In 2013 I was tired of working my bum off and still coming up short on money at the end of the month. I was tired of watching my friends make money and wondering if I could do it too. And, as a new mommy and full time teacher, I was just TIRED. I needed that natural stress relief and energy/detox stuff I was hearing about. So I made a decision to at least TRY! I will never forget the day I got online to enroll. I kept getting error messages and I couldn’t get the order for my starter kit to go through. Just as the thoughts began flooding my mind, “what if this is a sign?”, “maybe I’m not supposed to do this!” my sweet friend and amazing enroller, Jacki, messaged me and said these words, “The devil must really not want you to do this since you’re having all this trouble” And there it was. In an instant my perspective shifted and instead of letting the difficultly defeat me, it spurred me on. One moment of buying the lie and letting what I could only see in that moment could have caused me to give up on what has fueled the biggest dreams of my life. The truth was God did want that order to go through. He did intend this path for me. Without it, I wouldn’t be writing, I wouldn’t be home with my babies, I wouldn’t be influencing an amazing team of dreamers and my husband and I wouldn’t be working towards creating a ministry center. Do you understand the chain of events that can unfold from one single YES?! One yes to what God is calling you to do creates a domino effect, a chain reaction toward the upward spiral of hope He has planned for you. This tapestry will be seasoned with trials, no doubt, but as you persevere through each one His vision for your life will become clearer and clearer. There have been many times I let the lies defeat me, many times I gave up on myself and my dreams, many times I walked away instead of walking through. But that day, that moment; I chose hope. I pray that when your defining moment comes, whether you realize it at the time or not, that you choose hope. I pray you choose truth and I pray you choose to make your dreams come true!
It’s a preschool day for my son and my husband volunteered to do drop-off this morning. I stepped out of the shower and into the rareness of a quiet house. A brief sigh of relief was quickly ebbed by the thousands of “should-do” thoughts that came rushing into my mind. As mothers, we have but few moments to ourselves so they must be used ever so wisely. I should unpack those bags still sitting in the living room from our trip last week, I should start a load of laundry and definitely get those dishes done, I should turn on some music and clean (you know REALLY clean) this house, I should water the flowers and pull those weed, not to mention everything I should be doing for our business. I’ve got messages to follow up with and notifications on social media blinking at me eagerly waiting to be opened, along with a list of phone calls to be made. Then one tiny voice in my head whispers, “or write”. Write; the one thing God has been so patiently and lovingly nudging me to do for the last few years and the one thing that always seems to come last. We all have one thing; that one thing we love doing but it always takes a back seat to the many “have-to” moments in our day. Maybe yours is reading or praying. Maybe it’s creating artwork or music. Or maybe yours is just sitting quietly in His presence. Whatever your one thing is, if you’re like me you don’t let yourself do it very often. Why is it that the things that feed our spirit the most we all too often give the least amount of space in our lives? Maybe life just gets busy, maybe we’re so busy pouring into others we neglect ourselves or maybe it goes even deeper. Maybe we don’t even feel worthy of this precious time with our One Thing.
I so frequently find myself striving for perfection in every area of life that instead of excelling in one aspect, I feel like a failure in all areas. I’m not sure how many roles you play in this world but most of us are juggling several hats. Yours might be employee, student, daughter and friend. Mine are wife, mother, daughter, friend and business owner. Each one takes up a vast majority of time and when you add them all together, sometimes it feels overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to be “the best” at each one. I blame social media and the Pinterest mom generation for this need to excel at our daily tasks. What else are we to do? We’re constantly bombarded with images of the mom who just made her kid a snack of fruits and vegetables in the shape of a train (how in the world?!!), the crocheted blanket someone crafted up for a friend’s new baby (while you just grabbed a gift card last minute) and the beautiful spread of (yes, all organic) foods the wife loving prepared for her husband, while you realize it’s 5pm and haven’t a thing in mind to make. Yes, I blame social media because that’s where we see this portray of perfection but that’s not really where the blame rests. There is an enemy who would love to defeat us at every turn and if he can use a picture of a fruit and veggie train to do it, he will. The problem isn’t everyone else and what they excel at, the problem is us. The problem is me buying the lie that I’m supposed to be the best at everything I do. What if we’re just supposed to shine in our One Thing? What if the very thing you put off till last is the one thing you need to focus on the most?
So I’m writing. Today, I choose my one thing. I choose to quiet all the other voices pulling for my attention and focus solely where God is leading my heart. The beauty of this life is that yours isn’t the same as mine. Maybe you need to go focus on making baby blankets or cooking dinner because that is where God has called you. Maybe pouring into your children or your husband is exactly where He wants you to be. Or perhaps you are reading this on your lunch break and God has called you to invest in your career. Then excel. Do what it takes to make that your One Thing and be the very best at it, but don’t try to be the best at all the things. Staying in your own lane and keeping your eyes on the path uniquely planned for you can be one of the most difficult challenges in this life. Their grass may look greener but it will never feel as soft as what is planted beneath your own feet. So I’ll do my one thing and you do yours and together we can create a beautiful garden.
Ephesians 2:10, 1 Peter 5:8, Proverbs 16:3, Proverbs 3:5-6, Luke 10:42
There are days in this business where I feel as if I’m standing in a crowd, hands open, offering an incredible gift and people don’t notice. They walk by with blinders on. They assume it’s too good to be true. They’re too busy to notice. They just can’t believe it’s for them. Some are curious but too afraid to even take a closer look.
Fear. It holds us back so many times. Fear whispers doubt, pulls us back into the mold and keeps us living with only a small portion of what God has in store. Fear tells us not to move. Doubt tells us it’s not possible. Shame tells us we’re not worthy.
God. God tells us to go. He tells us to move forward because He has already made a way and redeemed us. He makes us worthy.
Imagine what Christ must have felt on the cross. Can we even begin to glimpse a small portion of what he experienced? He was the most perfect gift given by God. God himself, opening His hands to offer his only Son.
Yet, in that moment and still today, people don’t notice. They walk by with blinders on. They turn away. They assume it’s too good to be true. They just can’t believe it’s for them. Some are curious but too afraid to even take a closer look.
God still waits for so many. With open hands and a storehouse of blessings, He waits to give away the most precious of all gifts; Himself.
I am not my accomplishments.
I am not my appearance.
I am not what others think of me.
I am not my own.
I am loved.
I am chosen.
I am His.
I am forgiven.
I am made worthy.
I am made new.
I am a child of the One true King.
I am not driven by the ways of this world; by money, lust or greed.
I am not moved by things.
I am called.
I claim a higher purpose.
I follow His plan, His ways, His steps.
In Him I live and move and have my being.
I will not be shaken, though the earth give way and the mountains crumble into the sea, because this is not my home.
I am not of this world.
I am only and completely found in Him.
He is my way maker.
He is my peace.
He is my light.
He moves me.
He makes me.
He guides me.
Constant He will be.
Forever I am changed.
One thing remains; I in Him, He in me.
Alpha and Omega
All I ever need
My son broke his arm this week. He is 2 years old now, so I suppose it was just a matter of time before we took this rite of passage into boyhood. It is official now, I am the mother of a rough and tumble little boy. What’s funny is that my son is actually quite cautious in nature. He’s never been a climber, doesn’t try to run in the road and avoids things that look dangerous. I really thought he was the last kid that would break a bone, but here we are. He is wearing his purple cast like a badge of honor. One tough cookie. Yesterday, we were waiting in the orthopedic office when I heard an unusual sound. I looked up and from our room could see into the hallway where a prisoner was being led past us into another examining room. The sound I heard was the shackles and chains he was bound by. As he walked, more shuffled, along I could hear the chains clanging together. He was dressed in a full orange jumpsuit with a label in bold black letters across his back naming him a prisoner of the county jail. A captive. Typically, my first response would be one of judgment, wondering what he did to get in there and irritation of why “someone like him” was being brought in such close quarters with the rest of us. Perhaps, the Holy Spirit is making some breakthroughs in the hard places of my heart because I thought neither. My response was an overwhelming feeling of knowing God loves him. God loves him. He loves him the exact same way he loves me; the exact same way he loves my little purple cast wearing 2 year old. He loves him. Oh how he loves each one of his children. He loves us not for what we’ve done, nor what we’ve failed to do. He just simply, constantly, without reason, loves us. I sat there breathless, in wonder of my God who sets no restrictions and no requirements on this Great Love. I know of it; this love. But I fail to comprehend it, rarely give it and struggle to accept it. Our human minds, in all their complexity still strive to conceive of a love that knows no conditions. See God loves this prisoner now, even in his chains, the same way he will love him in eternity. I too often think I’m earning some merit badge of love here on Earth. I strive as if God’s love and favor are dependent upon my actions. God has chosen, for reasons only He knows, to bless us right now with this business. As it grows and our territory expands, it is so easy to start to think we are doing something great. We are making a difference most certainly and we are making an impact for His kingdom by following His leading and it is spectacular, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to what awaits us in eternity. This life is but a mist, a vapor that appears for just a moment and is gone. What awaits us is unfathomable. In the end, God will have loved me the same here as he does there. He loved me when I walked in chains, before I knew him and he will cover me with the same blanket of love when I gaze into his face in Heaven. I will never earn it nor be worthy of it. Today, whether you sit in shackles and chains or you are following God’s leading to a call bigger than you, know you are loved. You are equally, completely and abundantly loved.
I’ve been meaning to clean out my purse for about 2 months now. We went to Tampa, Florida for a business trip in January and my purse is still housing boarding passes, parking tags and gum wrappers not to mention my son’s handfuls of spilled Cheerios, a few wayward fruit snacks and the other day I found a whole orange in there! I have to admit that purse is a true reflection of my life right now. We are in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year in our It Works business so couple that with mom-life and toss in a full-time teaching job and you’ve got a life that looks like a messy purse explosion! You see, it’s not just the purse. It’s the laundry all over the couch and the dog hair piling up on the rug…oh, and my goodness those dirty dishes! I am running in all directions but there is a means to an end and a purpose for this phase of chaos. It won’t be like this for long but while I’m in the thick of it, I sure am glad God doesn’t judge our messes. You see even when we’re not cleaned up and looking our best, God still loves us the same. He loves us for who we are, not what we do. There is no measure to his Grace. Ephesians 4:7 tells us that to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. How could one ever put a measure on Christ’s gift? Just as we can not to this, so we are unable to measure his Grace.
About a month ago my husband was on a chat forum and one of the comments made was about Christians being “mindless followers”. This sparked a nerve with my husband so he commented back and asked this man, “What is your belief system? What do you base your life on?” The man replied, “Science. We live according to our own merit.” My husband’s reply was simple, “Wow”, he said. “That must be exhausting”.
I am so thankful we do not live according to our own merit. Who could measure up? Who could stand? I am reminded of these lyrics by Gerrit Gustafson; “Only by grace can we enter. Only by grace can we stand. Not by our human endeavor but by the blood of the lamb.” He doesn’t ask us to be cleaned up, in order and presentable before we come. The beauty of grace is we come just as we are. In the midst of our chaos, in the middle of our mess, He says, “Come”. You see, He works all things according to his purpose. In time, our mess will be cleaned. When we bring our brokenness, our cluttered past, our bags full of crumbs, He lays them out gently and tenderly weaves his perfect plan before us. He carefully wipes away the dirt and mends the worn edges. He lovingly puts everything back in its place. Maybe not where it was before and maybe not where you expected it be but nevertheless in its rightful place. So bring him your mess. He says, “Come”.
The busier life gets, the more difficult it can be to “be still and know”. Even when I take the time to sit and rest in the presence of the Lord, I find my mind still spinning in several other directions and it seems nearly impossible to just rest. This morning I told the Lord I want to run away with Him, just us, no outside distractions, for a week. Then He reminded me how he uses all of this, these blessings that sometimes feel like burdens to teach me, to strengthen me and to reveal himself to me in new and glorious ways each day. Humph!, Ok then God, no chance you’re calling me out of my job and household duties today? Then help me open my eyes to seek your face and my ears to hear your voice above all the other noise that beckons for my attention. These blessings are beautiful but sometimes it feels like they’re piling up into one beautiful mess when I have little time to devote to each one. Remind me that only one thing is needed and help me choose the better portion. Choice. We do have a choice to make in every situation. The enemy would love to tell me I have no choice, I’m just too busy to concentrate on the Lord and I’ll never get my thoughts in order. Satan would love for me to buy the lie that I’m too weak, ill-equipped, or over-extended. He would love for me to believe I’ll never see any fruit from this business, my family or any other area of my life. If I buy in to that first whisper of doubt, that first lie that I says I have no choice, then I open myself to the downward spiral of lies that creep in like termites and quickly begin to rot away the truth. It is vital to know the truth and then choose to let it be your lifeline. The truth is God equipped me for this path before he even called me to it. He is faithful and constant and will never forsake me. God uses all of this for his glory! I choose Him. I choose truth.
Luke 10:42, Philippians 4:8, John 8:32, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 13:5
With a new year at hand I have been focused on goals; personal goals and business goals. I desperately want to be debt-free this year. God revealed to me this morning that I have been so focused on the end result that I have neglected to take the necessary steps to get there. In order to achieve any goal we must take action steps to achieve it and clear any road blocks in our path. He showed me an unresolved sin of jealously blocking my path. I have set myself up in comparison to others and feel inferior and unsuccessful when my accomplishments fail to meet theirs. He reminded me that my path, the path He set for me long ago, is completely unique. Comparing myself to others will only hinder the progress of my journey. How can I take forward strides on my path if my eyes are focused on someone else’s? “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” Clearing the stumbling block of sin from our path is the first step to achieving our goal. Not only did God remove this sin of comparing myself to others but I found myself lifting these people up in prayer. I want to see each of us succeed and be blessed by seeking God’s perfect plan. We are all His children and in this business we are all one team. We are all running the race set before us and are subject to the same pitfalls and spiritual attacks. God wants to bless each of us with that which he purposed for us long ago. Only the Holy spirit can reveal these things to us as we stay connected to Him. Today I allow God to clear my roadblock and begin to take the steps to achieve the goal set before me.
Most of my anxiety and frustration in this business, and in life in general, comes from comparing myself to others. On those days, which are frequent, when the couch is covered in laundry, my to-do list is growing instead of shrinking, and I have no other option but to feed my family Wal-Mart fried chicken it helps to look at myself the way Christ sees me. He never sees me as less-than but simply as his perfect creation. Right here, right now, in the middle of the mess, I still look wonderful to Him because I am filled with his wonder. Instead of choosing to play that tired recording in my head that tells me every other woman I know has it all together, I choose his voice instead. He tells me I am covered by his grace so whether I tackle the laundry or curl up in it and cry he loves me just the same. His love doesn’t grow with my success or fade with my failures, it is constant and unchanging. It covers my frustration and anxiety and fills me with life and peace.