Sunday, February 16

Hold You Near

There's a reason cities build walls up. They are protective, deliberately separating structures that take time, effort, skill, and intention to construct. They aren't forgiving or flexible; they are sturdy, solid and longstanding.

Why do people build these walls? These walls that are so thoughtfully and carefully built to make sure that no hurt, mistrust, or pain can enter. Whether the wall is there for one person or several people, walls constrict you from true freedom.

I've built these walls. I've spent night after night thinking out how to make the wall just perfect so as to protect myself as much as possible. Terrified of ridicule or rejection, I have moved very inch of discomfort into another brick on the wall. I'm very quick to think of myself first in these walls, not how it may affect others. Sometimes I build the walls so high I can't see over them for miles upon miles.

The last few months have been so humbling and I have slowly began to tear down walls that I've probably built for years.

But now's the time to let the walls come crumbing down.

Because a life with walls is a life of solitude, fear, and self-loathing. Because a life with walls is no life at all.


Lord, you have searched me and known me!
 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
 You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lordyou know it altogether.
 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.
                                        -Psalm 139:1-18

Finding that deep assurance of God's love for me takes guts. It takes me surrendering my pride, my fear, and my discomfort to Him. Every time I feel that wall rising in me, I have to push it down and pray for God's guidance. Is it fear of rejection? Time to be bold and to say it anyway. Has this person hurt me in the past? Time to forgive and move forward. Is it confusion? Time to search for Truth. Is it self preservation? Time to swallow my pride and be ok with being wrong. Is it fear of failure? Time to get back up.

Because life is messy. And if I waste my time trying to make it perfect then I'll miss the beauty of growth and forgiveness. I'll miss His new mercies that are free to me daily. I'll miss out on real relationships and only scratch the surface with people.

I desire strong, satisfying relationships that I can lean on and live life alongside of. I'm stretching deeper within myself to have a joyful, bountiful marriage. I'm leaning harder on those few people God has placed in my life for friendship that lasts a lifetime.

Tuesday, January 28

When There Isn't Time

Just eight short weeks ago I gave birth to two very precious little girls. I have a 22 month old son and my sweet Aiden would be three years old. Life has flown by at warp speed. 

Grief doesn't know time. It doesn't have boundaries.

This weekend my family and I had a very near dangerous experience in the car and one of my girls was almost hurt. 

My body, mind and heart was paralyzed. I literally felt like my heart was going to explode and I was going into shock.

I grabbed my phone thinking we may have to call 911 and the flashbacks started. Flickers of the horrible 911 call I made when Aiden wasn't breathing. And all the events that followed. I lost my breath. I couldn't breathe. My husband pulled Milly out of the car and was assuring me she was fine and I covered my face in fear that she wasn't.

Three years and three kids later and the grief is so different. I look back at those months immediately following Aiden's death and I'm pretty sure I'm more shaken now than when it happened.

Adrenalin is a powerful thing in crisis. It debilitates you from feeling and gets you to act. Those months, probably the first year, was acted out of that adrenalin. Slowly life moved on and I became so much more aware -- the ability to feel grew.

I think it's only been in the last year or less that I've been able to sort through things.

I've found myself broken. So incredibly weak and wounded, so bruised, so full of fear and insecurity. Grief has seeped into every area of my life and I'm just beginning to peel back the layers.

Time has brought me to a place of remembrance and realization that I desperately need Jesus more than I've ever thought. I mean... We all need Jesus. When we mess up, when we need provision, when we seek guidance. 

But I need Jesus DAILY. I need Him every moment. Because my feet fail me in the most simple circumstances. 

But Jesus never fails me.

Here I am in life feeling like I'm sinking -- seeing defeat in so many areas in my life and He has been waiting for me in these quiet and loud moments to sing peace over me.

I choose Him. I choose Him over fear, hurt, confusion, exhaustion or pain. I choose to give it all to Him. 

And it feels good. Because now I'm not alone or scared but lifted up, encouraged, full of hope. I can put my confidence in His faithfulness. Deep assurance fills my spirit knowing He never gives up.

"He will cover you with his feathers, 
      and under his wings you will find refuge;
           his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."
                                          -Psalm 91:4

Tuesday, September 24

Fear

I've been having intense nightmares for the last few weeks. It's been revolving around this idea of losing Ben. Whether it be that he leaves me for another woman or he dies suddenly... it's been driving me crazy! And has put me on an emotional roller coaster.

I know what it is like to lose someone you love dearly.

On Sunday our pastor was discussing the fear of death and the fear of safety. It sparked so many thoughts in my head, because I don't fear my own death. I fear the death of my husband and my kids. I fear the loss of them in my life. Because in my head, I couldn't do life without Ben. He is my best friend and has walked the hardest road alongside me with love, support, kindness and strength.

A wave of shock overcame me on Sunday as our pastor was speaking because after almost three years I have never known this about myself. I've seen all the symptoms but never acknowledged the condition. This fear controls a lot of my life. I get nervous in the car when we have to put on the breaks suddenly. I lose it when something even slightly scary happens in our neighborhood. I imagine getting "the phone call" every time Ben drives away and I assume he is going to get in an accident.

I know God doesn't want me to live this way. He does not want us to fear.


For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. -2 Timothy 1:7 
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." -Deuteronomy 31:6 
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? -Psalm 56:3-4 
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. -1 John 4:18

I took Elwood to the park this morning and on my way home I was listening to an interview of Matt Redman about his song "10,000 Reasons". He told a story of an older man that loved the Lord who had gotten sick and was on his death bed. He called in all his family and friends and asked that they sing "10,000 Reasons" as he passed away. I teared up immediately hearing about how the man said he wanted to be raised into Heaven singing His praises because he wasn't afraid of death. He wasn't scared to meet Jesus, but rather much the opposite.

Matt Redman talked about how he couldn't believe that God was using that song for such an eternal purpose. He said that concerts and recordings are so limited but hearing the stories of how the song is changing lives and moving Heaven are overwhelming.

Oh, how I desire to have that confidence in Him.

I'm learning to trust Him in all circumstances. He's never failed me and I know He never will. Leaning into my fear gives me the opportunity to surrender it, letting God the chance to take control and ease it. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. The burdens I think I carry are only my own. They are heavy weighted, difficult, messy and hurtful. But as soon as I can give it to God, it disapates immediately.

10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman (emphasis mine)

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes


You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Monday, September 9

When Strength Isn't Enough

I feel defeated by a lot of things right now. The last few weeks have overwhelmed me with life circumstances that I can neither control or fix. I feel inadequate most days to be the wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend I should be. I fall short and often fail at what I think I should be doing.

But when I read the Word and soak in God's story, I see that no one was enough. Not one person (I mean person, not Christ) measured up to what God had planned for them. Nor did anyone in the Bible know how important they were regardless of their shortcomings or successes. We're just all human beings doing the best we can to pursue Christ and godliness.

Exposed beyond the shadows
You take the cup from me
Your dirt removes my blindness
Your pain becomes my peace 
                                     -Jars of Clay


I am frail. Nothing I do, say, or touch is stable. Because I am not stable. Not without Christ. I'm learning to place my hope and trust in Him, leaning into my weakness so it is exposed and God can work on me.

A lot of things in life terrify me right now. The road ahead looks scary and difficult. Finishing out this pregnancy, having three little ones under age two, grieving the hardest season of the year for us in October, and the many crazy days at our house to come... But I take comfort knowing my strength isn't enough. And thank the Lord! My strength would get me to about... this afternoon. Then it would fade and fail.

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." -Psalm 143:8
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