Tuesday, June 23, 2015


My littlest love bug Lauralei is almost 15 months old.  She is the cutest thing (I say that about all my children!).  But, really, she is sweet, smiles as big as the sun, and has so many adorable faces that just melt.my.momma.heart!!!  You can't look at her, hold her, or love her and be upset.  She has that kind of power over our family.  It is unanimous.  We all are smitten!

One of may favorite times in the day (in fact, I may try to one up Tony just to get to experience this more!) is when I get Lauralei up from a nap.  She is all snuggly, warm, and wants her Momma (or Daddy if he is getting her up).  She wants to put her head on my shoulder and holds me tight.  In fact, she kind of hangs on for dear life.  She grips my T-shirt with one hand and rubs my arm with the other.  She wraps her monkey legs around me.  It.Is.Precious!!  I want to make time stand still and hold on to that moment forever.  I pay really close attention to all the details- how her hand feels on my arm, how her sweaty/bed head rests on my shoulder, how her sweet baby smell greats me (unless she has a dirty diaper- in which case, I try to forget the smell...).  

There is another time of day that this hold-on-for-dear-life love fest happens.  It's when she's scared.  And, while my heart breaks because my sweet precious little girl is scared, my heart also soars because SHE WANTS ME!!!  I help her feel better.  Feel safer. Feel loved.  I make it better.  Whatever "it" happens to be at that moment.  There is nothing more that I want to do as her momma than make it all better.   And, as her Momma I can see the big picture.  I can see that although it FEELS scary at the moment- she is really ok, and all will be well in a little bit.  I really enjoy this love fest and being the best thing since sliced bread.  (As a side note, I am only outdone by Tony.  She has a thing for her daddy.  The force is strong between them!  It is a wonderful glorious thing that makes me love them both even more!)  

After a little bit,  her heart has been comforted, the scary thing is no longer scary, and she unwraps her legs, and loosens her grip and even asks to be put down to explore on her own.  She sees what I knew all along- things are ok! And, while I know that this is coming.  I know that this is healthy- she should feel safe without gripping me.  But, oh man I dread it.  My heart does not want to put her down. 

One day this past week, as I was comforting her in a hold-on-for-dear-life love fest session- a light bulb went off.  The Lord said to me (as He often does when I'm correcting, guiding, reprimanding my kiddos) that this a picture of how I should approach the throne of my Heavenly Father!  That we should cling to Him, wrap our arms and heart around His word, put our monkey legs around His love.  That we should only feel safe, secure, loved when we are holding on to the ROCK!  This Rock should make all better.  We must see Him as the One who makes all things good.  And, to tell you the truth, I feel that I do this pretty well when I am scared.  I usually run to Jesus first when things are headed into trouble. The danger zone sends me to Christ quickly.  I'm on my knees and I'm gripping Him because I know that He is the only way things will be right.  Safe.  Better.   He never fails.  He comforts me, saves me, provides for me.   And, just as I see the big picture with Lauralei, He sees the big (Really BIG) picture with me.  He KNOWS that this is going to be ok.  As my heart is comforted by His Love and Truth I start to loosen my grip.  I feel better.  I want to "get down and explore on my own".  It's not a blatant thing.  It's not an on-purpose thing.  It's just a thing.  And, I am convicted.  Do you do this too?  Are you guilty, as I am, of clinging to the Rock in the storms of life and letting go when things seem to be going well? 

Another way of saying this is to ABIDE in HIM! 

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  John 15: 4-11 (ESV)

It's time for a change sisters!  We must cling to the Rock at ALL times!  We must learn to abide in Christ when things are bad AND when things are good.  We must learn that He is first no matter what is going on around us.  Can you imagine how much more we grieve Him when we go on our merry way - just as Lauralei does when she feels better? We say with our actions and our priorities- "Thanks for saving the day, I've got this now".  It's hard to even type those words.  They sound so ungrateful.  So bratty.  Let today be the day for change.  Whether you are in a good place or a bad place- cling to the Rock.  Whether things are fantastic or crap-tastic- cling to the Rock.  It is in Him and from Him that all blessings flow- and all things are made better.  When we abide in Him we find true Joy.  True love.  Apart from Him we can do nothing!  

When we cling to the Rock we will find our safety and our security.  In His truth and His love we can gain strength, passion, self esteem, and courage.  It is from Christ that these traits come to be in our lives.  They are the Fruits of His Spirit!  And, they only come from Him.  When we think (whether in words or in action or in priorities) that we have it all under control- we get way too big for our britches and go unwisely as if we are in control.  Woe is me!  

My dear friends, join me in clinging to the Rock.  No matter what today or tomorrow brings.  Remember to abide in Him.  Cling to Him.  It may be the best.day.ever (said in Rapunzel's voice from Tangled).  Without clinging to Christ- abiding in Him - it does not matter.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

HGTV? Hearts: God's True Vision

Cross country moves are NOT for the faint of heart.  Let me tell you I could have MULTIPLE blog posts on the crazy that ensued when we began our journey from Florida to Texas.  Seriously.  Lots of crazy!!  But, what kept us going, through it all, was the clear voice of God telling us THIS was His plan for us, and that we were embarking on an amazing journey.  In my shortsightedness, I thought He was being literal- Talking about the journey of actually getting from place one to place two; that He was working in the getting to and fro.  Just look at (some of) the crazy that actually took place: monsoon rains while packing the semi, epic falls off said semi, too.much.stuff, midnight Salvation Army donations, hours and hours and hours of work, car vandalism, and NO HOME to go to once we got there (that is a whole 'nother story!).  

But, what I am learning more and more as I walk with Jesus through life- is that He is rarely just literal! He is so much more! He wasn't talking about our "journey" as the few weeks between deciding to leave and getting to the new place.  The "journey" is our life.  Our story.  So- fast forward a few weeks... maybe a month.  And, we had found a house, and have started to settle in.  I was falling deeply in love with Texas and all that being a "Texan" involves!  I was loving the culture, the decor, and the countryside.  I was a happy camper.  But, the boxes and chaos of unpacking were getting out of control.  Seriously, I was a mad (wo)man on a mission and anyone in my way might have gotten run over.  I needed to enjoy my home.  To make it ours- make it comfortable, but beautiful.  A place we all love to be and surrounds us with a warm, beautiful hug.   Right.  Because isn't that as women our first go to?  What do I need to do? What do I need to fix?  What can I improve about this or about you child right there or you husband over there? (ouch!) I began to dream, and Pinterest had NOTHING on me.  I was pinning to my hearts content.  The problem was, the more I dove into fixing up this house to be a home, the more agitated I got.  The more I tried to make the house look good, well designed, put together the more I began to feel yucky, messy, and totally not put together.  I really couldn't put a finger on what was stirring up these feelings in me.  

As I began to bring these feelings to the Lord- through worship at Church and through prayer at home I began to HEAR Him.  Not in that loud booming "Moses" voice that we imagine.  But,  I started listening to what He was actually saying to me in the stillness of my heart.  The quiet, strong, repetitive words. Once I started truly listening I stopped putting my own spin to the words that He gave.  

This is what He said:
STOP decorating the inside of your home to create order and peace.  LOOK at the hearts inside your home.  START decorating the hearts inside your home to live in ME for ME.  MY fruits of the Spirit will bring the calm, order and peace your heart is craving.  Then your house will become a home.  

WOAH!!!  When I really heard Him I STOPPED in my tracks.  My heart poured open and I knew with all that I am I had been going about this "decorating" in such a wrong way!  What was really bothering me was not the chaos of some brown boxes and so much newspaper, but our hearts in chaos.  The ugliness and hurt that I could see inside my own heart, and what was being displayed by my family. I mean, I didn't see any future axe murderers- but I saw self centeredness, bickering, anger, and some other unlovely things.  

It reminded me of these verses in Matthew 23: 

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

How was I attending to the outward adornment of our home when I had hearts to attend to? MY heart.  What is hidden in there that is ungodly, chaotic, ugly?  My children needed me to love, encourage, teach, and direct towards Christ?  I had hearts that needed my guidance, prayer, attention.   My husband needed my encouragement, support, and respect.  Yet, I was very busy cleaning the outside of our "tombs" and not attending to the hearts on the inside.  Listen, this is in no way a dig on making your space beautiful.  If your gift is decorating spaces- PLEASE go forth and decorate!! :) The world needs you!  But, it is a call to see the BIGGER picture.  To not stop at the literal, but to look all the way to the Spiritual.  

There is so much deep, rich truth in these verses.  SO much reflection.  When I look back- almost a year now- and see where our family is and has come from I can see so much growth.  We have come so far in such a little time.  I still see plenty of room for more cleaning.  But, that is it- isn't it?  We are a work in progress- just like I'm sure I'll never have my house fully put together- magazine perfect- I know our hearts on this side of eternity will never be fully put together.  But, when my focus and attention is on making sure we are cleaning the inside- I know, because God told me, the outside will look better too!!  

Peace and calmness, order in my home will come from the lives that live within the walls.  Not the beautiful furniture or the perfect paint color!  What is God urging you to clean out and attend to?  What have you been whitewashing? 

In this journey with you,