Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The trouble.

It's no secret to those that know us well that we are fresh in the middle of wild heartache.

Just 2 weeks ago tomorrow we received a call that my husband's younger brother, Trevor was tragically killed in an accident. We spent a week and a half with our family and friends a few states away. And now the return to life as we knew it before is proving to be harder than we had imagined. As I toss the details around in my brain I am overwhelmed with sadness. These are the moments when our faith is made tangible. These are the moments when our hope is real. Just days before we were saying "Trevor is" and in the last weeks we shifted those same conversations and endearing remarks to "Trevor was."

There aren't really words to describe how that hurts, the reality shift. There aren't really words for all of the emotions that you go through when you are grieving the sudden empty spot. It is an emptiness that we grieve. We do not grieve Trevor's new found freedom. We don't mourn his new skin or new song. We rejoice in that part. That is our hope and the most redemptive thing in all of this. Jesus redeems. But every single one of us that loved him would be lying if we even attempted to pretend that we were not broken to the core over missing him.

I am writing this simply to record an account of where my heart is today. I know that tomorrow will be different. What my weary heart wants to do is curl up and weep. I want to give in to the ache and just be left alone. I told a friend that today. I told her that I didn't feel like creating, that I didn't feel like sewing or painting or writing. I didn't feel like doing anything. And her response was two fold.

First she said this.
"I think your sadness encourages you to keep away from one form of worship that sets you free. Kill that."
Whoa. The words sort of crushed my heart and lifted my spirit at the same time- painful truth.

And then she sent me Psalm 42.
Psalm 42:5-8 MSG
"Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer."

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of You. These words snapped me back into reality. The trouble with grief is the way it blinds, the way it sneaks up and pulls the wool over our eyes. Without warning my line of sight got a little foggy (or a lot.) Not only was I squinting to appreciate today, but I started having to search for the goodness of God in yesterday too. How does that even happen?? Because I stopped rehearsing the things I know about my DAD.
We have an enemy that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He seeks to steal my joy, kill my creativity, and destroy my testimony. He wants me to stay swallowed up in sadness and nudges me away from the very things that bring freedom- my worship. Worship is more than songs. It is every part of me that glorifies Jesus. I will be found worshipping with all of me, and not reserving any of it. In doing that, God is so faithful to give me a new song.

The trouble with grief is that when left unchecked it sucks the life right out of us. I want to live, and I want to live loudly. So, i am dusting off the ol' sewing machine today and diving back into writing. There is healing in it.
Happy Tuesday, friends.

Monday, September 30, 2013

In case you missed it...

I am contributing over at Joyful Home and Life on Mondays now!!

You can view today's post here. Hop on over and show them some love :)

That moment when I ask God to scoot over so I can squeeze in next to Him....

I hesitated sharing this, for no other reason except that I was scared. Having spent so many years running from being super spiritual and unapproachable, I am coming to terms with the very special ways God speaks to my heart. Sometimes I feel the nudge to share and when I don't, I steal from God the opportunity to speak and be heard in my life, my relevant stories. So here it goes.
The following exchange happened one morning a couple of weeks ago, while I was making oatmeal for my boys. Fresh out of time in the Word it looked a lot more like Father singing over me and me singing back to Him but for this, I will just tell it as a story. I think the weight of what He shared with me will echo in your hearts too. At least I hope so.
I hear a whisper. Its my name and it blows through the trees. I start to run, because I know who it is that calls me. I run in and out of trees around corners until I catch a glimpse of Him. Just after the trees open up, into a field sitting on a horizon, I see Him sitting there, on the edge of something. I am immediately nervous and quiet and my heart starts pounding as I walk slower and slower toward the silhouette. He is casually parked in the grass, with broad shoulders His arms drape over His knees in front of His chest. I sit next to Him, dwarfed by His shadow. I don't feel insignificant, just small. He smiles but his eyes are steady as He looks straight out into a vast horizon in front of us. Without looking away He says "I want you to close your eyes. And dream." I am quick to do it, because dreaming is my favorite, and I imagine that sitting here, in closeness with Him that I will see things I have never seen. I giggle like a kid on Christmas and squeeze my eyes shut. My joy quickly turns to grief. I am distraught.  When I close my eyes, my mind races past all of the good things, straight to a far corner of my heart and a closed door. I know what's in there. It is full of lies and insecurity and all of the reasons I am not cut out for greatness. The door swings open with no warning and the words hit me in the face as they are loosed. I can't describe the feeling except that I can only imagine that getting caught in a swarm of bats making a hasty escape would feel exactly this awful. My eyes are still closed and I feel a tear break through and roll down my cheek. I cannot see the dreams for all of the terrible words. 
It is in this moment that I feel the weight of His hand on my back and a whisper.
"No. Think of Me."
It is impossible to think about God without thinking about the way He thinks of me. I walk through the door and find a room muraled in dreams. Beautiful. Colorful. Truthful. There are no lies here.
Hope is believing. It is knowing where our help comes from. Hope for me is a position of the heart. But hope for my Dad is simpler. I wish and dream and believe. He does. When God hopes over me, He speaks it into being. When He does, all of the lies take flight.
[Jeremiah 29:11] For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ♥

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Always on the defense

Have you ever been blindly sucked in by your kids? I'm talking about those moments when all sweetness and selfless getting along with siblings takes over. I zone out for a second, like a sheep to the slaughter house, or worse- like deepwater prey drawn into the gorgeousness of a tiny light in a dark place and then BOOM. Gnarly teeth and "Good feeling gone."

It is in these moments that I despise parenting the most. It's true. Sure, the constant arguing and lack of personal space get uncomfortable, but nothing stings as much as a seemingly magical moment gone awry. I think every parent EVER understands this. Each of us has a rolodex of memories that leave a little to be desired- the special dinner turned toddler freak out, the quality time vacation turned family bonding cotastrophe, quick errands turned three-hour whine fest. It is one of the threads that binds us together.

These moments, all lined up without any of the awesomeness in between can seem like a recipe for crazy, and maybe they are. But these moments also make us. More importantly these moments make our kids. More accurately, our reactions to these moments make our kids. Have you ever stopped to wonder why we find such tiny mishaps so troubling? I know exactly why they get under my skin. It always always always has to do with me. When my idea of how things were supposed to go down gets all messed up, I get all bent out of shape. It goes against what I deeply believe about my life, that it's all about me. Ugh. There, I said it. This is one of those times where Paul's confusing dialogue about doing things that he doesn't want to do and not doing what he does want to do comes into play in my own life. Every single time my kids bust up my dream world with their nonsense I am reminded that the very thing that I am trying to steer them from is what is alive and thriving in my own heart. "Stop fighting. Share. Don't be selfish. Speak kindly. Be pleasant with one another."

My boys will always follow my example before they hear my advice. Until I begin to examine my own motivation, take captive my own thoughts, release my mind to God's transformation, and mirror my heart to the heart of my Jesus, I will continue walking away from these encounters with an ache in my spirit.

Inventory your reactions and learn something about yourself today.

These little people are the leaders of the tomorrow. The way we lead them is shaping the way they will lead others. Youch.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Keep the change... no wait.

Have you ever made a change, a huge God-said-it-beyond-a-shadow-of doubt change and then freaked out? Yeah... that.

Homeschooling. It is the most misunderstood thing on the planet, by those that scoff and love alike. I have a handful of friends that still believe that homeschoolers are nerdy and unsocialized and wear strange clothes. I have another set of friends that think "your husband must makes loads of money if you can afford to stay home and do that." Then there's the friends that smile and nod on the outside but on the inside they think I am overprotective and only homeschool because I am worried about peer pressure or sex education. And then there's a whole group of folks that think they totally get "why" I homeschool. Truth is, probably none of them do.

If I am completely honest, I have to admit that I am simply doing what I was told. Obedience. It goes a long way these days. My heart does break for the moral decline of our society and in turn our schools. I do hate watching our kids slip through the cracks barely making it through their school years, jaded and not thriving. But my position is not mine to defend. I heard the Lord loud and clear on this issue. I have to be the one to pour my heart and soul into my kids 24/7. I have to do it because He asked me to. There are lessons to be learned here for me and for them. I am learning to trust God's heart, His character, even when I can't make sense of it in my own mind. That's my heart on the good days.

What about the hard days? What about the days when I think I will go crazy if I have to do one more retrace of my steps just to remember where I put down the last locate-able eraser in the house? What about the days when I want to walk down two blocks to the elementary school and tearfully beg them to accept my children back? What about the days when one of the kids finds me in the kitchen scooping Nutella from the jar with my finger because all available spoons are in the sink and washing one would just be too much? What about the days when I just want to quit?

I don't resent the hard days. I can't. I do not like them, but they are vital. Why?? Because it is on these days that I press in hard to Jesus and lean on Him completely. It is on these days that I know for certain that I am blazing a trail that is God-inspired and not Bekah-inspired. If it were my own convictions, my own plan, that put me here it would be easy to quit. But the faithful nudging of my Dad keeps me focused.

Nothing amazing comes easy. Nothing. So, yes, maybe once a week I fill the shoes of awesome homeschool mom that has it all together, if I'm lucky. The rest of the time I am just a tool. And I am ok with that. I need to be used. In fact, I was made for it. And so were you.

Hope this finds you embracing usefulness and everyday graces. Happy Wednesday.

Color me happy.

I have been overhearing conversations lately about the way I dress. I am not joking. I have literally walked up on or turned around and found folks talking about my color choices atleast 4 times in the last two weeks. That would be enough to make some women retreat to hiding. It has been in response to yellow shorts and coral stripes and teal pop Toms and coral skinnies, turquoise tank tops, plaid button ups, and big rose stud earings... a few of my favorite things. This isn't a post about insecurity or gossip or comparison. This is not a post about what-not-to-wear. In actuality not a single person has said anything ugly. It has been more "How are you wearing that and pulling it off??  It doesn't match at all." Either way I am actually compelled to share the madness behind the shift in my own heart. I pray it is liberating for someone.

If you have been around for some time and know the me of even 5 years ago, then the process may have been so gradual that you didn't notice. But if I were to show you a comparison in photos, I think people would be surprised.
I used to be neutral obsessed. My closet looked like a brown paint sample strip. I even sorted my clothes by color and they basically ranged from white/khaki to dark espresso/ black. All of the walls in our house were coffee shades. And our furniture was khaki and dark espresso. Brown made me comfortable. I lived by the rule "stick with neutrals and accent with color." It is a great rule, but I often limited my color accents to barely shades of green and blue.

[Insert disclaimer: if you love neutrals, this isnt an attack against you, just an observation of myself.]

I was playing it safe. There is a crazy comfort in what you've always known, what comes natural. But then there's those things that call to us from deep inside- wishes, hopes, dreams, fresh perspective. Those things are color for me. Freedom is color. Jesus is color. God's presence is color. For me, as I started really chasing God, loving Him in the quiet and stillness and also the hurried craziness of life, I started seeing the colorful reality of the everyday.

I am a quilter, a lazy self-taught one, but I love it. I love it for the colors. I had a friend tell me "I don't get quilts. I don't get the patterns and the mixed matched colors." Gasp. I realized that all the things she disliked were all the things that I loved.

It was in that moment that I saw the weight and reality of what God was working in my heart. As I pray for more creativity and more vision and more Holy Spirit goodness, I get louder and crazier and more colorful. And it's ok. Because I am not afraid of color anymore. Today I wear lots of color, and our home is full of all the colors that make us happy. There's hardly a brown thing in sight, and we love it.

I am free. I refuse to play it safe. After all, the only safe I need is Jesus.

Hope this finds you changing and embracing. Happy Tuesday.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Crepe Myrtle Envy

I have a little bit of a plant fetish. I get crazy excited about bushes and blooms and grass. I am the Blankenship grounds keeper. So it should come as no surprise that when we bought this doosie of a house with all its ailments, I was pumped about one thing: the crepe myrtles in the front yard. There are three of them. I awaited their blooms like it was Christmas morning and prayed hard for bright fuchsia. Dream come true.

I will be totally honest and say that I do not love the three trees equally. The big one is my favorite. It is full and gorgeous. Its trunks are thick and smooth. Its blooms are an amazing shade of dark pink. It is tall. It is full grown, perfectly established.

And then there's my second favorite. It is equally as tall but the trunks are thin and it looks weak. It's blooms are bright pink with white edges so it pales in comparison to its sister plant. This tree is also plagued with poison ivy. I have to cut it away weekly or it starts to choke the life out of it. I blame the nuisance for the sparceness of its branches. It struggles.

My least favorite tree is the one that the previous owners saw fit to cut down completely. In the Spring it started to sprout up in the middle of the grass and I mowed it flat again. I continued doing so for months, until now. We stopped getting rain. The grass got crunchy and I feared the harsh pruning would kill the grass completely and so I let it rest. In three short weeks my crepe myrtle stump became a thriving bush. Today I mowed the grass. Today I looked at that bush and decided it was time to let it live.

Sometimes there are beautiful parts of us that get trampled, mowed over, reduced to lifeless stumps- memories of former passions and gifts. We look at those things with a tiny realization of what they could be but it is but a faint hope compared to the seemingly obvious reality that it is already dead, that it is too late. But God gazes on those parts of us with dreams and hopes and purpose. When the time is right He nudges us with a sweet whisper "It is time to let this live again." And all we have to do is stop cutting. All we have to do is let it grow.

I pray this finds you unearthing old passions, new creativity, real hope. It is time.

[2 Timothy 1:6-7] ♥

Monday, July 8, 2013

Listen closely.

There are sounds that make my heart giddy. Most of them are things that no one else would get particularly excited about.

Jere's belly laugh tickling my ears from the back room where he is sleeping. Legos hitting the hardwood like hail stones as the entire bin gets dumped out. Late night TV overshadowed by little boys talking to their daddy in the living room while I tidy the kitchen. Wind rustling through trees and bushes under a dark uncertain sky. The first ten minutes of a rainstorm as the droplets change from sporadic splashes to rhythmic waves. The dishwasher humming at the end of a long day. The quiet ticking of the clock in the living room. The jingle of keys coupled with the jiggle of the front door knob. The pitter patter of feet in the hallway. The relentless opening and shutting of the back door on hot summer days. A guitar tuning in progress. The hum of my sewing machine. The clank of bluejean snaps hitting the inside of the dryer as it tumbles.

Every one of these everyday sounds speaks my heart. Tiny moments of quiet clarity that break up the chaos and noise of life. I hear God's faithfulness in each one. I am reminded that the very smallest details of our lives are at the forefront of Father's heart. And that the faint whispers of His kids bring Him the same kind of joy.

"The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
[Zephaniah 3:17] <3

Happy. Quiet. Monday.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the waiting game.

My life seems so full of questions and so full of waiting. I can only imagine that I'm in good company when I admit it. I round one corner with confidence only to find more wonder and worry waiting on the other side. I include worry only because that is where my head wants to wander first, but my heart knows my Maker better than that. I wish I could say without hesitation that I always hope and trust without letting anxiety get the best of me. In my searching I find the faithfulness of my Dad doesn't waiver at all. He is patient and diligent in the way He nudges me through these lessons. There are many on this one thing... waiting. And He waits for me to get it.

God is waiting. Always waiting. He waits in pursuit. He chases after me in every corner of my universe. He is a lion, strong, true. He is deserving of fear in every form of the word, but He doesnt demand it. He is loyal and lovely and the very sight of Him draws respect from every part of me. He is like wind in trees and rain on dry ground. Every good thing can be summed up in the essence of my God. And He has made it His work to run after me, calling me out of dark places and deep pits, urging me into Him, into light and life.

There is another one lurking. He doesn't do things in the open. He is always in the shadows, always hunting. He is coniving and manipulative and evil to the core. His work is to keep me bound. There is no freedom that comes by his feeble hand.

What does this mean for me? I can judge the position of my heart by the way I wait. If in my waiting, I am afraid and unsure, I am not waiting on God's heart. If my insecurities drive me into hiding, then I can be sure that I haven't heard His voice. If I am after the character of my Dad then I have to know this: waiting is reward. Waiting is proving. Waiting is building. Waiting is an overflow of the truth that has taken root in me. Am I waiting in trust and pursuit? Or am I waiting in fear and withdrawal? Waiting is telling. Waiting is a position of the heart. Waiting is readiness.

So what are you waiting for?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Love hard. But dont hold too tightly.

Most days I hug my boys as many times as possible. I obsessively and annoyingly rub their hair and pat their backs and kiss their foreheads.
Today is no different.

Jere just toddled into the kitchen in all of his cuteness rambling in tiny mixed up words about granola bars and orange juice. "Ganoya bahs and own deuce" to be more specific. I knelt down and scooped him into a hug. He giggled into my ear, "Dats too mush mommy. Make it easy." I loosened my squeeze. He smiled "Dats bettuh" and fish-kissed  my cheek. And then he was gone. I was left standing in the kitchen with a whirlwind of emotions about this week-shy-of-a-three-year-old.

Being a mom is the worst. You get crazy attached to these tiny humans knowing full well that they are in your care for but a moment. One blink, one breath, and they're grown and gone. Our first instinct is to hold tightly. And if we're not careful, we can squeeze the life right out of them. But if we can remember to loosen up every once in a while, they can surprise us with everything they know.

This morning I watched my ten year old from the doorway. I had been listening to some of my favorite worship songs and came around the corner to find him on the couch with his guitar. I stood quietly as he picked out the notes and played along with every.single.song. No one "taught" him that. We simply loosened our grip, gave room for the Holy Spirit to come and work.

This is permeating every area of my life- a conscious releasing of control to my Father that is better equipped and certainly more qualified. In the instant that I loosen my grip on things, He moves in bringing clarity and purpose. It is refreshing.

I hope this finds you purposing to loosen your grip on life, clinging hard to only Jesus. Happy Monday.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A blue door and an altar of sorts.

This week I painted my kitchen door blue. Then I ghetto frosted the glass with contact paper. It was a seemingly harmless project but it took me a loooooooong time to get around to doing it. And now that it's done I am letting out a deep breath of relief, one that I didn't even know I had been holding for the last few months. I know what you're thinking. What's the big deal? It is just a door. It is just a kitchen. But it is so much more.
This door is freedom. It is joy in the midst of chaos. It is my pile of rocks.

A few nights ago as I stood at the stove whipping up an impromptu request for enchilada casserole, I was overcome with that I've-been-here-before sensation. Just 7 months before, I stood in that very spot, making the same dish. But I did it in a filthy kitchen that I couldn't change until I owned it a month later. I did it on the verge of tears as the electricity flickered and the roaches laughed at me. I did it with a deep heart cry and I found myself cursing the very house that had come to us as a massive blessing. I remember clear as day feeling like my world had turned upside down and swallowed me in the process. And I remember Jesus. His huge arm reaching down and yanking me out of the pit before I could even attempt to start the climb.

I love the New Testament for its freshness, for its grace, for the Gospel. But I love the Old Testament because it is full of rememberance. God's people were always building altars, sometimes as memorials for where He had met them, sometimes as a reminder of what He had promised, sometimes as a marker for where they'd been or where they were going, but always to remember.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the quickness, the non stop crazy of this life. When we do, we forget that our weeping lasts just for a night, that the promise fulfilled is just around the corner.

Its time to start piling rocks. Its time to stop forgetting. Every time I catch a glimpse of that blue door my heart skips a little. I know where I've been. And I know where I'm going.

Next week will be a week of reveals. Our house isn't finished by any standard, but it sure is feeling like home. Stay tuned....

Holeyness or Holiness?

Anyone who knows me knows that cardigans are my favorite fashion staple. I have an arsenal of 10 or 12 of them that I mix and match faithfully Spring Summer and Fall to ward off the excessive Texas air conditioning. Like all good fashionistas, I have a favorite- a 7 year old grey and white striped AE boyfriend cardi... with a hole in the elbow. The thing about it is that I always forget and wear it anyway. The hole has a way of completely disappearing until it's stretched. It looks all cute and amazing until I slide my arm into the tiny sleeves. And while its slimming form fitting design is part of why I love it, I kick myself every time I realize, which is usually when someone else points it out. :/

True to form, God uses this cardi to speak volumes of Truth to me about my own ugly heart. There are so many "holes" that go unnoticed, tiny snags in my character that no one sees... but only till I'm stretched. Then those things present themselves as blazing badges of honor whether I want them to or not. And I have a choice. Keep ignoring them? Keep letting them shrink back into the threads on good days? Or do I let my Dad mend them? The thing with unmended holes is that they grow. And before you know it, you're exposed to the elements and there's a lot more at stake than your elbow.

I have been in a season of proving, fires large and small coming to purge things from my heart and mind. It has been awful and awesome and hard- but I'm so grateful for the careful attention of my Father. I want the stretching to shed light on things that need to be mended. I want the fire to burn out impurities and leave me refined. I want these ashes to be the remnant of a sweet offering.

This morning I was reading in Isaiah 5, and Father starting wrapping it all up for me. He's talking about a vineyard that He worked and tilled and labored over in hopes of sweet fruit but bitter grapes were all that grew. The passage is about Israel but the ears of my own heart were burning as I read it. Today I'm the vineyard. Today these words are for me. I can't wrap my mind around my Dad toiling over the garden of my life in hopes of sweet growth only to yield bitter fruit. I can't even really put into words the painful twinge in my heart when I think of it. I want God's hopes burning bright in my life, not trampled and left destitute in a barren vineyard.
Is. 5:7 " I tended with care. I had hoped for honesty and for justice, but dishonesty and cries for mercy were all I found."

Ouch. Let it not be so of me.

I hope this finds you stretched and bearing the sweet fruit of a yielded mended heart.  Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The day my pot holder died.

And also the day that I almost burned down the kitchen- atleast that was one scenario that flashed through my mind as I freeeeeeeaked out.

Yesterday was Wednesday, church day, long day, insane day. It's on this day every week that wild things happen during the day. I'm assuming its just a feeble attempt to keep me off my game for ministry in the evenings. But so far the day was going super smooth. The boys finished school by 11 and I was in the thick of an awesome lunch- sloppy joes and oven baked fries. From scratch. I had just put the buttered buns in the oven to toast when I knelt down to show sweet Jere boy a glimpse of the French fries. He got really excited but not about my fries. He was more interested in the FIRE blazing at the bottom of the oven- the one attached to my pot holder that was also in the bottom of the oven.

What?!? If anyone else had been in the house I would have blamed them. Because there's no possible way that I did something that cool, right? I immediately opened the oven and stared at the flames. Here's where it gets weird. I froze. I had no idea what to do. I grabbed two metal utensils and pulled the burning potholder out of the bottom, letting it rest on the glass- full blaze. I yelled for one of the older boys to help with Jere, just as the smoke detector decided to kick in. And then I really couldn't think. I kept trying to smother it out with a metal spoon with no success. Finally my 10 year old filled a bowl with water and brought it to me, one dunk in the liquid and the fire was out. Ridiculous.

Until this day I would have sworn to you that I totally knew all the right things to do in such a moment. But in my desperation I forgot it- all of it. And then the Holy Spirit started whispering to my heart. "You think you know by you have no idea." That doesn't just apply to MTV celebs. My mind was immediately flooded with memories of Girl Scouts and fire training. Where had all of those street smarts gone?? Why had I turned so lame? There's a difference between wisdom and smarts. Wisdom takes root in your heart- it doesn't matter how much book knowledge you have if you can't draw on it in a practical way.

The same goes for the Word. Wisdom comes by soaking in God's character. It's not enough to memorize the words or read until we're blue in the face. True wisdom comes when we seek God's heart and pray for ours to change, to transform, to pattern after His.

It's so easy to try and put out the "fires" in life with our head smarts. But it's wisdom that we need. It's wisdom and Truth that the world around us craves- even if they don't know it yet.

How many crispy pot holders do you have hanging around? Happy Thursday :)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Picking up the pieces...

... Of one of my dining chairs :/

Three days ago I had one of those awful, crisis- infused days of renovations. I started off the week with high hopes of making huge strides in the kitchen, knocking it out with such speed and awesomeness that I'd have plenty of time to dive into the craft room. it is still a mess of furniture piled in the center of the room with walls and trim begging for primer and paint. Not so. Here it is, Thursday, and not only am I squeezing in a poor excuse of a blogpost, but Im doing so with little to show for my efforts this week.

It played out like this, totally worthy of the reality/ sit com that is my life. I was in the kitchen, scraping the existing vinyl sheet flooring off the ground, because it was lifting and I didn't want to just add to the problem by layering. I hadn't really factored in the amount of time it would take me to scrape the adhesive away, and the amount of upper body strength ( that I most certainly do not have) it would require to pull all of the vinyl out. I was having to move appliances around as I worked, and in my enthusiasm pulled too hard too fast and left some gaping craters in the floor. Argh. This required the purchase of a patching compound before I could lay the new floor. No big deal, except that we are currently down to one car and I spend most days at home with no way to leave. Boom. Enter massive frustration.

In just the next room, my boys are snacking. My 7 year old is feeding my 2 year old an avocado. He is super excited about his very favorite food (also prone to flinging it, thus the help) and keeps climbing onto the table to get closer to the spoon. Despite my best efforts and constant nagging for him to sit on his rear, the inevitable happens. I am drawn from my flooring crisis by a loud crack and a silent baby. I run in shouting 'what happened?' over and over again to find him lying on his back on the chair that is obviously flipped backwards. I scoop him up, hush his now blood-curdling scream, inventory bumps and bruises, and lean over to reposition the chair. That's when the back completely fell out. On top of everything, he broke my chair?!

I moved the chair into the corner of the room and mentally noted that it was "un fixable" and would have to be replaced. Yesterday I finally made time to search the Ikea site for a replacement chair and was less than thrilled to find that my new chair would be another $60 (a huge hit to our reno budget) and that they didn't sell this color anymore. So, I set my mind on repairing it. With some liquid nails and some paint it will be almost as good as new, just a little scarred. And it will always be a reminder of this wacky season of life. That's kind of awesome.

Father instantly turned it into an afternoon devo. How many things, people, situations have I written off as un fixable? When in reality, the effort of repair is part of the process, and totally worth it. And the scar? It always tells a story. Let me be found mending, encouraging, loving, and pressing through. He is telling an incredible story with my life.

Also, when you wonder why I never blog anymore, keep in mind that I'm probably doing something ridiculous- fishing rodents from walls or stepping in drywall mud or falling between the couch and chaise lounge while painting trim. These amazing stories will all be yours to share soon.

Happy Thursday.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

the sting of things.

This business of diving back into my blog has been an arduous process. I've been coming up with all sorts of reasons why I can't, but today I ran out of excuses. I'll start by dealing with the elephant in the room.... my complete withdrawal from every single thing that God undeniably purposed me to do. Sewing, crafting, creating, writing, dreaming- you name it, I shelved it. Ugh.

Here's the skinny. I spent a weekend at a ladies retreat and had all sorts of face palm moments. It would take me hours to share all of the crazy cool stuff that Father is showing me about restoration and stillness and purpose, but I can't even go there, not yet. I have to start at the beginning. I have to start with the thing that had me convulsing in my seat, ugly crying for the whole world to watch.


The devil's so dumb. We moved back to Texas in October after 15 months of being transplanted to Virginia. I came back with so many lessons under my belt, so many new passions. I also came back with some serious baggage. I was hurt, not surfacey bandaid-able scratches, but deep cuts to the heart. And I was just running around bleeding all over everybody.

Just the other day my boys were watching a nature show about Africa. They love that nonsense. I walked in just in time to see a giant hand-sized wasp. If you're like me, then you feel like anything that has a stinger is the spawn of Satan himself. The tiniest honey bee can send me into arm-flailing screaming fits. So this Satan bug is an Africa tarantula wasp. It kills by injecting it's victim with a paralyzing venom, and subsequently injecting an egg into their stomach area. The egg then hatches and eats the spider alive from the inside out- emerging as a full grown adult. Oh.My.Goodness. Gross.

 I've spent most my 32 years touting an ability to remain unscathed by people and their opinions. Pffft. You don't love people. Crafting is a hobby, a waste of time, God can't use that. You're just a housewife. You spend too much time chasing things that don't matter. Photography isn't important if you're not going to make a job of it. If ministry was important to you, then your kids wouldn't be an issue.  You haven't made any friends here, because you refuse to make this your home. You're moving back because you love Texas more than you love us. You don't know how to hear God's voice. Some of these things are direct quotes. Some of them are just paraphrased versions of what I "heard" in my heart. Whoa. I let these things, these seemingly small rotten things that people said to me... about me, take root in my heart. They were planted deep, and together they hatched as self-doubt, fear, withdrawal, disinterest, and lack of purpose. Even lies bear fruit when you start believing them. I was being eaten alive.

Acts 8:23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity....

My first mistake? Entertaining the wasp. I invited him in, close enough to sting. That's not hard to do. You just simply cut yourself off from the truth, stop spending time in God's presence and you step into dangerous territory. My second mistake was letting myself get bitter over it all. How dumb. If you're bound up in lies, or hurtful words, forgive. And then recognize that your best defense against lies is truth. I was very much alive, still connected, still searching, but so paralyzed. It took a moment of stillness, of pulling away from busy-ness and chaos to see what Father had been whispering for months. The noise around me was just too loud for me to hear. I am rejoicing today over God's purposes, over His delight in setting His kids free, and over every single passion that He's spent the last two weeks unearthing and dusting off. He redeems all things. I am pressing in, EVERY day to hear from Him. I am done believing untruths, done returning to hurt feelings, done letting them stir my heart and steer my course. Are you?