Friday, January 30, 2015

Laughter


They've always said laughter was the best medicine. When you are going through the darkness, the sludge of a season, you don't always see it that way. These two girls right here mean so much to me. One of them was my "come over and vent over a bottle of wine" and the other is my sound mind, when I need advice. Both of these ladies point me to Christ and encourage me with their love and words when I'm down or struggling. 

Tonight I got pampered (did I mention they are both amazing hairstylist?) One did my hair and the other did my make up just so I could feel pretty for the day, even if I did just come home to study the night away. Next time I seriously think the three of us need a girl's night :-) As I was sitting at the salon talking with these two, what occurred to me was for the first time in a long time I was laughing, like honest to goodness laughing without a care in the world. What a refreshing time it was for my soul. Even though I am still working through things regarding last year, I can honestly say I am at peace, I am happy, so so happy and so excited to see what this year has in store for me.

You see, even though the three of us still have stuff going on (such is life) we all three find our hope in Christ and not in anything of this world, that is fading away. We know the problems we face on this earth do not own us or define us. Our identity is firmly found in Christ. For that reason we are able to laugh, smile, goof off and just have fun, knowing that whatever we face in life we aren't facing it alone.

Tonight I am thankful for great friends, new seasons, new beginnings, crazy hair and a sweet Savior who loves me and calls me His. 

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future"
Proverbs 31:25

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Unexpected Gifts

This week has been simply crazy. I'm trying to study for my boards while battling fear and insecurities regarding my capability of actually passing my dreaded NCLEX exam on February 11th. On top of dealing with everyday life of being a single mom, raising these sweet boys the Lord has entrusted to me and trying to point them to Jesus even when there are times I want to point them to the corner :-)

I was sitting in my bedroom tonight thinking about how I spent 7 months in what can only be described as "a very dark season" I spent that time praying, crying out to the Lord to deliver me from all that was crashing down on me, and for a long time He didn't He kept me in that season, but not because He doesn't love me, far from it actually. He kept me there because He loves me so much. You see during that season my faith grew immensely and my reliance on the Lord became my life. There wasn't a single breath that was breathed from my lungs that I was not clinging to Christ, relying on Him to help make it through another day. I didn't see what He was doing then, but now that I am on the other side of it, I am slowly starting to see what He was doing and can I just say it is extremely humbling to know that the Creator of the world loves me, a messed up sinner who fails Him daily, so much that He took me on a journey of despair and brokenness because He was redeeming parts of me that I didn't even know at the time needed to be redeemed. Parts of my story that I had long forgotten but my Savior hadn't, and He knew there was some pruning and refining that needed to be done to prepare me for this next season.

The boys and I are in week two of living in our new home. There are many words I could use to describe our lives right now, but really the word I keep going back to is "redemption" He has brought us from one extreme being despair to another being peace. How great is our God y'all :-) Grace upon Grace!! Seriously, He overwhelms me with His goodness. These last few weeks the Lord has been impressing upon me the ways He has been working in my life that would lead up to the present. You see, I am one of those weird people who gets joy out of looking back at my life and seeing where the Lord was working when I didn't even know it. Being able to see where He first crossed my path with my friends who we are staying with almost 4 years ago over our mutual passion, orphan care and how He has used our friendship to not only lead me to the church we now attend but also to provide a home for the boys and I during this season. I keep seeing how He is using relationships that have been forming for years, both short and long to sustain me, minister to me, encourage me and simply provide for me a peak into the Father's heart for me.

A few years ago when I was blogging about my adoption with Isaiah I got a comment from a girl who has been reading my blog for a while. That one comment lead to us finding each other on Facebook which lead to lots of conversations, text messages, facetiming and ultimately lead me to my best friend who I absolutely love and praise God for this girl. She is truly my sister. She holds me accountable, she prays for me, encourages me in the Lord, loves me even though I am a little crazy and has been the hands and feet of Jesus for me more times then I can count. I love her lots and am so thankful the Lord crossed out paths. Her life shines for Jesus and I am a better person because of her. This girl is one of the best unexpected gifts I've ever received from the Lord. She continues to impact my life for Christ and minister to me through her life. She'll never know what an impact she had on me during that dark season through her prayers, her text messages and love. Love you Care!

Being able to see where the Lord was working, even when it didn't feel like it is so encouraging to me, and because He is reminding me of His faithful over last year, I am able to walk boldly into this next season with confidence, not in myself but in the one who created me. Knowing He is with me, leading me and giving me Grace upon Grace, which in itself is one of the greatest gifts we as believers in Christ could receive. I know there are going to be bumps, there are going to be times where the world gets a hold of my head and tries to overshadow what I feel in my heart, and I pray that when those times hit, I remember what the Lord says in His word~

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to her" Luke 1:45

The Lord has been speaking to my heart so much recently about mine and the boy's future and reminding me that His plans are not just different then mine but also better. I expect there to be moments where I'm standing in amazement of Him and I also expect moments where I'm standing there with my "are you serious" look but one thing I know for sure, I'm walking with my Savior, with open arms, ready feet and a heart full of anticipation for what He has in store for the boys and I.

I'm thankful today for the unexpected gifts, not in the form of material things, but those in the form of sweet relationships He has blessed me with that continue to impact my life today. Most importantly I'm thankful for the relationship I have with Jesus. Knowing I am not walking in this world alone, makes the unknown far less scary because He is with me, leading the way.

"Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12



Friday, January 23, 2015

A Blank Canvas




 
So for those of you who have been long time readers of this little blog of mine, you'll notice it got a little facelift as well as a new name. I used this blog to document so much of Isaiah's adoption journey and once he came home I was so hit and miss with posting, a few times I would debate just taking it down, but every time I did I felt the Lord saying "not yet" so I kept it up, waiting for the day He would lead me back to writing.
 
For those of you who know me in real life you probably know that last year I went through a very dark season. PRAISE JESUS the Lord delivered me from that season and has done more than I could ever imagine in caring for the boys and I. Though we lost a lot last year, we still have each other and I am still walking with my Savior, pressing into Him every step of the way. I learned a lot of things last year and one of the most important things my suffering taught me was that the Lord never waste anything. Our trials, our sufferings, our brokenness, He has a purpose for all of it and He will redeem it. Which leads me to this little blog of mine and what I feel the Lord calling me to do with it (other then document my life with my two favorite little men)
 
Faithful. Redeemer. Restorer. Healer. Comforter. Provider. Sovereign.
Those are words I use to describe the Almighty God, my Heavenly Father who has done more for me than I could ever imagine or hope for. The more I look back on my life over the recent years the more I see a journey full of those words I mentioned above when it comes to the Lord working in my life. How humbling!!
 
That brings me to this blog. I want this blog to point people to Jesus. I want to document the raw and real parts of my life, not to bring attention to myself but to bring attention to how AMAZING the Lord is and how is faithful in caring for His children, even during the hard times, when we don't think we can make it through another day, He is there, walking with us breath by breath. You see last year I struggled with a lot of shame for what was going on in my life, not wanting to allow people to see the brokenness that had become my life, but then the Lord brought me to my knees one night and it was then that I realized that through my brokenness His Glory was going to shine. I stopped hiding after that  and once I stopped hiding, He began to work in ways that still overwhelm me. The BEST part, was through my struggles and suffering, He was being glorified and others were being encouraged. Praise Him!!
 
So here we are, a new year, a new season and new beginnings for the boys and I. We are living with dear friends for a season, however long that might be. We are loving our church, building relationships, seeing the body of Christ in a way I have never seen before. The boys are getting bigger every day, I'm hard at work studying for my boards and for the first time ever I am just RESTING at the feet of my Savior and enjoying the peace He has given me recently. I have NO idea what this year holds for my little family, but I am here with open arms, ready feet and a heart full of anticipation for what He is going to do.
 
 




Friday, December 5, 2014

Embracing The Season & Enjoying A Simple Christmas


I have spent the last week watching friends on social media post about the beginning of their Christmas traditions with their families. Elf on the Shelf, dressing up the kids in Christmas outfits and going to see Santa, visiting the town square and seeing all the buildings lit up, unwrapping a book every night to read before bed, building gingerbread houses, going to see The Nutcracker, riding the Christmas train and honestly these are all wonderful things that build precious memories with our kids. All of those things I have done myself in years past with Noah and Isaiah. This year though I am being forced to embrace the simplicity of Christmas. Before you say to yourself "who needs to be forced into that" Let me explain. Being a single mom I've always tried extra hard to ensure my kids had memories and experiences. I have never had the money to do yearly vacations, my kids have never been to Disney World or even seen the beach, so whenever I have been able to I have always tried to give them memories and traditions. This year looks very different for the boys and I. Our surrounding family is separated, There will be 5 empty seats at Christmas dinner, I'm working 12 hour days which makes for an exhausted Mommy most days on top of homeschooling, extra money for fun stuff is non-existent and here recently I found myself getting depressed at how I wasn't going to be able to provide my boys with everything I have in the past. (i.e. Christmas memories) That's where the Lord grabbed me out of my pit and reminded me of what I already knew. Don't you just love when the Lord does that :-) 

I may not be able to provide all that fun stuff for my boys this year but I can provide them with memories of sitting on the couch snuggled under a blanket, looking at our Christmas tree lit up while reading our Advent storybook and talking about the real reason we celebrate Christmas and how thankful we are for Jesus, because during times like this, where things are hard, we have hope in Jesus and we know everything will be okay. So while this year looks very different, I'm choosing to embrace this continued season of change for the boys and I and enjoying a simple Christmas this year. A Christmas where the best gift of all isn't found under the tree on Christmas morning, but is living inside of us all year long, all the days of our lives. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christ Overcomes Darkness

I really have no idea where to even start with this post. I'm not even sure why I am writing it. Actually yes I am, writing has always been a form of therapy for me, free therapy, lol I sit here and find myself praying as type, seeking the Lord with every word. I have no idea who reads this blog, if anyone does. Okay actually I do know of one person, Hi Care :-) Love you sister!!

I remember starting this blog 4 years ago as a way of keeping track of my adoption. What a blessing it is to have a way to go back and revisit the amazing journey the Lord took me on to bring my sweet Isaiah home. Though I have been hit and miss the last two years (hello post adoption, nursing school craziness) I could never bring myself to take the blog down. I knew I wanted to keep writing but I knew the Lord would show me when it was time. Guess what............it's time :-)

Every year after the new year is rung in, the holidays are over, decorations are packed up, I find myself reflecting on the past year and anticipating what the Lord has in store for me in the coming year. It seems like for the past few years there have always been one or two big experiences that have grown me in my faith and allowed me to see the Lord in a way I hadn't before. In 2009 I went through a divorce, in 2010 I graduated LPN school and started the adoption process, in 2011 Noah and I moved in with my mom, sister and her kids into a lovely home the Lord provided as well as saw my sweet Isaiah's face for the first time when I got his referral, in 2012 I traveled to Ethiopia twice and brought my sweet boy home as well as suffered through a horrible health condition that the Lord later healed me of, in 2013 I started RN school and traveled to Haiti on a medical mission trip where I was rebaptised and rededicated my life to Jesus. When 2014 rolled around I was so excited. I knew I would be graduating nursing school and I couldn't wait, but you see 2014 was nothing like I could have ever expected. Truthfully this year, specifically the last 6 months have been some of the darkest times of my life. I have experienced a season of spiritual attack, brokenness, sadness and loss while also experiencing Jesus in a way that I have never experienced Him before.

Without sharing specifics because this story is not just mine to share, I have lost relationship with my sister, my niece and two nephews as well as now have a very strained relationship with my dad. I have almost lost my home, I experienced the worst financial crisis I could have ever imagined, one that I am still trying to dig myself out of, my truck has broken down numerous times, I failed my last quarter of nursing school which caused me to have to repeat a class and graduate 3 months late, causing me to lose a job that had been offered to me. After graduating the Lord blessed me with a job working as a RN in the ER of a local hospital but I soon lost that job because I failed my nursing boards. I have watched my oldest son sit and cry at the loss of contact with his cousins. My health has been strained due to stress and at times I have just sat and cried, not understanding why any of this has happened.

You know what though, you know the saying Jesus will meet you just where you are? Ya'll it is so true. He was there when I needed groceries but didn't know how I was going to afford them, He provided Kroger gift cards through friends, He was there when my power steering went out in my truck and it was going to cost over $600 to fix, He provided a guy from church who fixed it for free, He was there when I asked Him "why" He allowed me to fail my last quarter of school, He put a woman in my path that had also failed her last class, she didn't know Jesus and we had many opportunities to talk and I shared the Gospel with her, He was there when I failed my boards and lost my nursing job. He provided the money to allow me to retake my boards and He provided an LPN job for me while I study and prepare to retake the boards. He was there when I needed to get away from all the stress of everything and He provided a way for the boys and I to travel North for the weekend to spend time with one of my dear friends and her family, a refreshing weekend that my weary soul needed. He was there when the boys and I found ourselves in search of a new church to call home. He provided an incredible church home and body of believers that have loved us and welcomed us with open arms. He was there as I cried to Him that I needed help, to please help me. He sent me a community group of people that have not only become friends, but who I consider family. The woman in the group encourage me with scripture, prayer and encouraging text messages through out the week and the men are investing in my boys weekly, at times just by living out the Gospel to them and showing them how men of God are to live. My boys have met and formed sweet friendships with the kids at our church and community group and the Lord has shown me through a sweet friend who's husband passed away earlier this year, that my season of singleness has a purpose, and that purpose has been to come alongside my sweet friend and encourage her as she now finds herself a single momma to her three precious little ones. He was there when the bills were piled sky high and my bank account was in the negative. He provided those who wanted to come alongside me, giving of their time and some of their finances to help bring me out of the hole I had found myself in. Then there were the many nights where I laid in bed crying out to Him for comfort, peace and His presence. He was there, every single time, embracing me, loving me, laying specific scripture on my heart, and reminding me He had a purpose for my pain.

Ever since I decided to follow Christ, I have always prayed that my life would reflect more of Him and less of me. I wanted people to see my life and see our Great Savior, Jesus Christ. I wanted people to see how the light of Christ overcomes any amount of darkness we could ever experience. Through salvation our lives are transformed, we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. Dead in our sins, but alive in Christ, redeemed, restored and loved by a Mighty God who loved us so much that He gave His one and only son so that we could spend eternity with Him forever in Heaven. The Lord has been so kind these last few months in how He has cared for the boys and I and at times has left me speechless (which if you know me, you know that doesn't happen often) at just how much He is in the details of my life, big and small. The biggest blessing from this season has been the numerous times my Father in Heaven has been glorified through my suffering. I have been told so many times recently through face to face conversations, text messages and Facebook messages how my strength and faith through turmoil has encouraged someone, caused someone to look at themselves and realize how they don't rely enough on the Lord. I have been told that people don't know how I have made it through, and that has allowed me to tell of my Great Savior and how without Him and the hope I have in Him, I would surely be in a corner crying but, because the battle has already been won on the Cross I can walk in faith toward the future, knowing that even though I have no idea what the future holds, I know WHO holds my future and that gives me the peace that surpasses anything I will endure on this earth and what a JOY it is to know that through my suffering, Jesus is being glorified.

I'll leave you with one of many encouraging words that have ministered to me these last few months..........."One of the best things you can do to worship God is simply to accept where you are and what He's doing for you RIGHT NOW" ~ Priscilla Shirer

Psalm 27 "I remain confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord"

Stay tuned ya'll, the Lord is slowly giving me words to say and I can't wait to see what He does through this little ole blog of mine :-) Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

End Of A Season

I can't believe I am really typing these words, but yes ya'll I am FINISHED with nursing school. Woohoo, Praise the Lord, He is SO GOOD!!! When I started this journey back in January 2013 I had no idea what I was getting myself into. RN school is CRAZY ya'll and yes there were many nights I either went without sleep, drank more coffee than the average human should, felt like I was losing my mind and put way too much Mommy guilt on myself for not seeing my boys as much as I would have liked, but just as the Lord tells us, there is a time and season for everything and I am so thankful that season of life is finished, over, never to return again :-) I have SO much to blog about. Some stuff I want to blog just to remember, some awesome God moments, a lot of reflection and some rough stuff I have been dealing with the last few months. I never want my blog to come off as sunshine and lollipops because trust me that isn't my life, my life is crazy most of the time but then again who said following Jesus would be boring? Stay tuned friends........

Monday, December 30, 2013

Starting Over..........

If you are one of the 5 people who actually read this silly blog of mine you know that this year I have been a super stinky blogger, lol I have gone back and forth trying to decide if I should keep attempting to blog or if I should just say good bye to it all together? Every time I think about it, I am reminded how thankful I am to have documented Isaiah's adoption journey and that makes me want to continue blogging, to continue documenting our lives, to have something to look back on and be reminded that through this crazy thing called life, God is always faithful. So along with some other changes I am making for 2014, consistent blogging is one of them. I have "met" such sweet friends through the blog world and my life is definitely richer because of each of them. I am still toying with the idea of making this private, but for now it will remain public. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready because I have been quiet for way too long and I am excited for the next chapter of this journey as I choose to find JOY along the way, every day!!

" I look up to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth. He will not let you stumble, the one who watches over you will not slumber." Psalm 121:1-3

 
 
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