Embracing the Noise

I know I have been largely absent from this space. And friends, one day I hope to have the words to share where I’ve been these last few months. 

But for now, I’m moving forward. We’ve been homeschooling, and it say it’s going well would be an understatement. The kids are flourishing, enjoying learning. Our family is growing together and yet each member is learning independence, who they are. It has been beautiful to watch and an honor to be a part of.


But it has also led me away from any quiet I used to have. Even quiet amidst the noise. 

And instead of embracing this new non-quiet, I have been trying to hide away.  Trying to steal moments for myself. 

And while it is certainly necessary to find time for rest – I lost sight of what I am doing. I lost sight of these little ones I am guiding and raising up. 

And I was losing my joy. 

You see, I had forgotten that my joy was not connected to quiet. I have forgotten that my joy was not connected to my plans. Because my joy only comes from the Lord. 

In seeing Him in the very places He calls me. Even when that is a home filled with noise. In serving Him by loving the ones He places before me. Even if they are screaming and unwilling. In walking the path He leads me on. 

And so today, I am choosing to move back to the noisy bar stools of my kitchen counter. To rest. To think. To read the Word.

Because all of this is where I am called to be. And hiding from it will never grow them or myself. 

For who am I to say no to such generous blessing? 

Where do you find yourself today? Are you, like me, trying to run from the noise and the stress…but to no avail? Can I encourage you to embrace the noise. To remember that this is certainly a beautiful thing. One to be thankful for. Even in the midst of those ever trying days. 

The Start of Something New: Lent

I’m going to be honest. I have hardly ever participated in lent. And by participated, I mean fasted from something for lent. I didn’t grow up in a church where it was a requirement, and so, lent frequently passed me by.

However, yesterday, Ash Wednesday, I sat with my Bible open in front of me. But I wasn’t reading it. I had my phone in hand, and was instead, scrolling through Facebook.

I realized what was slowly becoming of my quiet time. I had begun to compromise. Quiet time was slowly becoming time to complete trivial tasks. And the once joyful sacrifice of my quiet time, was becoming something I did with an insincere heart.

Fasting

{I’m going to pause here. This is not to sound like I am disparaging myself. I do still spend time sincerely in the Word. But I have seen ways that I allow things to steal the focus away. And maybe you find yourself in the same circumstances. You desire to do something and you have been steadfast. But as time continues on, little things, reminders grab your attention. And you take but a minute to complete the task, but your heart. Oh your heart has moved along. You continue on in the Bible, but there is something different. And that difference, friend, is compromise. Compromise has entered your heart and it has altered your sacrifice.}

At that moment I knew what I needed to do. I needed a change. And this season of lent would be the perfect place for my heart to start. 

Bible Journal and coffee

This lent, I am beginning a fast from social media. In all honesty, I hope it is something that takes root, deep in my being.

The difficulty is that I spend some time here – with all of you. And I love it. So I will be around to share my posts and to reply to you all. But I won’t be there, in the background, searching and scrolling. I won’t be there commenting on pictures or posts. I won’t be there, in the recesses of my time and space, spending endless amounts of time.

Instead, I will be sitting at my kitchen counter, spending time with the Word. I will be reading and studying the Bible. I will be spending more time in prayer and journaling. And I will be spending more time with Him.

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The time once used for idleness, distraction, idolatry, and comparison is removed. And is being replaced with the One who is so much greater. 

Because that is what lent and fasting are really all about. They aren’t actions to be done, schedules to keep, rituals to practice.

No. Fasting and lent are about the position of our hearts. They are about our faith.

So often in the Bible, God chastises His people for their lack of faith. They practiced all the rituals. They brought sacrifices. They diligently checked each requirement off their list. Yet their hearts were missing. They didn’t practice His law, His covenant with a heart focused solely on Him. They practiced to be blessed. They practiced because it was what you did. It had become empty and meaningless.

And when aspects of God’s beautiful covenants have lost their meaning, when they are done with compromise and without a sincere heart – we are lost. We have become no different than the Old Testament Israelite’s…that were condemned.

greece travels
So this Lenten season, if you are fasting from something – ponder the posture of your heart.

Are you leveraging the removed items to draw you nearer to God? Are you giving up things that give you more time to spend with Him? Are you giving up resources that will cause you to trust more in Him? 

Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it:
Being pointed back towards Jesus.
Remembering Who He is.
Remembering what He has done.
Remembering His faithfulness.
Remembering His love.
Learning more about Him. About what He says. About what He wants for us. And from us. 

And leaning more on Him through it all. 

I would love to hear from you. Are you giving something up this Lent? Why or why not? If you are, how is it increasing your faith? I think we can learn so much from each other as we build each other up. (As always, and especially with discussions that may have some disagreement, remember, He is known by our love.) 

love to you

Praying for the Spring Rains

Hi, friends. I am so sorry I have been absent from here for the last few weeks. I am searching for a schedule that will include more time for this writing, but thus far, it has eluded me. One day. And until then, I will continue to jot notes to my future self on my phone. Hopefully future me knows what all my ramblings mean.

yellowstone trip

LIFE LATELY

I’m going to be honest. I have been a little much lately. A little too emotional. A little to extreme. A little too feeling. And I’m not pregnant – so ack! Seriously though, I feel like I have been searching for a way to flourish this season. And instead, I keep coming up with ways to merely survive.

It has, however, led me to prayer and reading the Bible. A lot. Which is why I’m not writing here as often as I would like. The time allotted for me, is time I am spending solely in the Word. Because I need it. It is my root, my foundation. And without it, I would be lost and alone. Scared and weak.

And while I may still be struggling, I am able to stand firm that it is all for Him. It is producing something in me, that though hard and difficult, is good. And for His glory. And so I continue to press on. To press into Him and His grace.

THE SPRING RAINS

Earlier this month, I finished the Old Testament. A passage in Zechariah has become my constant prayer.

Ask rain from the Lord
in the season of the spring rain,
from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,
and He will give them showers of rain… (Zechariah 10:1)

I pray, I shout out, to my Lord. The Creator. I call to Him for rest. I call to Him for life. I call to Him for joy. I long to be filled. Filled to the point of overflowing, dripping down over me. Covering me. Like the spring rain, soaking and filling and nourishing all. Bringing life and new growth with it.

Yet, the more I think of rain, the more I remember that rain brings more than life. The rains, especially those spring rains, bring with them destruction. They can cause flooding, damage, and even death.

PRAYING FOR RAIN

As I pray for rain, I remember that I am not only praying for life and joy, but I am also praying for suffering. I am praying for the blooming that the spring rains bring. While at the same time I pray for the flood waters to reshape me. I am praying that my Creator, the One who knows me so personally and intimately continues His refinement of me.

And I am encouraged by Paul’s writings.

…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope… 
(Romans 5:3-4)

I am reminded that the floods are producing something more. The suffering is making me steadfast and teaching me patience. It is producing a strong character in me, one that looks more like my Messiah. And in that refinement, I find my way back to hope. And in that I will ever rejoice!

yellowstone

HIS PROMISE

A few verses down in Zechariah, I find this promise. And this is where I rest. I encamp myself here, ever waiting for the rains. No matter what comes with them: suffering or blessing. Or both.

I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,
and they shall be as though I had not rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. (Zechariah 10:6)

Because He is my strength. He is my salvation. He has compassion on me. He will rescue me. He hears me and answers me. He will not reject me.

Though I may not be here as regularly as I would like, this is where you can find me. Standing in His grace, praying for the spring rains.

Please know, this prayer is not one of blessing or prosperity. I believe prayer is an aligning of my heart to His. It is not to ask for my own will, my own gain. Prayer, talking with our Heavenly Father, should mirror the ways Jesus prayed. Acknowledging Him, confessing, giving thanks, and asking for help. God is not a genie in the sky, waiting to give us all the good things our eyes have seen. He promises good for us, but we must ever remember that our humanness limits how we understand good. God sees our good, not just here but our eternal good. And there are times when that refinement, for our eternal good is painful. But God is still good. 

love to you

The Power of Walking

I have been thinking a lot about doing. The importance of accomplishing tasks. When my husband gets home from work, I scramble to tick off all the things I did that day. To tout all my accomplishments. It isn’t that he asks or expects anything to be accomplished or really even started. But, perhaps, I do.

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I know. I just wrote a post reminding us that we don’t have to do it all or be enough. But. But sometimes, I still think I do. Sometimes I think the sheer act of obedience, of simply walking with the Lord isn’t enough. It isn’t doing. 

But last night, as I fought sleep, I wondered, “When did walking stop being a verb? When did walking no longer equate to doing? When did walking not become enough?

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Joy: A Product of Thankfulness and a Provider of Freedom

I have been thinking a lot about JOY lately.

As I was getting my littles down for naps, the other day, I was struck by their joy. It seems so easy for them to find it and to express it. Just a smile or a tickle from me elicits free and wild laughs. Giggles that never end. They experience extreme and boundless joy when their dad comes home from work. They surprise me with the depths of their joy over simple and small blessings.

I find myself watching them and wondering: When was the last time that I laughed so free. When a simple act made me feel so joyful.

I don’t want to give you the wrong idea – I am a happy person. I find time for myself and I have the honor of being a stay at home mom. I love my life, my family, my home… But am I “tilt my head back with laughter” joyful?

JOY + THANKFULNESS

As I think on joy, I keep coming back to thankful. Shouldn’t a posture of thankfulness produce joy?

If I am truly listing and numbering those gifts, those blessings, the small and big ways that I am thankful – shouldn’t I be experiencing that same boundless joy? If I am thankful each day, shouldn’t I be overly and abundantly JOY-FILLED?

Maybe. And maybe not. I know that I do find and feel joy as I take the time to remember all the things I am thankful for. I know that I find joy in the act of remembering God’s faithfulness.

I think it’s the way joy looks. It can be harder to see joy in this stage of life. Between the constant movement, the interruptions, the watchfulness, the constant noise, the activities and schedules. Joy can seem fleeting. It almost feels like it’s hiding.

REMINDERS OF JOY

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine was at church. They had just had a baby and I was genuinely surprised to see them. And I was JOYFUL. I literally (and perhaps, embarrassingly) ran up the steps to sit near them, to hug them.

Then the sermon was about JOY. About how joy, blessing, comes after obedience. You know how I get message after message until I finally stop to listen. So here it was. Again. Something I had been thinking on myself, mulling over. Joy.

So I thought. I listened. I took notes. And I realized. I AM JOYFUL. God was, and continues to, show me joy. It is there, it is for me. And it is in my life. It is in my thankfulness list, and I am continually reminded of it as I add and continue to number my thankfulness.

JOY + FREEDOM

But what’s more, there is FREEDOM in JOY. There is freedom to lean in, to trust God. And to KNOW His blessing.

Psalm 97:1 (Yes, this is the Psalm I read today. If you haven’t read the Psalms before, I would love if you would join me in reading a Psalm, or 2, each day!) says this:

“The Lord REIGNS, let the earth REJOICE…”

It is so simple. Just 7 words. The Lord reigns… So rejoice! That’s it. There aren’t any constraints on joy, true joy. It doesn’t say – If the Lord reigns AND your life is easy and happy, THEN rejoice. No, I can find joy because God is in control. Period. That’s it.

I can be joyful because God is sovereign. I can find rest in His power, knowing that He is in control. And because God is in control, I can rejoice. And again, because He is in control, I have freedom.

My friend, Lori of the Boutelle Family, told me this week, after our feedback appointment for my sweet Boy Child (more about that appointment this week. You can read more about our journey, here), that it is okay to embrace the joy. To find freedom in it. I don’t know why, but sometimes, freedom can be a hard thing to embrace. It recognizes that you do not have the control you thought you did. Freedom can be hard. It can look different that you expected. But it feels…oh it feels JOYFUL. This week has been a roller coaster, but through it all, I have been challenged to be obedient. To find my joy. And to let it free me. And to rest in the God of All.

CHILDLIKE JOY

Now does my joy look different than my children’s joy? Sometimes. And that’s okay. I don’t find joy from climbing onto a chair. And the most difficult part of my day is not getting back down from said chair. We are different. Our goals, our knowledge, our tasks are different. Why wouldn’t we experience and express joy differently as well? And when I do feel that joy like a child, the joy I felt when I ran to my friend, it is equally beautiful and freeing. It reminds me of the joy I  felt when I was a little, myself. And in this instance, it reminded me of the beauty in community, the treasure of a friend, and the joy found in relationship.

Today, as I dug in the dirt, pulling weeds, preparing the gardens, my joy looked different. (And no, the irony that I was cleaning out the garden and removing the weeds, while thinking on my own heart and clearing away the lies, is not lost on me.) My joy rested. It was thankful. Thankful for this land to care for and for a job well done.

Though my joy may look differently than it did when I was little, it is still JOY. It is beautifully perfect because my joy can rest. It rests in obedience to my God. My joy is whole and unshakable because it KNOWS the God of the universe. Because He cares for me and loves me.

So I will continue to obey. To walk in faith. I will follow Him. I will continue to number my thankfulness. And I will continue to find and experience joy. Simple and pure JOY.

I hope you join me, as I choose joy. 

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Next week, I will again be hosting a link up with my friend Lori from The Boutelle Family. It will be about finding our quiet time, our me time. This is something I have really been embracing lately, and would love for you to join us! For more information about how the link up works, please visit our first link up