Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Confident in your purpose

Do you believe you are right where you were always meant to be? I'll confess. Sometimes I do not.

Sometimes there's this aching in my soul that asks... but what if? I think at the root of that is fear. Fear of all the things I doubt in myself, instead of boasting in his strength that's perfected in my weakness.

I know the Father is beckoning me to just rest in the reality that my call is indeed to live in perfect communion with him.

Perhaps those insecurities that rise up from the deep come from the trappings of this world that make us feel we always have to be hustling. Striving to be more, to do more.

Regardless, even in the midst of my ongoing fight to just lay back into the arms of Jesus, I want my children to be confident of their purpose in Christ... always.

I've been preparing for awhile now to help facilitate an infant loss retreat in north Georgia. My heart has been longing to sit with these women, love on them, and point them to every truth Christ has given me to heal and rest in. But over the last few weeks I have struggled. Struggled with understanding why the Lord would call me to this area of ministry.

Struggling to feel like I do not have anything worth anything to give.

My flesh is a pro at arguing against it. I've asked him a hundred times over, "Why this, Lord? I'm tired. I don't want to keep reliving that pain."

I want to feel safe in secure in my purpose. But sometimes realities leave me feeling anything but.

Last night, as I sat with my daughter, reading and coloring while her daddy and brother snoozed on the couch across from us, she asked, "Mommy how long will you be gone?" And after I told her just 4 days she said, "I will miss you but I'm glad you can help these mommies who are sad."

I took the opportunity to explain to her that there are days I'm still sad too and always will be until I'm with Jesus. But we have to push through the sadness and tears and do the jobs God has given us to do. It was a beautiful Psalm 126:5-6 teaching moment.

For her and for me.

A reminder that no matter how life tries to make you feel stifled inside of yourself and in your purpose, we must hold on to the transcendent abundance that living out your purpose brings.

Today? Today, I am confident that my chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Today I'm holding tightly to Matthew 6:33, Seek first the Father's Kingdom and His righteousness...

The rest? It will be added unto you...

Friday, August 5, 2016

Weary to Worn...

I had several good intentions for this summer- rest, play, spontaneous weekend get-a-way's and an early start to our homeschool year. When the first official week of summer landed us in Children's Hospital for several days, I started throwing intentions out of the window.

Its the thought that counts...

While there are so many blessings to recall in this season, I'm still weary. Just flat out tired and spent. In asking myself last week, "how did you get here? What happened to the rest and rejuvenation?" the Lord recalled some scripture to my heart that I memorized about this time last year as we were in the midst of moving to a new home and beginning to homeschool right smack dab in the middle of work, travel, and just the details of life--

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16

I'm terrible at asking for help. Its a weakness I'm all too aware of. It's not that I don't want to admit that I need it. I simply would just rather overload myself than inconvenience anyone else. Thank God my Jesus longs to be inconvenienced.

If faith is the continuous confession of total dependence on and trust in Jesus then what does that say of my weariness?

Last week as I found myself feeling like I just can never get ahead of it all, He ushered me to Himself. To sit and spend some time with Him, naming aloud all of the things I'd been feeling weary over. And Hebrews 4:16 rang so loudly in my spirit. "Take the help!" Because he never tires or never grows weary He can take it! Unlike me, He's never stretched beyond what He can handle. He has no limits. He fulfills all of His intentions. His grace well never runs dry.

So, if you're like me and feeling the weariness from summer (or just life in general) could possibly take you out any day now... like wear you so thin you have nothing left...then go boldly to His throne. That's right where He wants us. Sit for awhile. Tell Him honestly all of the things that are just simply too much. Tell Him how much you need a Savior. And look forward to the next season, knowing that He never lets go.

"I need help. Always. In everything. I am simply kidding myself if I think I can move an inch without God's help.” - John Piper, A Godward Life

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Why it's absolutely okay to pamper your heart

After my daughter Ellanie died I jumped right into full time ministry. I thought it was good for me to throw myself into focusing on others and their needs. But what I learned soon after, is that ignoring my broken heart to focus on other broken hearts only creates more broken hearts. If I could go back and do anything differently during that time of profound healing in my journey, it would be to take time to get away and spend some serious time on my heart.

When we have a heart attack, stroke, or any other serious medical issue we spend a lot of time and money on ensuring that we are physically well and ready to do life again, right? But for some reason, we do not invest in our hearts that way. Investing in our insides is just as important, especially when emotional trauma as great as the loss of your baby hits you like a mac truck, smack dab in the middle of normal.

The Hebrew origin for the word heart is "lebab." It means the center for physical AND spiritual life. Where your will, intellect, and feelings live. So, why then would we not invest here... wholly?

A few months ago, I got an email from a friend whom I'd never met in person, but our lives were connected through social media and our stories of loss. God was pressing on her heart to organize an infant loss retreat, biblically based, for hurting and healing mamas. Naturally, this grabbed my attention and before I knew any details I already knew the Spirit was interceding and leading.

Bevin has her own powerful, heart breaking, yet awe-inspiring story of loss (read more about Bevin's daughter Leah and their foundation here) and after attending a secular infant loss retreat to invest in her own heart, she saw the good that came from it and wanted to empower other women to do the same.

The difference that Bevin wanted to bring to her retreat is a biblical perspective and worship environment tailored for infant loss. While offering the experience to bond with other moms who have been on the same journey, she also hopes to create an environment where women's hearts can truly experience restoration and refreshment by spending time in God's Word with other Christian mamas.

It totally doesn't hurt that this is all nestled in the beautiful, serene cabins of the Forrest Hills Mountain Resort in north Georgia!

I'll be speaking and facilitating sessions on topics such as loneliness/depression, hope for new life after loss, how to parent after loss, helping others understand, staying connected to God's Word, and more. Bevin has also arranged for a professional grief counselor to be leading sessions as well, offering a year's worth of therapy in one weekend!

There will be therapeutic activities designed specifically to help spur your journey to restoration and open your heart to the Holy Spirit as He leads. Journaling, crafting, horseback riding, spa-therapy, massage-therapy, and walking trails, just to name a few. Because contrary to what I believed, it is absolutely okay and necessary to invest in your heart in this way.

If this opportunity had been available to me four years ago... oh, what a difference it would have made! I thank God that Bevin has stepped out in faith and is trusting him to make this difference.

I pray that you or a friend will consider this chance for your heart to experience healing and peace. Your heart is secure and your healing is secure when it's defined by peace. Peace cannot be experienced when you continue to walk through life, burying the pain to keep functioning and protect your broken heart. If you're honest with God and with yourself, you need to face it with other mamas who know it too.

You can register here and learn more about the (in)Complete Retreat. Please do not let finances hinder you from registering. Bevin had a great suggestion for building a "Go Fund Me" page to share with your family and friends in helping you raise the money, or you could also ask for funds in lieu of Christmas gifts this year. I have no doubt that your loved ones would welcome the chance to support you in your journey to restoration!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (retreat verse)