I had been looking forward to this day for months.
Just like when they were little.
Little children, little problems.
Today, big children, big problems.
We needed time away.
Time to focus on each other.
But my heart held a secret from him.
The moment we drove away,
I missed them all already.
(They all live on our block)
How could this be?
I had felt the need to get away from the chaos for so long.
I needed to just be a wife, and not a mom for a short amount of time.
He needed me to be just a wife and not a mom for a short amount of time.
This has happened time and time again,
since they were babies.
The chaos gets to us mamas and we become desperate for alone time. Desperate for time away just to gather our thoughts and feel sane again. The crying of little ones, the fighting toddlers, the cleaning and cooking and laundry and endless chores.
The noise level and continual talking.
The lack of adult conversation. The constant.
We feel our minds screaming inside to have some time with our husbands so we can feel like a wife again, like a woman again.
But when we finally get it~we miss them and suddenly we can’t remember all the bad, we only remember the good. The soft smell of their little heads, their kisses and hugs, their giggles, their smiles, their unconditional love, their joy at just being in our presence. We remember them snuggled into us, fast asleep and our hearts just want to burst.
And when they become adults, that mama life doesn’t get any easier. When your adult children are hurting, the pain in your heart manifolds itself into every area of your life, as does their joy. Even when they’re adults, it’s in a mama’s DNA to take care of her children but you can’t just put a bandaid on all the bad that they will go through. You feel it deeply because you know a kiss and a smile from mom won’t take that pain away any longer. It hurts a mama’s heart to the core. Not only can their hurts lay constant on your heart, but their stresses, their arguments, their jobs and spouses and children… all of it becomes bigger than life and as a mama, your heart just wants to make it all better~but you realize you can’t.
And you realize that it takes a toll. It can take a toll on you spiritually and if you aren’t careful, it can take a toll on your marriage. That weight was never meant for a mama to bear, it was meant to be carried by God. You realize your mama’s heart of worry has drowned out the heart of His word and all His promises.
And then you know,
you NEED that time alone with God,
because you aren’t God.
You can’t fix everything.
And you NEED that time away with your spouse, to reconnect with the one who has been in it with you for the long haul. Who loves your children as much as you do, but also needs that time away.
Mama, go away. Go away with God. Go away with your spouse. You will fight it. Your heart will feel guilty and the second you drive away, you will miss them terribly. But you NEED it. Your heart NEEDS it. Your spouse NEEDS it, and you both will be better for it. Figure out a way to get away, and make it happen. He will be a better husband and daddy for it and you will be a better wife and mama.
And so~I looked over at my husband as we drove in silence. He was smiling. He had no idea what my heart was feeling. I prayed and God reminded me of how much we needed this. I knew He was right. I needed to let go. I asked God to give my heart peace in leaving it all with Him and focusing on my relationship with Him, and our relationship as a married couple.
It didn’t take long. God’s good that way.
He gave me a comfort in that moment that this was what was needed. I would return home with a restored soul. With a better appreciation for the beautiful life God has given me. With a deeper love for my husband and a deep peace in my heart. I would be a better mama for it and my marriage would be that much sweeter.
So, I reached over,
I took his hand in mine and I smiled at him~
Because I knew it already was.
After I gave birth to my second child, I began hemorrhaging. Those moments in time are so vivid to me and yet, they almost feel like a dream~The team of nurses rushing me down to surgery, a cold surgical room composed of nothing but steel, the anesthesiologist telling me to count backwards, and then waking up next to my husband.
Of all the things I remember, there is one memory that stands out the most to me. The absence of fear and the incredible, overwhelming peace that washed over me as my last thoughts were~ I am going to die and I am going to wake up with Jesus.
Words cannot express the comfort I felt.
It will last with me my lifetime.
In that moment there wasn’t a single thing I could do to control that situation. My life was in the hands of God and in my weakness, He was my strength.
It’s easy to talk about fear and having faith when you’re on the other side of it looking back. As the saying goes “Easier said than done”. We might think our faith is strong, but in a split second life can change. In times like those, we don’t have the chance to say- “hold on Crisis, let me get out my bible and notes and uplifting music so I can be in the right frame of mind”. Our dependence is totally and completely in the power of God. This is why meditating on His word every single day is so important. He promises that His promises will stay with us in those split second times of crisis.
But what about the moments in our lives where time is not our friend? Where split seconds turn into weeks or even months? The moments that time allows us to get inside our head and become overwrought with worry and fear? The times we know we should be meditating on His words but we find ourselves constantly meditating on the problem instead?
This is where I have been the last few days.
The same child whose birth caused my faith to go into high gear in a matter of seconds is going through a trying time with her own unborn child.
As a mother, it’s times like these that I have no idea how people can lean on their own strength instead of the power and strength of God.
Because I would crumble.
I readily admit that I am weak.
Not only is it in a mother’s heart to worry and sometimes fear for our children, it’s in the heart of everyone who loves deeply. When we love deeply we will do anything to help the one we love. To take their pain away. To make everything okay again. To give them comfort and peace and joy.
Even though time has been tempting me to worry and to fear, even though the nights have been long and my heart hurts for my child~ I know that there is not a single thing I can physically do to change the situation, just like the day that she was born. The only thing I can do is to cling to my faith in God’s promises and place all those worries and fears (over her worries and fears) into His hands.
Because when we are weak, He is strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11
Because He loves us infinitely more than we could ever imagine. In fact, He loves my children infinitely more than I ever could.
Isaiah 49:15, 66:13
So I will praise Him through all of this. I will praise Him because no matter what happens, I know of His steadfast love for me. I know of His steadfast love for my daughter and for my grandchild who has yet to be born. I know that His Mercy is new every morning and that He is forever faithful. Lamentations 3:22-23
And I know that He is in complete control.
I am not~
But praise God because He is the I AM!
Exodus 3:14, John 14:6, 15:5
Today I want to encourage you. What is your heart and mind meditating on? The problem or the promises? Are you worrying or worshipping?
We need to come to grips with the fact that we are not in control and stop allowing fear and worry to control us by giving it our hearts and minds. Give it all to God. Believe me, I know it’s hard, but every time my mind starts meditating on anything besides His promises to me I know that I need to give it back to Him~
even if I have to repeat the process over and over again.
Because I know in my heart that He is the only One Who controls the outcome and that outcome will be what’s best because it’s given from the One Who gave everything for me.
Do you ever see people and try to picture what type of home they live in or the way they might decorate that home? Do you ever drive through your neighborhood and look at house after house and wonder what it looks like inside?
Maybe I’m a little weird, but I do.
When I listen to audiobooks, when I watch work out videos, when I read devotionals or even meet random people, I find myself picturing what type of home they might live in.
I’m really not sure why haha.
Maybe it makes me feel that if I knew, I would know that person on a more personal level. I guess I want to know them deeper than just a face on a screen or a voice on a podcast.
Recently I’ve done something way out of my comfort zone.
I’ve invited people in at the spur of the moment.
Into my home, my introvert safe place.
I was fine inviting people in on social media, hiding behind a screen. It’s so easy to stage your house~just shove all the stuff you don’t want people to see out of the camera’s view. Even better, you don’t have to actually see people’s reactions to your pictures after they’re posted.
I was okay with having people over, as long as I knew way in advance so that I could prepare. Even then I would stress.
I’m such a Martha. (Luke 10:41-42)
None of this spur of the moment thing.
As little as a year ago this was something I never would have done, because of fear.
Fear that my house wasn’t clean enough, but mostly just fear over what people would think.
I believed the lies I told myself~ if I invite people in they might think I’m bragging about my home, they don’t care about how I decorate. They don’t care about antiques. This is not Pinterest worthy. They might think I’m nuts for decorating this way… and on and on.
The lies were my escape route.
But God was nudging my heart.
Let them in Charisse. Just let them in.
And I realized it wasn’t just about my home. It was about me, and the fear I had over the perception I thought people would have of me. My dumb pride always getting in the way.
If you’ve followed along on my blog journey you know this “introvert thing”, and my worry over what people think is not something new to me. I’m continually sweeping that “hospitality thing” Christ talks about under the rug. (1 Peter 4:9, Romans12:13, Titus 1:8) It’s something God has really been getting on me about for a while now.
I’m a mess in progress with a Hope in heaven and a God of great grace.
And so, I took the plunge and at the spur of the moment with no tidying, with no cleaning, with no worry that my floors were covered with grass clippings or beach sand or that dirty dishes were in the sink, with no worry that maybe I had left my sports bra hanging on the bathroom doorknob or that one of my grandkids did not flush the toilet,
I let them in.
And then something funny happened, again and again and again opportunities came up and again and again I let them in. And every single time I was amazed at the gratitude, the smiles, the appreciation, the kind words. I felt a freedom, I felt a happiness, I felt a joy in the fact that my home was lived in and traces of my grandchildren were everywhere I looked, because my home was filled with love.
Just yesterday, on a whim I invited a sweet acquaintance in to see my home. I’ve known who she was for years and always thought “she seems to be the kind of person I’d like to get to know”. But that’s where it ended. I admired from afar. Introvert Charisse never got to know her.
And so I invited her in. I’m so glad I did.
She completely surprised me with her kind words~ “Who knew this was in Caseville! It’s beautiful! Do your neighbors know this is what your home looks like inside?”
Her last comment is what got me.
No, no they probably don’t. Because I’ve always convinced myself that they wouldn’t care.
After she left I really thought about it. Why had I convinced myself that others wouldn’t care to be invited in when I readily admit that I would LOVE to peek inside the homes of others?
Our homes are an extension of our hearts. Our safe place. Our comfort. That’s why I don’t necessarily think that the gratitude and smiles really had so much to do with opening my front door and showing people how I decorate, but more so with opening my heart and sharing that comfort with them.
Maybe you are the very opposite of me. Maybe you aren’t an introvert and thoroughly enjoy having people over all the time. Maybe it’s not hard for you at all. But sometimes I think it’s a little hard for all of us to truly open up our hearts. To be vulnerable with others and allow them to see that vulnerability~ sports bra, unflushed toilet and all.
And so I encourage all you introverts today~ open your home to others.
And to you extroverts~ good for you!! I strive to get to that place.
But for both~ open your hearts. Let others in. If we never open our hearts to others, we can never truly care for each other, pray for each other (Ephesians 3:14-21) or lean on each other.(Galatians 6:2) If we never open our hearts to others they will never see the goodness of God inside of us. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12) They won’t ever get to meet our Jesus Who lives there. (Revelation 3:20)
They won’t get to see His light and glory and love. (2 Corinthians 4:6, Matthew 5:13-16)
They will just see us.
The outside of a house. (Psalm 127:1)
Always wondering what it looks like on the inside.
Today I invite you. Come on in and let me show you around… 😊🥰
Big magic in the mundane, the big picture in a small frame, everything is sacred when you take time to notice, big love happens in the small moments....
Can I just be honest here?
Sometimes my adult kids really frustrate me.
When the frustration hits,
it’s usually due to worry.
Am I allowed to say that as a pastor’s wife?
Most of my kids read my blog posts.
Not sure how that will go 🤣,
but if they’re honest, they’re kids or spouses frustrate them now and then too.
I know I’ve said it before, but you mamas who think it’s so hard with little ones...
When they’re little it seems like their hearts are bursting with unconditional love for you, plus~ you get to tell them what to do. 😂
Sure, they might not obey every time, but when they’re really little, it’s SO much easier to teach them why your words of wisdom are so important.
And when they’re really little,
they usually listen.
I tend to let the “not listening” part of adult children really get to me. Often my feelings get hurt and I feel unloved when I don’t understand the direction they’re going, and it seems like they’re disregarding me as a parent and the things we taught them when they were little.
But then God gives me mama moments.
Moments filled with comfort. They might not be living under my roof anymore or doing things the way that I taught them, but if I’m truly praying for them, if I’m truly leaving my children in the hands of God and trusting Him, then I should not be worried at all. And He always ends up showing me just how loved I am.
This past Christmas was one of those mama moments.
The kids gave us a video they put together of pictures of our grandchildren set to music. Ten years earlier they gave us a similar video, but it was full of pictures from their own childhood-My husband watches that video all the time, and every single time he gets teary eyed.
So, we all jammed into my tiny 10’ x 12’ TV room to watch the new video. Some were standing, grandkids were on laps and the room felt like chaos.
But when the video started, magic happened~ silence filled the room as everyone watched.
As I watched.
I watched the video, but I also watched my adult children and their spouses. Every single one of them was wiping away tears as eyes were glued to the screen. They weren’t tears of sadness.
They were tears filled with love.
The love their hearts were feeling.
And man, my heart was full.
So much love filled that room.
God was in that room.
This was a big moment in a small frame and I don’t think any of them probably realized that at the time. But I did.
And God told my fretful, worrying mama heart that I was too often trying to hold on to this big picture and freaking out about what I thought life for my adult children was supposed to look like, when all the while He was giving me small frames to hold onto every single day in the mundane. Beautiful pictures inside those frames to show me how truly wonderful life with my adult children was.
I was trying to control what was inside that big picture instead of realizing that He is the only One who can. I was doing the same thing to God that I thought my adult children were doing to me. I wasn’t listening to what He had been teaching me all along, but instead I was doubting His love and goodness. I was doubting that He would take care of them.
That big moment in a small frame will forever be etched in my heart and I will look more often for those small frames that my life holds. Small frames God gives me every single day.
So moms of adult children, don’t fret, don’t worry, don’t let your heart hurt. Don’t feel unloved. I know it’s hard. I’ll probably never stop parenting or wanting them to listen to my advice, but if we’ve been praying for our children, if we’ve truly given them to God, then we can’t let the frustration and worry control us. Allow Him to hold your big picture. We might not ever see the finished portrait here on earth, but we can rest in the fact that our Heavenly Father is still perfecting every stroke. One day when we take our last breath and stand face to face with our Savior, He will show us that beautiful picture and it will be so much more glorious than we could have ever imagined.
Until then, enjoy all the beautiful small frames He hangs on the walls of your heart every single day~and trust Him.
Because those small frames hold big love.
I worry about tomorrow.
I know~that’s exactly what Jesus tells me NOT to do (Matthew 6:34), and yet I do it all the time.
I am a planner, but I also have control issues. That is a terrible combination. When I look at a future I cannot control, it scares me. I get anxious, I get stressed and I worry.
Funny thing is, I don’t really have control over anything. I have no control over next year or next month or even next minute. My mind tricks me into a false sense of security when I plan and have everything written down in a neat, orderly fashion. But, just because I have a perfect little list of what I want my life to look like doesn’t mean I have any control over any of it.
I know this, but somehow I always forget it.
God is the only One in control.
I remember the first summer after my last child graduated from college. It happened to be a very stressful time for me. On top of a multitude of other burdens I was carrying, Mike and I decided to renovate the upstairs kids bedrooms into our master bedroom and bath. I specifically remember calling my daughter several times and saying, “are you sure you’re okay with this?You will no longer have a bedroom here.” She promised she was fine with it. Florida was her home now. So, we began the work.
And then~ the day I was kneeling on the floor, scraping 100 years of carpet glue up, she called.
She was crying.
She was homesick and wanted me to try to come down to visit.
I talked to her a while and when I hung up~
I sat and cried.
I had so much on my plate, so many things on my little list that I wanted to accomplish and I desperately wanted to finish this project before the school year started. I was exhausted and overwhelmed, but my heart hurt for my daughter.
What was I going to do?
I did what I do way too often. I cried helpless tears and I stressed myself out. I didn’t give it to God, I didn’t ask Him for help. I had a pity party and worried for a week over that decision.
When I look back on it now I think it should’ve been a very easy decision to make.
Go see my daughter.
The bedroom could wait.
The responsibilities that were so heavy on my shoulders could wait, but sometimes when you’re in the middle of the storm everything seems like “too much” and you can’t think logically. You can’t see past the storm clouds to the rainbow of God’s promises beyond.
(Proverbs 3:5,6, Hebrews 13:5)
I wish that I had just stopped and said~ God show me and then give me the peace to leave it in Your hands knowing You will take care of it. (Philippians 4:7)
But I didn’t.
One week later, despite me and my worries, miracles happened.(Revelation 3:8) My daughter called to say she had prayed all week and felt God leading her to move back home, she just needed God to provide a job (and a bedroom 😂). That very afternoon a job was provided, before she even had a chance to look. A great job in our tiny town, where jobs like that aren’t available often.
Before I knew it, she was home.
Our bedroom was done.
(Her bedroom was moved downstairs)
The responsibilities were taken care of. The burdens were lifted one by one.
And God knew it all along.
He knew it when she called.
He knew it as I sat there crying.
He knew it as I worried day after day.
He knew it as I lay in bed unable to sleep.
Jesus tells me to focus on today because God has already taken care of all my tomorrows, and yet I find myself focusing on the tomorrows way too often.
If I had just trusted Him and given Him all that worry, all those burdens, all those tears~ all of it could’ve been avoided because in return He would have given me peace.
I can’t tell you the number of times God has done this in my life. Time after time after time He has shown me that He had the situation under control before it ever became a situation.
You would think I would have learned one simple truth by now~
God loves me and He will always take care of every situation in my life.
He knows all our weaknesses and wants us to be strong through Him, but somehow we think our strength is enough. It isn’t. It never can be.
(II Corinthians 12:9)
So my friend, this is a reminder to myself, because this past week I allowed this to happen yet again in my life.
And this is a reminder to you~
Whatever you are facing today that has you worried and stressed and anxious, please give it to God. He’s right there waiting and whispering~ “Find peace and joy in this very minute right now. Trust Me. I’ve got all your tomorrows already taken care of.” (I Peter 5:7,
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”
Psalms 46:1-3, 5
THIS~ HELPLESS, OUT OF CONTROL, MOM OF ADULTS~ PHASE.
Lately It seems as if I see more and more articles about the mom life and how hard it is.
How fast it goes.
I’ve read encouragement about everything from babies to teenagers and even advice as they leave for college or their happily ever after with the love of their lives.
There are so many tough transitions through all these phases, but I rarely read about this new phase.
This helpless, out of control, mom of adults phase.
I thought crying babies who wouldn’t sleep was hard. I thought their first day of school and kindergarten graduation was hard. I thought their first crush, their first heartbreak, their college prep, senior trip and last summer at home was hard.
When they went to college I cried my eyes out. When they got married I wasn’t quite ready.
But once they leave~
really leave and are on their own~
no one tells you how incredibly hard that is.
It’s hard because you feel like you no longer have any control whatsoever.
They don’t live under your roof.
You can’t protect them.
And just as it was so very hard when they were little and sick and crying, this is even harder. I’m sure all of you moms have faced one of these situations.
Suddenly they’re no longer tucked in upstairs, they’re hundreds of miles from home.
They don’t have a cough or a tummy ache, they have cancer.
They aren’t having a bad dream, they’re living a bad dream.
They didn’t have an adolescent boy break their heart. They had a husband break their marriage.
They didn’t lose their favorite baby doll. They lost a child.
There are no band aids and kisses that can heal that pain. Mama rocking them to sleep doesn’t make all the bad go away.
And this~ this is agonizing.
It’s in our mom DNA to make that pain go away. To make everything better. To whisper words of comfort. To hold them and sing lullabies. To fix every boo boo and dry every tear.
That’s what we’re supposed to do~
but we can’t.
No one ever warned me what a mother’s heart goes through.
Sleepless nights that don’t go away, no matter their age. They’re still your baby, and if they’re crying you are crying and your heart is shattered.
So what then? What does a mama do when all seems so hopeless. When all control is lost and we can’t do what a mama is supposed to do?
We realize that it was never really us to begin with.
It was God in us.
God in the touch of a mother’s hand. God in the whispers of her heart. God in the softness of her arms. God in the reassurance of her words.
God has never left them and He never will. He is the one who will be there now. Continuing to do all these things that we no longer can.
He will hold them. He will comfort them. He will whisper to their hearts. He will sing lullabies to their souls. They will never be alone. He will watch over them and wrap His loving arms around them. Trust Him that he will continue to do what He has been doing through you all along mama.
It isn’t easy. It’s very, very hard. We as mothers would take that pain and heart ache for our children a thousand times over if we could. But we can’t.
So now it’s time to give that pain and all the shattered pieces to Jesus.
Place that child in His tender, loving arms and watch Him do miracles that mamas do, but no longer can.
You know in your mama heart how deep your love for your children is. Hold on to that knowledge
His love is infinitely deeper than ours could ever be.
The other day while visiting my daughter I came across the stump of a tree they had cut down. It was the strangest thing~ sweet stickiness was bubbling up from inside that stump but the branches that were once attached lay brittle and lifeless. The beauty they once held had died.
I gazed across the yard at another tree. It was standing strong with its branches all in tact, glorious flowers budding from every limb~and I smiled.
I knew that I was like those limbs laying lifeless, because I hadn’t been attached to the strength of that Vine. With my dad being sick I’ve been emotional, tired, worried. I’ve let a cloud hover over my heart. I’ve let faith fall by the wayside of “what if’s”. I’ve allowed the struggles of life to take control instead of clinging to that Vine.
Jesus is that Vine. The Vine that never fails. He is immovable and strong. Always there.
And so I stop. I sit in the quietness of His presence. I ask everything of Him. I ask my Savior to speak to my heart. I ask Him to be my strength in the days ahead. I ask Him to renew my faith. I ask Him to show me life from His words so that I might bring glory to His name~
just like the glorious blooms of that beautiful tree across the yard.
Days later I watched as my dad held on to the cane I recently purchased for him. The older gentleman that I bought it from explained to me that it was unique in that~
It was made from the strong roots of a tree. And I smiled.
In that moment God’s glory was shown to me as my dad leaned on that vine. God whispered to my soul that not only would He always be my strength and support, He would be my dad’s as well.
Glorious, joyful flowers bloomed in my heart that day.
We cannot do this life if we are not attached to the Vine. All we need do is ask. Without Him we will be nothing but dead, brittle, lifeless branches.
I want His sweetness to stick to my soul and His Vine to be my strength.
I want His beautiful glory to make you smile.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
John 15:5-8, 11
SLEEPLESS NIGHTS OF A MAMA
We lived 700 miles away. Away from all family. I felt very alone. I didn’t have many friends, mostly just acquaintances. And I was tired. So tired. Mom wasn’t there to give me a break and Mike worked 6 days a week.
Our firstborn was almost a year old and I hadn’t slept through a single night in over a year. Not only had my uncomfortable, huge belly kept me awake before her birth, but after her birth she woke up (and stayed up) several times a night.
Every single night.
We tried everything. I cried more than I care to admit. Sheer exhaustion took over and I can remember thinking that I would give anything, anything for one night of uninterrupted sleep.
I couldn’t complain to anyone. The only phones we had were land lines and it was far too expensive to call home. There were no cell phones. There was no texting. There was no one to vent to.
So I turned to the only One I had in my loneliness. I complained to God. I cried out to Him and I finally admitted to the ladies at my church that I needed prayer. I was not super mom. I needed them to reach out to God on my behalf.
Once I gave it to God, once I leaned totally on Him and told Him I couldn’t do it anymore,
He told me~
“I can Charisse, I can do it for you.”
He whispered to my lonely, exhausted heart that I wasn’t alone and that I needed to trust Him through this.
It was then that I realized I had not been trusting. I had been feeling sorry for myself in my loneliness and sleep deprivation. I might have called out to Him in frustration and despair, but not in faith and trust.
So to all of you moms that are wondering~’How can I get through these baby years without losing my mind?’
The sleepless nights, the terrible two’s,
(or terrible teens), the empty nest or even the adult years of our children....
But He can.
Let go of the frustration and despair and give it to God. Once I truly did this I realized I was never really alone. When the world was dark and everyone was asleep, as I held her and cried~ He was right there by my side the whole time. His strength is limitless when we have no strength left at all.
Three more babies came after my first. There were many more sleepless nights. A lot of crying. Too much of Charisse and not enough of Christ. Thank God, His mercies are new every morning. He is faithful and even now when the sleepless nights of crying over my adult children may come, when the world is dark and I’m holding their problems in my heart, I can rest in Him, trusting that I am not alone and neither are they.
He is right there by their side.
Psalm 121:2-3 💗
I CAN ONLY WRITE THE SONGS I NEED TO HEAR
Can I just be honest here~
I have fear. I get anxious. I don’t have answers to the hard questions. At times I struggle knowing what I should post or how I should pray, and sometimes I don’t think I even know what to think.
I’m not strong. I worry I’m doing this life wrong. I’m doing this mom thing, this wife thing, this pastor’s wife thing, this whole blog thing~wrong.
I have doubts. Who am I to write anything? I’ve been accused of overthinking. How can I tell others what they ought to think?
I get scared. Life is going too fast. The older I get the weeks seem to spiral past me like a movie on fast forward.
At times I find myself wishing I could be free of worry and doubt. Free from the overthinking and fear. Free from the “what~ifs” and “should~haves”.
And I’m scared that if I share this, everyone will think I’m a little bit crazy. Or a whole lot crazy. No one will want to read the words that I write.
God won’t get the glory.
But today, as I read HIS words to me, He tells me something different~
He tells me I am set free~
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
He tells me I don’t need to feel enslaved by my mess ups.
He tells me I don’t need to be scared~
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba (Daddy), Father.”
He tells me He is my Daddy and I can cry out to Him, day or night because I am His child~
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: “
He tells me He will be glorified~
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
He tells me He is always there to help me, when I don’t know what to write or think or pray, He knows~
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
He tells me that everything will work out~
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
That He is for me, and that’s all that matters~
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
And that nothing that I do or don’t do, nothing that I think, nothing that I say, no fear or worry~~
NOTHING can separate me from His love~
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
And that through Him, I will conquer~
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:2, 15-18, 26-28, 31-32, 35, 37-39
So, that’s what I will think. That’s what I will say. That’s what I will write. That’s what I will post. Because they are His words, and not mine,
And that’s what I will believe.
There is a sphere.
It continually turns, as water gently cascades across its surface.
It sits in a waiting room and when my children were younger, the first time they saw it they were in awe.
It was limitless.
It was powerful.
It was beautiful~yet, with the simple touch of their tiny hand they could stop it all.
Without realizing it, we often limit God’s power in every hard situation we face. We compartmentalize what we believe God can and can’t do in our lives. In our messes. In our anxieties, in our fears, in our unknowns and in the world around us.
We might hear the trite words~
“God does everything for a reason”. Or~”you just need to pray about it more”. Although meant to be, these aren’t words of comfort. They are often pet answers from a sincere heart that has no answers.
Perhaps a heart that hasn’t truly been intimate with God’s power.
And we limit God.
God can do anything.
Just like that sphere, when our hands interfere and our hearts disbelieve-God’s beautiful glory no longer cascades across our lives and the lives around us.
And we ask “why God, why?”
And the whole while our sweet Father is telling us-“lift your hand of disbelief away and allow my power and my glory to wash over you. Let Me show you what I can do in your life.”
In the waiting.
That job situation. That school situation. That hurting marriage. That crying infant. That rebellious teenager. That health scare. That loved one’s illness. That unknown future.
I used to watch my children as their tiny fingers touched that sphere and think about how big they looked next to it, as if they had the world in their hands. They held the power to control its beauty.
And then, I couldn’t help but think~
My God is so much bigger.
The reality of our minute stature hits me hard~
He holds our world in His hands and we hold His power in our hearts. With Him, anything is possible.
Lift your hand. Let go. Watch God’s power, glory and beauty cascade over your life and just believe.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.”
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”
“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
“But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.”
“And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God.”
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”
“I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.”
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
"I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders." Yes I've said that. Too often. In reality it isn't true at all, especially considering what other people are going through in their lives compared to my own. My problem is plain old worry. Why do I allow myself to go there? But I do. Worry about my dad~is he ok? Is he lonely? Does he like living here? Is he eating good? Worry about my kids~are they getting along? When will they feel better? Are their marriages doing well? Are they spending time with God? Worry about my husband~will his knees ever feel better? Is he going through too much stress? Is he worried about finances? (yes, I worry that he worries 🙄) worry about my grandchildren, my brothers, Mike's family, my church family and the list goes on. For some silly reason I have it in my head that it's my responsibility to make sure that they are all happy and healthy and life is a bed of roses. I want everyone to get along and I want everyone happy. The more I add to the pile in my head, the more I feel I am sinking and can't climb out. Mike told me that worry is straight up fear and God clearly tells me in His word that we shouldn't be afraid. If you think about it, it's so true. I'm afraid of bad things happening in my loved ones lives. Things I have no control over. I can't make Mike's knees better any more than I can make my children's health issues go away. I can't control things. But I am a controller and when I can't be in control, I worry. I've read so many devotionals where godly women tell me not to worry, and I often find myself thinking~"easy for you to say" But that's just Satan trying to convince me that my issues are legit and these women don't know the half of it. My issues aren't legit. They are issues that should be placed in the hands of God and left there. I'm selfish when it comes to those issues and like a child with a toy, I keep taking them back. So what's the answer? It's work harder. Not on the worry, but on the Worship. Continually Worship. Continually, all day, every day, bring it to God. Tell Him all of it. Tell Him you are sorry that you keep taking it out of His hands and holding it tight in your own. Ask Him for help. Ask Him to help you love Him more and more and learn to let Him be in control. It sounds so easy on paper, but we as women know it's not. That's why it has to be continual. Often my granddaughter Ellie will ask me to hold on to a toy of hers until she gets home after school. She always instructs me-"don't let Clara get it" and as soon as she is off the bus she asks "did you keep my toy safe? Did Clara get it?" Her asking never bothers me because I love her so much. I just smile and tell her- "no, Clara didn't get it, I kept it safe". Our great God loves us so much that He doesn't mind one bit if we bug Him all day long and ask Him for help in giving Him our worries and fears to hold on to. He just smiles and says-"let me keep this for you. I'll take good care of it". Let's let Him do just that.