Real Freedom

Aside from instagram where I document family memories, I've been pretty silent on the blog/social media.  I've been focusing on living simply and the important things in life.  Over the past month we have seen lots of change, and our lives look quite different than they did the last time I wrote.  I won't lie and say it has been easy; it most certainly hasn't, but God sure is teaching me a lot.

Today as I was reading, the Lord spoke to me about how we can have freedom in submission.  When circumstances feel overwhelming or out of control, it's not up to me to fix them or spend my time and energy worrying the days away thinking I am alone to carry the weight of my burdens.  Burdens are not meant to be held or carried alone - He commands me to lay them at His feet.  

Letting go of hurt and pain and worry and control, submitting those things to Him on a daily basis, that is when we really get to experience true freedom and live the lives He has planned for us.  It's all-to-easy to listen to the lies of the enemy telling you to hold onto these things, because no one else can understand what you're going through and its safer to keep them to yourself.  That's simply not true.  

We can have encouragement in knowing we belong to Christ,
comfort from His unrelenting love,
and fellowship and support with other believers who are there to walk alongside us.

I love love love this verse from Revelation 21,

"this is the One we are submitting to friends - 
the One who will wipe every tear and make everything new."

Thank you Lord!


He Sees Me (and You!)

I'm not sure how many of you have heard of the online devotional site She Reads Truth, but it is awesome.  If you're looking for a guided quiet time, they have a gorgeous site with so many excellent plans packed with truth.

I've been a little behind in the current series Hebrews (just keeping' it real!), but when I sat down to read this morning after putting Liv down for her morning nap, I knew God had planned this specific post just for me for today.  I don't know why I'm surprised every time this happens, He is the God of the universe and knows every detail of my life.  I think He just knew I needed a little encouragement today, and I love that about Him.

You see I started back to school this week (eek!).  I have the opportunity to get my master's in nursing administration through a cohort program the hospital I work at occasionally offers with a nearby University.  I wasn't necessarily looking to go back to school right now, but you see if you get in, they pay for it - all of it.  Up front.  So here I am, going back to school after almost 5 years of being out, now with family, and to be honest I feel like I'm not sure what I got myself into.  As I started looking over the syllabus and assignments for this semester last night, I began to feel overwhelmed and anxious.

This entire post from today was like a gentle reminder from the Lord to calm down, get rid of distractions (throw them off!), keep in mind what my priorities should be and to just keep going with my eyes on Him.

I'm sure it won't always be easy, but it was such a needed word from the Lord that He sees my heart, He knows my cares and worries, and He is plenty big enough and well-equipped to hold all the details of my life in His hand.

And you know what?  He can hold yours too.

So this morning I'm re-focusing and putting my priorities down on paper as a physical and visible reminder in this new season to run with endurance and keep my eyes fixed on Him and only what's important.


Community + Being Brave

A while back my friend Wynne wrote this post and this post about being brave to share the hard parts of your story.  It really touched me, and ended up being the catalyst for me to finally write down my journey with infertility and begin to process all those emotions.  I've always been a pretty private person, but the Lord has shown me over the past few months that really good things and relationships bloom from being vulnerable when I share my story.  So thank you Wynne for being brave and inspiring lots of us to be brave too!

It has been really encouraging to see the ways the Lord has allowed me to share my story with others.  First on Wynne's blog  as part of her fertility Friday series, and recently on the beautiful Southern Mama and Child.  It's been really humbling to hear from so many of you (in person and online) walking through similar things with infertility.  I think the biggest blessing that comes from sharing the hard stuff you're going through is in knowing you're not alone.  I spent way too long feeling like I was the only one that could understand what I was going through, and that simply wasn't true.  Christ calls us to community, and we need one another more than ever when we're in the valleys.

Reach out in faith and be brave.  Find someone who needs a listening ear or an encouraging word.  Open up and share your struggles with someone who understands where you are.
I promise you won't regret it.


Freedom in Contentment

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of contentment lately.  One of my personal goals, as well as a goals for our family, is to live simply - to fill our lives with the important stuff, and not let all the noise overtake our minds and spirits.  Does that make sense?

I think contentment fits so well within the sphere of living more simply.  For me personally, where this can be the most difficult is in social media.  I love the friendships I have made and the connection to keep up with family.  I love that I have the ability to preserve such wonderful memories with the touch of a screen.  What I don't like is the feeling that everyone else's lives are a perfectly styled what-I-wore post on a "lifestyle" blog, a nursery straight out of Pottery Barn or a gourmet meal on a weeknight in an instagram capture.

Don't misunderstand me, I enjoy following and keeping up with these types of people just as much as the next person and having new things is in no way bad (it can be super fun!), but the problem is when my thoughts start to move from inspiration to inadequacy.  That is when I make it a point to take a step back from all the noise and to take one towards the One in whom I find my worth and rest - the One who has given me all I need and more.  I am freed to experience true contentment and overflowing joy when I begin to dwell on and be filled with gratitude from the countless blessings in my life - family, friends, health, safety etc. - and not on what I don't have or think I should have to make me happy.  If working in pediatric oncology has taught me anything, it's that life is way too short to worry about things that won't last!

Here's a little excerpt from a blog post that's going around that I think rings so true.  If you have a few minutes, go read the whole thing here.  There is such freedom in gratitude!

"Sometimes it seems that our entire economy is based on distracting women from their blessings.  Producers of STUFF NEED to find 10,000 ways to make women feel less than about our clothes, kitchens, selves, so that we will keep buying more.  So maybe freeing ourselves just a little from the Tyranny of Trend is a women's issue - because we certainly aren't going to get much world changing done if we spend all of our time and money on wardrobe and kitchen changing."

So maybe I don't have a Michael Kors bag and my jeans are from Target, but I have a healthy, happy baby, a hard-working husband that loves me, a safe place to live and good food in my pantry.  I am free to drive my reliable, paid-off, 10-year-old car to church to worship each week and freely express my love of Jesus without anyone killing or jailing me for it.

I'd say that's a pretty wonderful life right there!
Today, I choose contentment.
Will you join me?


Rest & Abide

It seems as if there are always things left undone around here lately, to-dos still on my list unchecked.  I often find if my focus has wavered off of Him, those things undone really start to get to me and make me feel like I'm not good enough.  I read this in a devotional this week, and it really hit home with me -

Our work is good, a gift from God.  Routine is needed and helpful, but without a strong faith in the work of Christ, we will never be able to truly enjoy the rest that God has for us.  Deep, soul rest that speaks not only to the way we spend our seventh days, but how we view ourselves every moment of every day.

In the past I have struggled with enjoying rest, because I have a tendency to focus on what seems like a thousand other things I "should" be doing.  Nap while the baby naps?  I'd really like to, but I should probably fold some laundry ...  Sound familiar?

(this girl knows how to rest!)

I am really trying to listen to the promptings from the Lord lately reminding me - I am enough in Him, He is the One in whom I find my worth, rest and abide in Him.  
Having a daughter has made me cling to these truths even more.  I want to teach and show her that her worth comes from Him, not from the things of this life or what the world says is important.

I loved this ending to the devotional I read -
"This truth is all you need to claim when the voices of the enemy drift in with "one more thing" you need to have or do to be enough".

Such good truth.  I am claiming it today, how about you?
Happy Sunday!