Cultivating a thirst for reading the bible

IMG_2802

This has really been on my heart a lot lately.

January was not a good month for me. To be honest, it was a “fall flat on my face” kind of month. A month of a ton of humiliation, mistakes, and self-realizations. A cold month filled with snow storms, sickness, and even a car accident.

I just felt moody and down all month. I felt exhausted emotionally, and had a hard time getting motivated to do anything. I am a major extrovert, and even making plans to see people felt difficult.

I had been hardly opening my bible. Distracted by the holidays, family members, and so much going on I simply trudged along in my relationship with God. Until I broke down one night in tears, utterly exhausted, realizing that I am struggling in life with so many things. Over the holidays, God revealed several struggles I have been dealing with for years. But not working them out with fear and trembling. I ignored them until they got bigger, picked at them a little until they were somewhat contained, then ignored them a bit more. I thought they were contained and that I was growing in my faith. It turns out God had different plans for me to grow in my faith.

To deal with my issues (aka, sin).

And the only way he could get through to stubborn ole’ me was to show them to me all at once.

I couldn’t deny that I had made a few mistakes that completely humbled me, nor could I deny the fact that I knew God had directly intervened in my heart to expose areas in which I desperately wanted to be healed. I felt the weight of my sin being exposed to light, and immediately knew the only one who can help me is God. Thankfully, I ran to him, many times, in tears. As I so often do. Not out of piousness, but because I rushed to his throne of grace out of a state of complete desperation. Because I hurt so bad, and knew I am really broken, and WHY, why, do I do the same things over and over I don’t want to do?

Have you ever had a period in your life where you drank only soda, tea, and coffee? Maybe water sounded dreadfully boring and distasteful. Maybe some of you are still there. I remember a time when I don’t think I drank water unless it was in iced tea. Sweetened ice tea, of course. It took me months to start to enjoy the taste of water, and I had to force myself to drink it. At first, I even measured how much I drank in a day. After a while, I craved water when I was thirsty, and I realized how much I had been dehydrating my body of such a basic need.

My soul is dehydrated.

I hate to reduce reading the bible down to forcing myself to open the Word of God, because, it is the greatest joy of my life to hear the good news. Yet, the truth is I am a broken, distracted, mess of a girl who often gives into the business of life or gets caught up in lesser things to take time to feed my soul. Am I the only one?

I incorporated a new nightly routine in my daughter’s bedtime. She gets to watch a ten minute show, so I can read ten minutes of my bible. It is so simple, so easy- why didn’t I do this sooner? Already the benefits are producing fruit in my life. More joy and contentment. I often focus so much on her I don’t practice self care, and self care for me is reading the Word.

I have also started listening to sermons on podcasts while I run rather than hearing music. It has been so motivating and rewarding.

The more and more I incorporate the Word into my life- through music, sermons, books, praying, fellowship, and reading-the more I thirst for God. So, my focus this dry month has been to cultivate a thirst for the bible. I know my dry soul needs it more than anything else I can be focusing my time on, but I also know I am a busy mom. So I have been getting creative. CD’s in my car that sing praise to God, books in my purse to build me up and read instead of scrolling social media, prayer texts to friends… habits that are soul nourishing.

The only thing I know is I am so grateful God brought me to a place of depending on him again, anew, and that his throne of grace is overwhelmingly beautiful and satisfying. It hurts to recognize my deep struggles and sin, but I am so thankful God forgives me when I run to him, and not just that, throws his arms around me with such great love (even though I feel so undeserving). This is sanctification. God sees me all dirty, covered in stains I will never be able to clean on my own, and does his redeeming work of making my sins white as snow. May I always run to him to cleanse me, as his beloved daughter, knowing he is delighted in my repentance and trust.

Have you found yourself here? Share with me your stories.

The art of letting go as a Momma

DSC04590

Letting go is both a beautiful and a bittersweet process . I still haven’t quite got the hang of it, and my gut tells me I never will.

Today my daughter and I noticed she had outgrown her size 6T shoes. We went through all her shoes and tried them on, and to her delight, and my demise, her foot had grown a full size in what seems to me like a week.

She was quite tickled because she now fits into a pair of bedazzled Skechers she has been dying to wear since the moment I bought them at Goodwill for $3.99. I, on the other hand, sat with my legs folded on her bedroom floor looking at her adorable soft pink Velcro-strapped Converse I felt like she wore a handful of times.

One of the internal struggles I have as a Momma is worry. My husband, on the other hand, does not operate as much out of this poor parenting perspective. He wants to see Lil capable. While I wince as she runs all wild-like on cement, he is hooting at her to “Keep at it, baby!” When she falls, he is there immediately to tell her how proud he was of her to take a chance. My heart aches and a part of me just wants to protect her from pain.

Even though I know it isn’t good for her.

DSC04643

I call it the “art” of letting go, because I believe there is no formula for the sorrow and joy that comes with watching our little ones grow up into such a big, often scary, world. There is nothing that truly numbs the process… one day the children we love will be adults. I never want to look back and see myself actively hold my daughter back, cling to her for my own selfish needs, or avoid the daunting task of parenting altogether by not being there for her in the important moments of life.

Being a Momma is a blessing. I learn so many things through Lillian. My heart is stretched and pulled in ways I never imagined. I get angry, often, and need to ask God for patience. Or exhaustion sets in, and I just want a break. My mind wanders to a giant bed in a quiet hotel room and a full eight hours of sleep in which NO ONE will kick me in the head or ask for a glass of water. I understand why so many moms give up or struggle. It is not easy, even with all the resources I have. But the blessing of my daughter outweighs any burden. Her laughter as she drops her head back in excitement as we tickle her. Holding her tight as she gets a shot at the doctor office, and wiping her tears from her eyes. It is painfully wonderful.

 Psalms 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Being a Momma takes responsibility. It is my great task to raise my daughter to go into the world, live a healthy and hopefully long life, and make good choices. Not an easy task! I know I cannot guarantee how she turns out, but I should strive to do my best to guide her into life and not hold her back. Operating out of fear to protect her from disappointments or failures will hurt her more than help her.

Ultimately, my deepest desire is that Lil would believe in Jesus. He redeemed my heart and found a really lost and pitiful sheep. I wish I could have walked more of my days knowing God, but I also know that this was his perfect plan and journey for me. As I turn more to God for my comfort and joy, through his Word, I see that his grace is not given in the “things of this world”, but in knowing him and doing his will.

Matthew 18:12-14 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?  And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

I find comfort in letting go of Lil to this world because I truly believe God loves her more than me, and is even more interested in her soul than I am, although that feels completely unnatural. I find great comfort and joy in the hope that God would reach into her life and cause her heart to see beyond the temporal things of this world and to bigger things and needs, first, her own need for Jesus.

Psalms 139:13-16 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.

IMG_4536

She’s been weaned, and has taken her first steps. She has mastered using a fork and a spoon. She sleeps in her own bed. She can talk. Soon she will be riding a bike, writing, reading, and will have no problem leaving Mom and Dad. She will have her first sleepover, perhaps make her first team sport or get cut from the team, and get her first crush. She will drive, someday, get her first job, have her first date, and even maybe take her first steps as a new wife. I am sure I will spend many nights waiting up for her, wondering if she is ok, praying she gets home safe. I hope to be there for each moment, even if through tears, encouraging her to go even if all I want to do is hold on a little more. I hope she sees a Mom that is smiling, proud, and hopeful for her. I hope she feels loving strength from me and knows that I will always be there if she needs me, but I also hope she learns to trust and depend on God more than me. She needs me to  gently guide her into the life God has willed for her. I trust his will is perfect, and the journey he has for her is exactly what she needs. Woe to me if I try and get in the way of that.

I just love her so much and have such a hard time letting go sometimes. Am I the only one? How do you other Mom’s stay encouraged?

Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop #102 is now live! Come link up!

Welcome to the Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop!
A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.
Dear Friends,
What a day to celebrate! This is the 102nd week of the Let’s Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week!
 
Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I’ve never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!
 
The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That’s right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week’s hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.
 
The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!
There are a couple of great giveaways going on right now at Southern Beauty Guide and The Dwelling Tree. Go check them out! 🙂
 
Let’s Be Friend’s Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs, comment, and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!
***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop.
Meet your hosts:
The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin’
Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin’
Meet this week’s co-hosts:
PicMonkey Collage
***This weeks featured post from last week’s hop:
running playlist-bright
Thank you all once again for continually linking up at our blog hop. It is such a fun time and I am so impressed each week with all the amazing posts. Please continue to link up an actual post instead of your blog. We want to keep reading your content and it makes it more fun to pick a winner!
Is there anything we can do differently or better? Please share in the comments!
… onto the winner!
Hello everyone! This is Tiffany this week. The post I picked this week hits close to home for me. A couple of years ago I ran my first half marathon. I trained for six months, and prior to training had never ran more than a couple of miles in my life. It was a difficult experience, but it changed my life forever to run a bit over 13 miles.
Faith just ran a half marathon and posted beautiful pictures to share with us her experience. The pics of her family rooting for her made my heart melt! It is so awesome for me to see other momma’s doing adventurous things like this, and always something I want to applaud! It is not easy to run a half marathon! Her post is inspiring and beautiful, and highlights what she holds dear in her life.
She also shares a fantastic running playlist with us. Please go check her out and follow her blog. She is awesome!
Thank all of you for your amazing posts each week. I love reading all that you share!
Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for us to read all your posts! If you can, please link up a specific post. It makes it easier for us to come and visit!