Songs That Won’t Quit and Running Realizations…

I went for a mid-morning run yesterday. Headphones in, sun shining, Nike tracking…off, no time or distance goals to hit today…just me, some music and road ahead. I failed to mention the kids were with grandma. My house was quiet and I still went out. You may question my sanity later. I got approximately ¼ mile up the street (cause who am I kidding, I wasn’t tracking but still knew that routes distance) and song #2 hit me like a wall. I know that to some, Christy Nockels’ voice doesn’t exactly sound like running music but it was what I picked today. Song #2 stayed on repeat for my entire run and has been running through my head ever since. I got home and kept listening.

The song…

For Your Splendor

You can listen here And you should.

I just finished Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian. I can’t recommend this book enough. It has challenged the way I see myself through Christ’s finished work. That’s right…finished work. If you attend Revive Church, I keep saying every week before communion that I can’t get away from “It Is Finished”. I’ll never get away from that. I should never get away from that. What that means has never been more in my face. I’ve highlighted and bookmarked a lot of that book. I told Ray when he reads it, he’ll appreciate my notes. Ha!

So the combination of that book and where God has been stretching me…this season of life we are in…and that song…something hit me today.

First thing – my fears are invalid. Even the ones that make sense in my head…they are invalid.

Not only are secret fears invalid, they are pride. My fears cause me to want to depend on myself. That always works out so well. My fears point to something deeper (all the ladies going through 7 with me know…it’s always something deeper). The “am I gonna measure up” fear…it’s a lie. The “am I gonna be all God calls me to be” anxiety trip…a lie. I am realizing more than ever the seemingly normal secret stuff that weighs me down and points to the lie. The fact is, the more I seek His face, the more I realize the “am I gonna miss it” fear disappears.

I am learning what it is to constantly measure myself up against what Christ has already done for me. It makes it really easy to see just how much this isn’t about me. It’s about Him and His glory. In all my striving, worrying, annoying those around me, God is pointing me to the no-brainer answer – It is finished. This is not a weighing reality. It is freedom. While I am a new creation, I will be constantly growing till I see His face. The “completion” part of “He who has begun a good work”…we don’t see that in its fullness till we see His face. We are always a work in progress. Always learning, always growing, always pursuing…doing so because of love and out of love. This progress doesn’t mean I have anything to earn. It’s finished. It’s “all for His splendor”.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Isaiah 61:3

Turned 30! What what!!!

For those of you ahead of me in years, prepare to roll your eyes.

On Tuesday, May 22nd, I turned 30! Yup, the big 3-0.

I didn’t have a single moment of internal or external panic. There was no cooking up a single “this is weird”. The only weird thing was the stereo-type is to freak out and I didn’t. I suppose not a whole lot of my life is falls into the category of stereotypical. Life may be a bit crazy but I like it. There, I said it 🙂

I woke up feeling like it was the beginning of a new calendar year. Like there was suddenly something fresh…and this was with me waking up at 6:15 like always. I prayed before my feet hit the floor like most days but there was something different. All those posts about what is stirring in this heart of mine are more than blogs, they are prayers. Something about those prayers and all God continues to lay on my heart were at the forefront of my mind that morning. I smile knowing life is all about what He has done. I smile knowing with God all things are possible…and if He puts it in my heart, he will mess me up till He’s ready to do it. Call it awe that He uses us 🙂

How did I celebrate? Glad you are still reading as I ask myself questions and answer them. After all, you could’ve stopped at “roll your eyes”.

I took a nap after breakfast…and it was awesome! Stay with me…I had a great day. Ray and I rented bikes and hit the trails downtown, then went kayaking. Fact – I want a bike…and a boat. I’ll be quite content with a bike. A boat is just crazy talk. We got to enjoy some time together, enjoy the gorgeous outdoors and eat our weight in Chuy’s chips and salsa…and I was not ashamed.

I realized I’ve spent the last 10 birthday’s with Ray. I’ve known him since I was 19. We have been through a lot together…like all of my 20’s. He makes life that much more amazing. I’m grateful for who he is, how he follows where God leads…and for the fact that the best is indeed yet to come. I use to tell him he better drag me off into adventure. I laugh at that now. I am a blessed woman. I forgive him for hating having his picture taken…just like he forgives me for asking him to smile with me (see the photo below and be happy). We’ll never compromise on this.

The day was a good one. I look ahead with great expectation.

Enjoy a couple of pictures. This city has pretty views. I like it!

      

 

Wanna fight?! A day in the life…

If you don’t believe my next statement, I will fight you!

If you would rather avoid a fight, you could spend 10 minutes in my house and find I am right. You would also have the opportunity to laugh till you pee…

I have the most entertaining kid(s) in the world. This is more about one than the other though…don’t tell Sophia. I’d never hear the end of it…and she’s 4. I can’t pull out the Adobo seasoning without her telling me how her brother put that perfect seasoning in her eyes…2yrs ago! She holds on to some things.

Back to the star of the post…

We named him Cephas Alexander. When we decided on the name, we loved how strong it was (is). We had no idea what we had coming our way.

Some days, I’m that mom that stresses other people out as I attempt to reign in my kids. I’m working on it. On the days when you are that mom, I’m the one with the understanding eyes. Quite often mine are the ones singing at the TOP of their lungs or quoting movies…they use this gift of memorization as a weapon. Have you ever been on a road trip with a 4 and 6yr old who love to sing High School Musical?

According to my Mom, I gave birth to two children who are much like me. Sophia possesses a sass that I blame on her cousins. I’ll let them duke it out. Sometimes I don’t know where they get it. Some days, I know EXACTLY where it comes from.

I kept posting about yesterday and all it held.

It started with the dentist and Cephas’ first filling. I didn’t elaborate on some of the details but was concerned about the activity level of my son. After being told not to bite his numb cheek multiple times, he bit it and broke skin. Apparently that was a fun game. All in all, he did really well.

His reward was getting a book from the school book fair. He was excited and kind of all over the place. I didn’t raise my voice, I didn’t grab his hand but apparently my expression was enough to get a “calm down Mom” from the volunteer.

Nice.

We proceeded to swim team practice. For the first time, there was a PA system present. Some boys were running around then the music started. Next thing I know, 4 boys bust out dancing to Poker Face. It was pretty awesome. They gathered the kids for warm up. The music kept going and the kids stopped dancing…most of the kids stopped dancing.

This momma was laughing. Sometimes Cephas’ dancing reminds me of Seinfeld and Elaine’s memorable dance. It’s hilarious.

My favorite moment was one mom saying “check out that kid getting down out there”. I proudly proclaimed “that one is all mine and yes, he wakes up that way”.

This is the same kid who has as of recently, randomly and frequently informed me that “it’s not about us, it’s about the city”.

Sometimes, he’s profound. God gave him that personality on purpose. God gave him to us on purpose. God knew we would be pastor’s and that my kids would be…pastor’s kids. God does things on purpose. My children grow me daily. God does that on purpose too.

He keeps us running. He keeps us laughing.

Please…share your kid stories! There is always a Momma who needs to know she’s not alone 🙂

 

Do I Believe a Lie…

I wonder if I have ever fed a lie. Stay with me…

We believe that His grace is sufficient. We know that it covers, allows and because of His blood His grace conquers. Do we believe that it is enough for all the “before”. The before we knew Christ. Do we believe it is enough for our present? The “after and I should know better”. Both cause us to live in a degree of shame because I think that deep down…we believe a lie.

The conversations I’ve had in the last few weeks leave me freaking speechless. There is beauty in these stories that causes me to stand in complete awe of the love of God.

Recent conversations and a recent book have caused me to look deep…at myself and at the grace of God, the grace that has nothing to do with me. In case you were worried, I hope I cleared that one up.

How often do we believe a lie? Even more frightening is this…how often do we feed a lie? Do we set up rules and limitations?

Someone recently said to me something that went like this. “I want to give my life to God but there is something…”

It does catch me off guard when someone actually says “I have to get something right before I give my life to God”.

Since when is that the gospel?

Isn’t the good news that while we were yet sinners, messed up, scared, confused or flat out blind…that He came. He gave. He did it. It is finished. Those three simple words ruin me. We call on the name of the Lord. His love is what leads to change…not our change leading to His love. We seek Him and find Him. The rule isn’t “get your stuff in order, then call on me…then I can fix it when it’s less broken”. Without Him, it’s never less broken. With Him…even the most broken, lost, confused, so thick in sin they can’t see straight, the scared, the envious and the lonely…we find. We find wholeness, direction, restoration, love, purpose, identity, reason and family. We find love. We find that rescue came. We find that that rescue is the greatest and it is sufficient. We find the joy of their salvation. We find that in that love there is a divine trade of beauty for ashes, gladness for mourning.

My prayer for you is that you find.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

All I’m Not…All He Is

I had some thoughts going in my brain yesterday. I was in a bit of a funk from the moment my feet hit the floor. I hate that. It was Sunday. I love Sunday’s. There was no real reason for it but it took me a little bit to shake it.

I’m reading ‘Jesus+Nothing=Everything’ by Tullian Tchividjian (not a typo). I’m thoroughly enjoying how this book goes from leisure to a smack between the eyes. It’s a good one.

Last week, I read this quote in said book. “The greatest mistake made by people is hoping to discover in themselves that which is to be found in Christ alone” – A.W Pink.

I wondered about this today. I’ve been a believer for a long time. I know that I am who I am only by the grace of God. Yet, this morning, in not feeling “good enough” I wondered if it was cause of things I hadn’t done enough of. Was there something I was hoping to discover in myself that was meant to be found in Christ alone? Amazing what feeling blah can do to you. If I had to look closely at my heart, I can’t call this a wasted blah moment.

Then truth sank in. Reminders of who God is and who He says I am flooded.

He draws all men unto Himself. His Church is plan A and there is no plan B. There is nothing I can do to add to or to take away from His love and His gift of salvation. His promises are yes and amen. His ways are higher and unsearchable. He leads us through fire, He calls us onto water. He speaks to storms. He speaks in whispers. He speaks through the least and to be great, He says to serve. He is God. He is love. He calls us to be faithful. He is faithful regardless of our strength. In fact, when we are weak, He is strong. He doesn’t tell us what all is in store yet tells us to count the cost and follow. He tells us it won’t be easy. He tells us He knows. He made a way, paid the ultimate price and won. He doesn’t let us go.

I needed an identity reminder. That reminder was truth –  it was not about my successes or my shortcomings…or how I felt in the moment.

I read this…

“But God was assuring me that my identity, worth, and value had nothing to do with my strength or ability to win. It had nothing to do with me at all. It had everything to do with the finished work of Jesus for me”.

I pray that your Monday finds you well and that today, you walk in the reality that you are all that He says you are. I needed the reminder.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without waivering, for He who promised is faithful” – Hebrews 10:23

Earaches and Taps on the Shoulder

Getting my kids ready for bed, my son tells me he has an ear ache. I start looking for homeopathic ear drops and Tylenol. I realize how strange that sentence may sound. I suppose that kind of sums me up. I am able to find…neither. I excel in organization. I eventually find some Tylenol but let’s face it, he’s 6 and medicine that doesn’t work immediately doesn’t matter. I need a placebo! I consider my “what mom would say” options and threw a small towel in the microwave because surely a little warmth is a good idea.

He freaked. Somewhere in his head, he was convinced that towel was too hot (for the record, it was not even close). I’m Mom. I love. I care. I protect. I provide. I listen. I instruct and I bake cookies. Hear me roar!

I got offended. Yes, by my 6yr old with an ear ache. He didn’t trust me with his pain. He didn’t trust I was trying to help. He didn’t trust that I had a clue.

I was offended for a whole 5.2 seconds.

Ever feel like God is loudly tapping you on the shoulder?

I do this. I may not freak out the same way (at least not outwardly) but the reason behind it is kind of the same.

Sometimes it catches me off guard. My fears speak much louder after the fact. It points to something deep and hidden that fears God won’t come through. A fear that maybe He doesn’t see. A fear that maybe there isn’t a purpose in what I’m going through. There is a fear that maybe something in front of me is too big for the One who created everything.

He is God. I’m not. He is not separated from my pain or my fears. He knows them. He searches and He sees. I pray that He does so and reminds me of it. I cannot hide. I am grateful for the moments where God lovingly reveals “the thoughts and intents of my heart”. I may not like what I see but He loves me enough to show me. He’s also sufficient in grace and mercy. He doesn’t have to be all loving about it. He’s God. He does anyway. He got my attention. This time, he did so through my 6yr old…who was running around when he was supposed to be in bed a whole ten minutes after the “mommy my ear hurts” incident.

Cephas was fine and I was alone with my thoughts on this whole thing.

We trust Him in our joys and moments of triumph. We must also trust Him with (as in, we don’t hold on to them) our fears and our pain. He carries. He sees. He doesn’t let go. He reigns.

Yup…all of this stemmed out of my six year old with an earache.

My children grow me daily

Happy May Day!

I was tempted to entitle this post “This Week Thus Far”. Then I realized it was only Tuesday.

Good news is it’s May! Sure, I could freak out about how the previous 5 months of this year have made quite the impressive disappearing act. I could freak out about a lot of things.  I choose not to. Where is the fun in that?

I choose to relish in the wonder that is the perfect month of May. I may sound a tad whimsical, but I love this month. The mornings are still a tad cool, afternoons are good and warm, the pool is past the point of turning my children purple (not that they care), my anniversary, mother’s day and my birthday…all in May. This year, we get to sandwich in some exciting church serving opportunities, a cousin college graduation, a family wedding…and last but certainly not least, the arrival of the Martin’s twins is on the horizon. Praying with Catherine that she reaches the 37 weeks she has been hoping for. While we may be a bit tired at the end of this month, I don’t see how this can go bad. It’s May! Rejoice in it with me will you?

We ended out April with Ray getting to officially ordain the other pastors of Revive Church. I knew we were praying for them and their spouses. I was not prepared for the stories that Ray quickly shared. I love these people! There is nothing like a little reflection to remind me of how huge and how faithful God is. I’m excited for the future. I am in awe of the team that God has assembled. I love my church and every single incredible story that is represented. I’m excited to serve alongside them.

I love the way April ended. I love that it is May.

Something about the month of May that feels hopeful. I have a lot of reasons to feel hopeful.

So, how are you? Are you crazy about May like me or are you holding your breath till October?