo dump on the blog! I’ve done this for years. It’s one of my favorite ways to look back on the year behind us, the highlight reel anyway. I’m grateful to be saying goodbye to 2018, grateful for what it taught us, grateful for new mercies.

That’s a wrap! See ya, 2018!

Bind My Wandering Heart To Thee

This blog post is very raw and almost straight from my journal. Bear with me.

God is teaching me so much lately.

He’s letting me fall and break so that he can put me back together. He’s teaching me I can’t do this healing on my own. He’s teaching me where I need to shift my focus.

He gives and takes away.

Through this hard, hard, hard season… I am so grateful. I know nothing but gratitude as I sob because of the changes He’s bringing.

I walked through the park with my kids listening to Here Again by Elevation Worship. Stop reading and go listen to this song, I’ll wait.

Suddenly the words hit my heart like never before. Words that once felt lifeless were dancing in my body, breathing life into a dead spirit. As I pushed my stroller I had to stop and literally kneel in the grass and just cry.

Can’t go back to the beginning

Can’t control what tomorrow will bring

For the first time, like a drink of water after forty days in the desert, I understood these words. I so wish I could go back to the beginning, to the moment I sinned the worst and tell myself this is not the answer, this is a path to destruction. But I can’t go back and I have no earthly idea what tomorrow will bring. Literally all I can do is trust. This is so hard for me. Confession: I’m a mega control freak. While this is kind of a funny thing, it’s the root of a lot of my sin. Because I can’t even allow the God of the universe to have the steering wheel of my life. I need to be in control.

Then these words

I’m not enough

Unless you come

This. Truth.

I’m not enough. Period.

What a relief, too. Remember that control freak part of my sin nature? Yeah, knowing the truth that I’m not enough apart from Christ is so freeing! But trust is still so necessary. I am just so grateful God is patient as I learn to trust…

Then, as these words ring through my ears, my chest cracks open. The truth they bring is like a balm on my aching heart. My prodigal soul sings:

Not for a minute was I forsaken

The Lord is in this place

The Lord is in this place

Come Holy Spirit

Dry bones awaken

Not for a minute was I forsaken. I get it. I understand it now. In my wandering, wondering where God was in my own personal desert, He was there. He was there in His Spirit. He was there in my husband. He was there in my parents. He was there in church family. He was there in therapists and counselors and doctors. He. Was. There. Not for a minute did he forsake me. He didn’t look at me and see me as unworthy. As I type this my hands are shaking because I still don’t believe it, but like a girl being romanced by a longtime love, I am swooning. I am in disbelief but I relish the adoration of my First Love. I want to return this love but feel so unworthy.

He knows I am but dust, he knows I am weak and sinful. But still he loves me and wants me to be more and more like him until the Wedding Day.

I feel so in awe of His love right now. Maybe like never before.

He has broken me over and over throughout my life to teach me lessons, to show me that only He can heal my brokenness. But this break feels like the greatest of all. This season has been one of utter dryness, of wandering in a desert. There’s been lots of complaining and wondering where the hell God is. But now… I see an oasis. This time it’s not a mirage, I know water is coming soon and I’m so thirsty.

They call me mama

Oh what a name.

“Mama!”

I feel tiny hands grasping my legs. The word, the name isn’t just that… it’s begging to be seen, it’s a request for validation from one of my tiniest, dearest loves.

Tonight it utterly struck me… to be called “mama” is one one the greatest gifts I have ever been given. It is my greatest joy. It is my highest calling. It is my God-given, sacred title that I treasure deeply.

Mama.

I am writing these words so that I remember them when the going gets tough. I want to remember, when I am at the end of my rope and I am exhausted and I have just done every single chore in the house and taken care of every single need these children possess, when I am weary and exhausted… they call me mama.

From the moment I became a married woman, I only ever wanted to be a mother.

Even before knowing David would be my husband, I knew my number one dream was to be a mother.

So when I am exhausted beyond belief, worn down, and raw as can be… I want to remember that I am the one they call mama. I am the one God have them to be mama. No one else. And, oh, what blessing it is to be called mama.

how do you take your coffee?

How do you take your coffee?

With a splash of whatever milk is on hand or, if I’m lucky, cream.

Early in the morning, around 6AM, while my babies are still sleeping in my bed.

Bleary-eyed, especially without my glasses. (Where did I leave them?)

Heart open, bleeding, raw, seeking.

Accompanied with psalms, prayers, whatever bible reading is on the agenda for today (or wherever God takes me in the scriptures).

Journaling until my hand is aching.

Silent, selfish prayers for my kids to stay asleep a little longer so I can enjoy the quiet.

A second cup of coffee. I consider adding raw sugar and think better of it.

Reading words written by some of my favorite women-writers because creativity breeds creativity and I am looking to be inspired.

Writing my own words.

Taking a deep breath. Eager for my day to begin and nervous about what it holds.

How do you take your coffee?

late night thoughts after my babies are in bed

lately i’ve been finding my voice again

like a long-lost friend

like the one who got away

like a companion i never knew i needed

lately i’ve been finding my strength again

i’ve been writing, reading, investing in myself like never before

as it feels like everything is crumbling around me

i also feel myself falling in love with my life again

all of the dirt being washed away

being made new, day-by-day

a newfound love for the things that once set my soul on fire

a remembrance of the girl lying beneath the rubble

i gentle pull her out

i dust her off and begin to clothe her so she doesn’t feel so exposed

i gently reassure her that it will all be okay

she is terrified, but i look into her eyes and remind her that she can only control herself

stop trying to make everyone like you

stop trying to prove yourself

stop lying, stealing, manipulating

you were redeemed by a Savior who had nothing to gain by rescuing your sick soul

go forth and sin no more

you are loved exactly as you are

no need to pretend

there is only love for those who walk in the light

so step out of darkness

and remember the purity of first love

remember the joy of walking through the grass barefoot as a child

remember the embrace of the Father’s arms

you will never be enough, no matter how hard you strive

and it was never meant to be that way

rest in His grace and love