Posted in Contentment, Everyday Life, Faith, Joy, Overwhelmed, Perfection, Purpose, Thankfulness

Imperfect, Lovely You

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Searching for my true identity is where I’ve been. Examining, one by one, all the labels I’ve claimed ownership to over the years. Taking myself back to the basics – to the very core of who I am- of who God created me to be.

In doing so, I’ve come to realize I have purpose, value, and meaning. Despite my many flaws, my endless insecurities, I matter.

Why?  Because I am His.  And because I am His, I am loved.  Not because of what I’ve accomplished, or the successes I may attain next week or a year from now. I am loved simply because I am a child of the one true God.

That truth has changed my reality. I’m learning it’s alright to rest. To sit and enjoy the gifts around me. To be still, knowing it’s not all up to me.

While I’m thankful to be a part of His great plan, I’m relieved to know my assignments aren’t meant to overwhelm, suffocate, or trap me.  They are meant to bring joy, satisfaction, and contentment to my life.  Will they be easy? No. But meaningful?  Yes.

And guess what else I’m learning?  Perfection is not required.

Believe me, I’ve never considered myself perfect, yet I’ve lived as though I should be. Surely you know what I mean … thinking I must have it all together to be a good wife, a good mother, a good anything.  Thinking I should be able to handle every little thing that comes my way (and, if I’m being honest, the big things too), all without falling apart.

Ladies, where do we come up with the notion that being the best wife, mother, volunteer, or whatever, means we must be someone besides ourselves? How sad it is that we’re constantly striving to become someone we’re not rather than embracing and enjoying the someone God created us to be.

When we long for the personalities, talents, and callings we see in others, we exhaust, frustrate, and discredit ourselves.

Friends, we must not forget, I was created to be me, and you were created to be you.

Specific personalities.

Various talents.

Unique strengths.

Personal callings.

All hand-picked and woven together into individual, precious women – you, me, and others who walk this life with us.  All of us loved by our Creator, not because of what we do, but because of who we are.

When we grasp that truth, we are better equipped to pursue life as God intended… as women who desire to please Jesus, make a difference in the lives of those around us, and share with others God’s unconditional love.

Carrying it out in our own distinct, creative way.

Perfect, no. But lovely, yes.

 

Posted in Joy

Getting Intentional with Joy

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Have you ever found yourself longing for something more? Something new and fresh? No longer satisfied with going through the motions. This is where I found myself this past Christmas. I desired simplicity, yet beauty and meaning -in my décor, in the gifts I chose, in the millions of little moments leading up to that special day. I found myself in search of joy.

Joy. You know, the blissful, cheery gladness everyone expects to come by easily this time of year. Except with a bit more substance, a tad more meaning. The kind of joy that holds up even when my circumstances don’t -that shows up even when all is not perfect.  That’s the joy I searched for this Christmas. Chances are you hungered for it too, maybe knowingly, maybe not, but the desire for joy was there just the same.

Perhaps like me, you misplaced your Christmas joy a few years back and you’ve had a hard time finding it. You laid it down for a brief moment, only to have a tough situation, a heartache, or overwhelming grief rush over, quickly hiding it from view. So, you’ve continued on without it. Day in and day out. Holiday after holiday. Wishing for its return, but having no idea how to bring it back.

Eventually, you began to see glimpses of it shimmering beneath the rubble. You allowed yourself to crave its presence. To hope again. To look for beauty in the midst of the busy. To search for joy once more.

If this is where you’ve been, I pray you found and embraced a little joy this Christmas. I pray you uncovered bits of it with each ornament hung and every gift exchanged. I pray peace made its way into your heart as you sat through that candlelight service. I pray the meals you shared with family and friends brought you warmth. Yes, I pray joy was part of your celebration this year.

But if it wasn’t, dear friend, don’t lose hope. Joy is attainable. Even in the middle of imperfection, disappointment, and frayed nerves. It may require some effort on your part. It may mean dropping to your knees, asking God to fill your lonely, empty spaces. It may involve you choosing to notice the hints of goodness around you -even though they may appear tiny and insignificant.

As you take notice of the blessings sprinkled about your hardships, may your perspective begin to shift.  May thankfulness help you discover your joy once again, experiencing more of it with each new day.

My Challenge To You ~ 

  • Set aside a few moments today to think, really think
  • Jot down five things you are thankful for today
  • Thank God for those five blessings
  • Repeat tomorrow
Posted in Faith, Joy

Joy Comes In the Morning

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Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.  Psalm 30:5b

We recently celebrated the birthday of our fifth child, Trevor. Prior to Trevor’s arrival, we had been living through a season of devastating financial hardship. We felt as if we had barely made it out of a deep dark valley, leaving us weary, bruised, and shaken.  And although we had gained much wisdom and strength through that difficult situation, we still found ourselves in need of hope, longing for joy.

And along came our Trevor, and with him a sliver of hope and much joy.

The hope of a future. A new purpose.  A ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds.  Evidence that we survived the storm, and that life would go on. A precious baby boy coming into this world, into our own tiny world. A pause in the pain. A halt in the weeping.  A gift from God.  A treasure.  Absolute Joy.

Yes, it is indeed joy that comes to mind most often when I speak of Trevor.  I am amazed at the joy he brings to others.  He has such a sweetness about him; such a love for those around him; such a tender heart.   There is no doubt he has touched many lives already.  I am certain God has a great assignment for him, and I pray he will someday carry it out.

And perhaps he is already doing so in his own little five-year old way — with every sweet smile, every unexpected hug, every sincere “I love you so much”. Every time he is eager to help mop the gym floor after ballgames, refill mom’s water bottle, or hold the door open for an elderly lady, all without being told to do so.  Or when he reminds us so confidently, “You know, God is always with you”.   Nothing eloquent, just an ordinary little boy unknowingly bringing joy to the hearts of many.

Yes, joy really does come with the morning.  Some of our troubled days seem so very long and unbearable.  Some of them drag on for months, sometimes years. But if we stick them out, all the while looking up for our glimmer of hope, the weeping will eventually cease and the joy will return.  Maybe through the presence of a child.  Maybe by some other means.  But hope can be found. Joy can be known.

And just as Trevor has brought joy to so many by living in his everyday, ordinary way, we too can become joy-givers by living with the intent to bless others.  I challenge you to find someone who needs joy in their life, and ask God to show you how to be the source of their joy today.

And if it’s you who needs some joy today, dear friend, I understand.  May I encourage you to not give up? Strive to look past this hard place with all of its pain, fear, and uncertainties.  Search for the hope God has placed before you. Keep your eyes open for it.

And, joy… Oh, my friend, joy is near. It’s just around the bend; it’s about to be revealed; hang in there, sweet friend, it’s almost morning. And with the morning, joy will be yours once again.

Posted in Everyday Life, Joy

My Favorite Things

Often times we are so caught up in our daily tasks that we fail  to notice the blessings all around us.  Today I’m choosing to slow down and ponder  what it is  that makes my life special.  Some are little things.  Some are much deeper such as my relationships.  Together, they  bring  happiness and blessing to the gloomiest of days.  What about you, my friend?   What  favorite things will you notice along your path today?

 

 

My Favorite Things …

 

A tasty cup of fancy coffee.

A good book, with a happy ending (and yes, my Bible fits right in)

A warm blanket on a cool day (as I sip my fancy coffee and read my good book).

A peaceful morning.

My older kids choosing to spend time with their younger siblings (absolutely priceless to this momma).

Handmade gifts.

An unexpected hug.

Good news.

Conversations with a trusted friend.

Long naps.

Beach vacations.

Family time.

Date nights.

Proud momma moments.

Flea markets and the bargains I find there.

A clean house (though I seldom have one).

Fresh flowers.

Holding hands with my hubby (yes, we still do!).

Family traditions and memories that make us a family.