Succeed on Purpose

Part of just wants to start this post with another typical “It’s been a while,” but I think we all can see that clearly. In some sense, I kind of started out that way anyway. Oh well ūüôā

I just needed to write tonight.

This season is all consuming and I won’t really catch any long-term reprieve for a while. I work a job where I support others, so all day long I am meeting other’s needs whether big or small. Honestly, even though I can daydream about a job where I can read my homework all day long, I actually find it incredibly energizing to help people in my office who truly need the help. Not the mundane, boring stuff that anyone can do, but the stuff that I am particularly suited to help with. Those busy days when I am strategically solving problems, putting out small fires, using my writing skills, or lightening the load of one of my bosses are my favorite kinds of days… I wouldn’t want my days to be any other way…

I also come home to a little boy who looks to me to meet all of his needs. He brings me his shoes. He comes to me for snuggles and asks for his milk cup when he is getting tired. He now says “thank you” to me whenever I do anything for him and it’s incredible to me how much he looks to me for his physical, mental, social, and emotional needs. He is in that typical toddler stage where he LOVES his Mama and wants ME and I would not want it any other way…

Chad has learned how best to support me in this time and I could not do this season right now without him, but even he is his own person with his own needs and it’s a hard balance to find the time to be his wife, be his friend, be his support, and give him the time he needs to be himself when I rely on him¬†so much¬†right now. We’re being forced to communicate better, be more selfless towards one another, and look for the small ways to show we love each other in this season of very, very limited down time. We’re growing together and I wouldn’t want it any other way…

And then I am a student and my professors want so much from me right now because dammit I am in grad school and grad school is supposed to be demanding, so I just buckle up and do what I need to do. I am being challenged. I am learning things. I am navigating difficult waters, but “nothing worth having comes easy” and¬†I wouldn’t want it any other way…

And so here I am drowning in the chaos of my own life… by choice.

I fondly remember when I used to be able to take a great novel to the Starbucks patio on Barry road and read for hours on end with not nearly enough sun screen. I remember when Chad and I could just go catch a movie because we wanted to and that that didn’t require any planning other than showtimes and ticket pick up. I remember when weekends were spent with friends and long conversations with those friends about everything and nothing.

I know that this is a season. I won’t always be an admin. I won’t always have a toddler. I won’t always rely on Chad so much as I do now. I will one day have friends again and quality time and deep conversations.

Until then, I am just managing more stress than I let on and trying to remain positive even though that is difficult for me.

I am tired.
I am drained.
I am sleep deprived.
I am lonely.
I am angry.
I feel guilty.

I have so many needs that are not being met, but I am taking things one day at a time right now. This is a season of growth, and perseverance, and strength. I have never been so busy in my life, but I have gone through hard times and I know now just how much I am capable of.

I am not lucky to be where I am or have what I have. I am thankful to have been given what I have and I have worked hard to get here…

I was inspired recently by a story of a young girl who with dedication, commitment, and hard work achieved so much at a very young age and was recently named “the most accomplished performer of UNO’s Division I era.”The thing is, she came from a long line of accomplished siblings because their parents taught them that with hard work and commitment, you can achieve anything.

I want to teach that to Travis. I want to model that for him.
It might be hard, but it will be worth it…

9a776cdd60521ccc5eaf96b32dab47e1

 

Advertisements

Joy Comes in the Morning

We just bought a crib and dresser for our son.

It has been a long time since I have written and so much has changed. My last post ironically was about my new tattoo and the meaning behind it to remind my heart to have courage in fearful times because once I am out of the darkness I will realize that with God holding me there was never anything be afraid of at all. What a beautiful thought, right?

Excerpt from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which was in my last post:

‚ÄúIn a few moments the darkness turned into a greyness ahead, and then, almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been. They blinked their eyes and looked about them. The brightness of the ship herself astonished them: they had half expected to find that the darkness would cling to the white and the green and the gold in the form of some grime or scum. And then first one, and then another, began laughing.‚ÄĚ

And that is exactly how I feel right now…. as I feel this sweet baby boy doing flips in my belly.

We cannot see in the darkness. We cannot know for sure where we are going or what is going to happen. We fear the worst and try to hold onto hope with weak and shaking hands. It is only¬†once we have left the darkness and step into a new season of life and hope that we’re able to look back on the dark times and see every single breathtaking second that God was with us. Eventually the darkness dissipates and we can see more clearly.

Joy comes in the morning indeed.

There are a lot of songs on Christian radio right now that make me change the station because they don’t have a ton of depth or they’re just plain annoying. To be honest, most of the annoying songs are by Mandisa (which I know a lot of people like??), but there was a song on the radio a few days ago by her that captured my heart….. ¬†it said:

“When the waves are taking you under, hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger… stronger.
The pain ain’t gonna last forever and things can only get better
Believe me, this is gonna make you stronger”

I have heard this song before, but it really hit me this time. I have been held in the arms of my Savior while going through one of the hardest times in my life thus far and I can look back now and see how it made me stronger. I am a stronger person and I will be a stronger mom for having experienced the grief of infertility.

Hard times are inevitable and I will probably experience hard times again in my lifetime. Suffering does not discriminate and pain continually finds everyone…but hope and peace and deep, unshakable joy can only come from Christ. Everything else used to pacify pain and suffering is temporary and shallow.

The only way to get through¬†suffering and find purpose in it, is to experience your pain while leaning into the arms of the One who can wipe away every single tear…. a mere glimpse into the life to come.

– – –

“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;¬†perseverance, character; and character, hope.¬†And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.¬†You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ….”
Romans 5:3-6
image00009

“Courage, Dear Heart…”

When Chad asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I don’t think he thought I was serious when I said I wanted a new tattoo. ūüôā

I got my last tattoo nearly 10 years ago in March of 2005, but I have been thinking about getting a 2nd one for the past 2 years or so.

I don’t tend to get¬†things permanently affixed to my body unless they’re thoroughly thought out and have significant meaning to me. I spent a while trying to think¬†of a great way to not only reflect on the growth I have experienced over the past 3 years, but to also reflect the positive change in my heart as I look ahead to the future.

I stumbled upon this quote on Pintrest by one of my favorite authors: C.S. Lewis and realized how perfect it was.
(I also used it in a blog post not too long ago!)

fafb81fb2d0b777dcd914cc753bde28d

This quote is from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

The context is this:

Lucy and the others are on a ship heading into dark, unknown waters. Everyone is scared and worried that Aslan had led them in the wrong direction. (Oh, wow! How many times I have had this very thought!)

At one point in the midst of some turmoil, Lucy¬†whispers, “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.”

After she whispers this, C.S. Lewis so perfectly writes:

“The darkness did not grow any less, but she began to feel a little‚ÄĒa very, very little‚ÄĒbetter.
‘After all, nothing has really happened to us yet,’ she thought.”¬†

Then Lucy hears a whisper in¬†reply: “Courage, dear heart” and she knew it was Aslan whispering to her.

I just love this part of the book so much because so often in my life, and probably in yours too, life seems dark and full of turmoil. How many times have we questioned where God was in the midst of our confusion, our fear, and our pain?

Those that don’t know the voice of God shake their fists to the heavens and cry out – demanding a reply and a rescue! What I have come to learn slowly, but surely over the past several years is that God is so very near to the broken-hearted. He is a breath away and has not abandoned us. Sometimes the darkness remains around us, but his gentle whisper calms our fears and comes to us in our pain.

The call to have courage is a steep one.

Courage is not easily grasped.
Courage means¬†that when your circumstances don’t change at all that you still trust, you still hope, and you still believe.
Courage waits for that quiet voice to whisper and calm our hearts when our world spins out of control.
Courage knows that a brighter day is coming and that our response should¬†just be to take our Father’s hand as he leads us through and eventually out of the darkness.

After Lucy hears Aslan whisper to her to have courage, Lewis goes on to write:

“In a few moments the darkness turned into a greyness ahead, and then, almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been. They blinked their eyes and looked about them. The brightness of the ship herself astonished them: they had half expected to find that the darkness would cling to the white and the green and the gold in the form of some grime or scum. And then first one, and then another, began laughing.”

This is exactly the hope that I cling to…That after all this darkness has passed me, that I will find myself in a place more beautiful and more bright than I could have ever dreamed possible. I am not there yet, but I know that day is getting closer…

It takes courage for me to keep hoping.
It takes courage for me to keep dreaming and believing.
It takes courage for me to undergo a procedure or stick myself in a needle for medicine to help me ovulate.
It takes courage to try again and again.
It takes courage for me to fight the bitterness that so often threatens to rear it’s ugly head.
It takes courage for me to tune out the voices of those who speak against the hope my heart clings to.
It takes courage for me to trust that He knows why I am here and He knows where I am going even when I cannot see.

My first tattoo was meant to be a reminder to me that love is difficult, selfless,¬†and requires sacrifice. It was a reminder not only of Christ’s loving sacrifice for me, but the loving sacrifice he calls me to show others.

In the past few years, with all that I have gone through and all that still lies before me, I want the reminder of this difficult season, the reminder of the strength I’ve found in Him, and the reminder of the hope He gives me to be permanent:

20141221_010838_2

20141221_010705_1

Click here to read the full excerpt from Chap. 12 of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Love is Patient

Several weeks ago, I made a mistake. I got impatient with the way my life was. I got impatient with someone. I wanted more than I was being given and I was exhausted from being in a season of want and wait for years. I word vomited and immediately regretted it. These things happen. However, like all things of this nature, once it was “out there” I could not pull it back. It has been weighing on me ever since.

Have you ever made a mistake and said or written things that you wished you could take back? Have you ever let the ugliest parts of you be seen and it was not received very well and everything seemed irreversibly different since then? Have you ever wished for more, longed for more, dreamed of more, and felt the ache of that longing? Have you ever felt misunderstood or have you ever misunderstood someone else?

Have you ever not loved someone as well as you should?

I have been thinking so much about love lately.


I have a family that can’t seem to love each other longer than a few days.
It feels hopeless.

I have friends who I love with my entire being and who love me back right where I am for exactly who I am.
It is beautiful and precious.

I have a husband who I try to love so very well, but because we live together I
often make mistakes or say things I wish I could take back.
Thankfully, he makes mistakes too and we both try to be intentional about
forgiving each other every single time, no matter what.

I have friends with completely different love languages than me.
It is a struggle to remember that others give and receive love differently than I do
and I fail often to allow them to love me in their own way.

I have people I could love so much better than I do.
Jesus, help me love like you do.


You see….my struggle sometimes is that love is so entirely sacrificial and can, therefore, become so entirely unbalanced by either party. Yet the sacrifice requires a gracious heart that endures the imbalance and loves others anyway.

Screenshot_2014-12-10-12-25-03_1

A lot of people make a big deal about “boundaries” and “setting expectations” so that¬†they¬†don’t get taken advantage of. I agree with this in part and then disagree with this as well. If someone is being abusive to you, then absolutely you should set up boundaries and distance yourself from them. You are precious and under no circumstances do you deserve to be verbally, emotionally, mentally, sexually, or physically abused.

However, I disagree with setting boundaries just when you don’t get what you feel is owed to you – what you feel you deserve. Grace, love, and mercy are given to you freely without you having to do anything to earn them. You don’t deserve them. You’re not owed them. They’re just yours when you agree to receive them. Christ laid down his life for the people who mocked and scourged him. They rejected him and he gave. Grace is relentless and unwavering.

I LOVE this C.S. Lewis quote that so encapsulates the sacrificially loving and patient heart of God towards us:

Screenshot_2014-12-10-12-20-36_1

Do you know what 1st Corinthians lists as the 1st attribute of love?? Patience.

Love is patient.

Love waits for people.
Love waits for the reward, even if it will only come after this life has faded away.
Love is gracious and understanding when people don’t love you well.
Love is being patient with yourself when you fail to love people patiently.
Love is beginning each day with a heart that CHOOSES to remain open, humble, loving, and hopeful.
Love doesn’t give up on people just because they’re not meeting your expectations.
Love isn’t demanding.

So today, I will choose to be patient with others and with myself.
I will pray to become more patient. More gracious. More understanding of others. More willing to wait.

I will wait in hopeful expectation for deeper intimate friendships, for family peace, for the child I long to hold in my arms, for the day when I will see my Granny once again, and for the coming of the One who can settle all the turmoil and chaos of longing in my heart with just one glance of His eye. I will choose to love despite my shortcomings and despite the shortcomings of others. I will not lose heart even though that would be so very easy to do. I will not waver in my faith even though the circumstances around me mock me with their unmet expectations.

I will try my best, despite my failings, to love patiently through His strength as He enables me to give this gracious, patient love to others even when I feel depleted and empty. I will give all of me and He alone will fill me.

Screenshot_2014-12-10-12-20-47_1