I was on the phone with a friend today and we were talking about Christmas. advent. and I said, ya know, I’m starting to feel stressed that I’m not stressed. that’s sure weird. this morning, my husband delightfully took the kids to school after I clothed and fed them and I got back in bed. I SLEPT for an hour! y’all, for real? I took a hot bath with my cup of coffee and she reads truth devo on my phone. I lingered around my kitchen, writing notes, and listening to worship music. I took a friend lunch, stopped by the store, and was done in time to pick up the kids early from school.
As I was talking to my dear Melissa, I realized something. I think in this crazy transition and “in between” season things have been a lot simpler this Christmas. [with trying to sell the house and all + not knowing when we are moving]. I didn’t put any ornaments on our tree, Christmas card pics were re-scheduled and I don’t even have a date yet [or cute outfits] much less an actual card to send out [starting a new trend/easter!], very low fuss decor around the house – just my all time fave pieces, I did most of my Christmas shopping online the weekend after thanksgiving with small businesses or fair trade companies, but sadly didn’t do my big “I can’t say the words because I almost got sued” post for all your shopping needs.
I think it’s so easy when I look at what everyone else is doing, to get stressed. We don’t have the big fancy company Christmas party to go to, so there’s no shopping for a sparkly new outfit…we still haven’t taken the kids to take the obligatory picture with Santa….we don’t have a million Christmas parties to attend….but this year…this year I’m trying to not look at what everyone else is doing, but instead look ahead.
this past Sunday at church, I realized that one of the sins I so easily get tangled into is comparison. I do it all the time – I compare my kids clothes to friends kids, or I’m not as good of a cook as her, or man she takes real pictures of her kids and I just use my iPhone, her gift wrapping so so creative..the list goes on and on. well I want to stop looking OUTWARD and start looking ahead. and also doing what is LIFE GIVING to me. and realizing those things those friends are good at? those things give THEM life, not me. so why do we compare when God made each of us so different?
this season? it’s called the advent for a reason. advent in the dictionary literally means “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event”. advent means shifting your focus on the true reason of Christmas – celebrating the birth of Christ! I’m doing this amazing advent devotional called Sacred Christmas and Becky says this,
“This isn’t something you get right.
This isn’t something you have to do. This is something you get to do. This is something
that helps you to focus more on Jesus when everything around you is chaotic”
This hunger I have for God? It started with this advent season. this centering on Christ. being still. getting in the word. waiting on him! being OK not being stressed because that’s what “I’m supposed to do”. We don’t get it all right. I miss a day here and there. I want desperately for my kids to get it, and we are reading Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the greatest gift. , and we are loving it but I mean, they are 2! Is it sometimes mom rallying the troops..yes. I want to do things with them that show them this season isn’t about us, or the parties, decoration, presents….that doesn’t look perfect though. again, they are 2 [in denial they are almost 3]. yesterday mid trying to deliver little christmas cheer to our neighbors they stopped to play in the leaves at our neighbors house! we aren’t going to do it all. but we focus on Christ. we look to him. we look ahead.
I just had to get that out. mostly to preach to myself, to remind myself when I think we should be doing more, or aren’t doing it “good enough”, to take a reality check for my motives. am I trying to please God or fit into our culture and the world? so I’m going to try to STOP looking to the left and right and look straight AHEAD at Jesus.
I’d love some advice from you mamas who’s little ones are a little bigger than mine….do they eventually get it? does it become less “mom says we need to do this” and more the heart of the entire family at some point?
I was huddled in my bed last sunday all day. I got up to take baths and that was about it. feeling alone, in pain both emotionally and physically, broken, hurting, misunderstood. Why do I always have to be that friend? the one that’s brokenhearted, sending out frantic text prayer requests, and spilling my guts on instagram. why do I crave people, and relationships, and comfort? that might be a silly question, of coarse we all crave that.
no one wants to be alone, especially in their grief.
Though the tears came all day, I knew joy would come in the morning. if not joy then new mercies, coffee, and grace. It was one of those days that I couldn’t wait until the sun went down on. I wanted God, but I didn’t want to go to the effort. not that day. My hands came across one of four books I’m currently reading and it just felt right.
Every bitter thing is sweet is a book I didn’t want to end. All day I read Sara’s story and thought myself “she’s taking the words out of my mouth”, she has this ability to put into words thoughts that linger in my head but have no way of becoming words. My story, in so many ways, parallels hers. She has this way of drawing me closer to God.
there’s something that’s been rising up in me all week, and I finally have a word for it: HUNGER. It’s this hunger for Him that’s becoming my testimony. I am desperate, for Him and for His presence. I need him. I am hungry and thirsty for his grace and his presence.
across the table this week with my friend Megan, we were talking about this hunger. and she said words that rang so true, “it’s the currency of heaven”. I mentally wrote that down, and it’s been ringing in my ears all week. This hunger we have for God IS the currency of heaven. it’s what keeps us connected to him, tethered to him. There have been seasons of this kind of hunger in my life: infertility, the adoption wait, the weeks after leaving Ethiopia waiting for my kids to come home… but as Sara says in her book, “I don’t want to be a hungry soul just for a season. I want to LIVE HUNGER“.
YES. I want to live hunger too. I don’t want to be hungry in this crazy season of waiting for Gods promises, I want to be hungry for life. I don’t want to want him just when my circumstances aren’t going my way, but I want to live hunger. In one way, I want my circumstances to change so this waiting will end, but in other ways I am extremely grateful for the wait because it’s drawn me closer to him! in a way I never would have had another way!
“I can discover that our greatest testimony isn’t found in those moments of victory over weakness or even in the moments of hope fulfilled. It is found in waiting, wanting, adoring. It’s found in HUNGER”! – Sara Hagerty
this is my testimony. it’s now. it’s before my body is healed and carrying life. it was before we brought camp + asher home. it’s in the days that I’m on my knees, in desperation for him alone. I am thankful for these seasons of waiting, of longing, of hurt and pain that drawn me closer to the one who made me, the one who sees me, and the one who wants ALL OF ME.
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 12:17
I’ll be over at The Carry Camp tomorrow sharing more about this.
You reminded me, Lord.
amidst a sanctuary full of women in my dusty west Texas town, you told me.
you reminded me and now, Lord, now I know, that you really do see me. You love me, and you know me.
You spoke to me, through an obedient friend + sister tonight, and you reminded me that you are doing work in me during my waiting.
waiting seems to be something I should be really good at from the past 5 years of infertility + adoption, but it’s been easy recently to just sorta push it to the side. I haven’t been waiting well. instead, I’ve just reminded myself [and others] pretty consistently that “we are taking a break” from fertility stuff. meaning, I don’t want to think about it, talk about it, pay for it, or pray about it.
it’s amazing how the stages of grief come in waves, and once again, I felt this surge of anger and deep deep sadness that God still hasn’t answered my prayer to heal me of my sickness, and give me a biological baby. Why, Lord? Why me? Why haven’t you answered me? Why have you forgotten about me?
there have been years of people praying over me, God speaking to me through others and His Word, prophesy, and encouragement that one day God will heal and restore and put life inside of me. I feel like He has asked me to believe that He is ABLE to do those things. and in the process he’s also asked me to trust and believe in him EVEN IF HE DOESN’T heal or give life. There have been so many journeys he’s taken me down the past 5 years, I’ve learned about His character and love for me in ways I might not have without this struggle. I’ve also felt alone, and hurt, and sad, and forgotten. and tonight – I want to encourage myself and all of you who have also felt that way – that no matter how we feel, God has NOT forgotten us!!!
did you hear that? God has NOT forgotten you.
He has a perfect plan and purpose for your life! He knit you together in your mothers womb and He loves you. he delights over you, the bible says.
I know, in the middle of the storm, it’s so hard to remember that. I literally have notes saved in my phone when friends have spoken those words to me from the Lord.
January 19, 2014 “tonight Brandi and Krista prayed over me, they reminded me to not give up, to ask for healing, they reminded me of the power of prayer. the next morning Brandi told me God has set me apart and he has NOT overlooked me”
August 17th will be another one – the night Jami spoke from the stage during worship a word that landed on my heart – I can believe again, He sees me and loves me. Keep the faith.
I want to be the one to tell YOU today, sweet sister, that God has NOT forgotten you. I want you to believe with fresh eyes and fresh faith today that He loves you, He’s called you his, and He has a wonderful plan. hold on. it’s so hard to believe a lot of days that He hasn’t forgotten you, but believe it today.
here’s to believing again!
The Harpers from Stonegate Fellowship on Vimeo.
these are our sweet friends, the Harpers. They have been in Kona, Hawaii since September going through YWAM’s discipleship training school. Wendy, Sid, Sydnie, Baylie, Tate, Jonathan, Emme, Kenlie, Charlie + Levi…yes, you read that right all 10 of them [sweet Lacey is in South Africa living her story]. They leave in less than 3 weeks for their outreach in Uganda and then wherever God leads them! Watching their faith and the way they’ve just “taken the next step” has so inspired me. It’s encouraged us in our journey to simply trust God, and take the next step. anyway, I just wanted to introduce them to you if you don’t know them yet. they are a family worth getting to know.
so I ask you today…will you be a part of their story??
will you pray for them?
for no sickness/for transition to a new country/logistics of getting everything from Hawaii to Uganda/for funds to get a vehicle in Uganda/open hearts for those they will minister to/Holy Spirit to lead all they do
follow their story? blog//facebook//instagram
consider partnering with them monthly?
**they currently have half their monthly support raised – but need the other half which is $2500/mo. consider partnering with them- $10/mo, $20/mo, whatever you can do!…it goes a long way and they would be SO THANKFUL! give here! **
I love my sweet friends, who are more like family, and can’t wait to watch their story continue to unfold!!!
let’s do something with all this THANKFULNESS we have in our hearts.…let’s give, support, and pray for the Harpers!
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