Reset and Renew

Reset and Renew

Create in me a clean heart. Renew within me a right spirit.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again just in case you thought the magic fairy sprinkled perfect fairy dust on me since I last posted…

I’m not perfect. I am a Christian. I love Jesus, but I am not perfect. I mess up. I try to do things on my own. I am humbled by sin and the need to repent. I get it wrong sometimes. I am hard on myself and then try to control my circumstances which causes anxiety. I ran from that word for a long time feeling like I should be stronger, have more faith, be more thankful, wear a constant smile. I don’t like to be vulnerable with people because I don’t trust they won’t use it against me later or talk about it/me when I am not around.

YET, I feel called to write and share with others sometimes. Talk about a conundrum. THEN, I struggle to always share what’s on my heart because it feels too exposed and I believe you like to read positive encouraging messages, not the complaints or hardships of life. I mean, that’s everywhere, right?

I haven’t shared as much recently for those very reasons.

I post of my sweet boys because truly, being their mom is my greatest joy. But I mess that up too. In fact, I’ve had a particularly hard week because Randen asked me some really hard questions this week and prefaced it with, “Mom, I know you’ll always tell me the truth…” so there I was having a conversation with him I felt he was a bit young for, praying the entire time that I was being the Mom he needed that ultimately pointed him to Jesus and praying God would pick up where I lack with him. Pretty sure I messed it up.

Anxiety. For some reason, I have struggled with anxiety probably since my teens, but I didn’t call it that. Since Beckham was born, it’s been a bit more unmanageable. See, previously I had some things going on in life that I could attribute anxious feelings as being “normal” because most people would struggle walking through those experiences. But since Beckham has been born, literally nothing was that “wrong” so why was I struggling inside? I can’t really explain the guilt that followed the anxiety. I prayed and prayed, read and read, cried alone, had panic attacks, and felt like the most ungrateful failure after those panic attacks. What’s wrong with me? He’s all I wanted and I love him with my whole being. When someone suggested it was all of the change, I hated that because I love everything about the changes he has brought to our family. So, I finally admitted it and asked for some help. And guess what? It’s getting so much better. Don’t let your pride trap you. It’s ok to admit you need some help time to time. I doubt I’m alone with anxiety.. maybe we can share more in that space together later.

But sometimes I try to hide the fact I’m not perfect from God. I realize it’s crazy. He knows everything already. So yesterday while praying for Randen’s peace, praying I answered his questions correctly, I literally felt overwhelmed. Just exhausted. I couldn’t even pinpoint the root of the feeling, but It was uncomfortable. I prayed God would help me reset. That was literally my word. “Lord, please just reset me. Reassure me that you’re here, that I’m doing ok in life. Just reset me.” I got a notification on my phone from the Bible app, and it was Psalms 51:10. …renew a right spirit within me. It isn’t the right spirit to feel I’m alone or on my own. It isn’t the right spirit to feel like I need to hide from God. It isn’t the right spirit to focus only on my shortcomings. It isn’t the right spirit to have pride. The verse gave me such peace because God knew, HE KNEW, sometimes we would have to reset and he would have to renew us. When I fall short, he is willing to hit the reset button. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

I shared alllll that (sorry it was a bit of a ramble) to say this. If you need to renew and reset, do it. It’s good for the soul. Take a moment alone. Confess it all, and pray Psalms 51:10, that God will create a clean heart and renew the right spirit within you. Hit the reset button. Its ok to be vulnerable with God because he will never use it against you. You’re safe there. He will take it, hold it, and help you walk through it. If you need some help, ask for it. There’s not an ounce of shame in that. If you don’t know who to talk to, message me. I’d love to listen. I pray for every single reader all the time! I pray you feel less alone and encouraged.

“We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dess

So, so much love my friends!

(Thanks for the image, Google!)

Your Sunday is Coming

Your Sunday is Coming

Have you ever thought about what Mary felt like during the three days Jesus was in the tomb?

I wonder if she questioned God. I wonder if she felt anger? I wonder what lies the enemy whispered to her? You foolish woman. You believed in a God who allowed your son to be crucified…

Or was her faith above all other humans because she was able to raise the King of Kings? Did he explain how it would be to her? Did she know the ending, and therefore was anxiously awaiting his return instead of mourning his death?

I have always focused on the death of Jesus and his resurrection. I have never given much thought to the three days in between. This year I feel God has slowed me down and allowed me to focus on the comparisons between those three days and life.

Have you ever lived through a devastating event? Devastating in general or devastating to your life as you knew it. An event that you knew the instant you experienced the first second of it, you would never be the same.

I’ve lived through several moments that instantly brought me to my knees and changed me forever…losing my father and two phone calls that I remember physically breaking my heart, are the experiences I most often associate with this feeling. I remember thinking I will never ever be the same. I will never know joy like I did prior to this day. The last moment I felt this pain, it wasn’t the heartbreak alone that crushed me. It was knowing the season that would follow. “The Three Days”.

I knew the days would be dark. Lonely. Angry. Depressed. Anxious. Scary. Sad. Confusing. I am thankful to say that sometimes during those seasons I leaned on Jesus and allowed him to comfort me. Other times, I’m sad to say, I allowed myself to feel forsaken by God and leaned on myself to numb the pain. (My experience has taught me to always lean on Jesus, friend. You will fail yourself in those moments.) That waiting period, the “in between” time, the days, months, or even years when you don’t know how it will work out, how it will ever be good again, are SO hard. You may feel forgotten. You may believe that no one cares and you will never wear a genuine smile again.

If you find yourself in the three day wait when your dream feels dead, you’re feeling the sting of rejection, the fresh insecurity, the devastation of loss, the betrayal of love, the loneliness… if you’re trying to stumble your way through the dark and you’ve prayed for a sign from God that He is listening. You’ve asked if He even cares, if he even hears you.

Please hear these words, “Though it feels hopeless right now, SUNDAY IS COMING.”

Jesus died a horrific death on a cross. He was put in a tomb. Three days later, when the tomb was checked, he. was. not. there. He had risen from the dead! He didn’t stay there in a dark tomb and neither will you! He came back to us and with him, he brought faith, hope, Love, and victory! It is good news! What should have been forever…was only temporary.

You may be in the terrible trenches that Mary laid in while her son hung on a cross. You may be in the dark isolation many felt while he was in the tomb, but Sunday WILL come.

After navigating those dark times, I can tell you this, I am not the same. I wondered if I would ever be as happy again. Truth, I have joy. I wondered if I could love again. Truth, I love deeper. I wondered if the pain would ever ease. Truth, it has and the peace is even sweeter.

It gets better. You, my dear, will get through this. These “three days” are temporary.

It may be dark now, but Sunday is coming!

Love, Amy

I swear I’m not ignoring you. I’m just a mom.

I swear I’m not ignoring you. I’m just a mom.

Holy moly I love him, but I forgot what it was like to chase a baby at the beach.

My oldest is turning 8 in two weeks so it’s been a while. Last week we went to Florida for spring break. Yay! I had a book ready to be read, coffee ready to be drank, naps ready to be taken, shopping ready to be done, ideas ready to be written, and r.e.l.a.x.a.t.i.o.n. on the agenda.

Then, we arrived.

I lathered two children in sunscreen and myself because as you know, aging sucks and your girl doesn’t tan like she used to. I packed for what felt like an overnight stay, and headed to the beach. We haul it up the stairs, down the stairs, set up an umbrella, unfold the chairs, set up a little play station complete with bucket, shovel, toys, and sand. I sit myself down and then put Beckham down. Nope. He starts crawling away so I say his name. He stops and immediately puts his hand in his mouth. He cries because sand in your mouth is disgusting. I pick him up and try to rinse it off. Repeat x 100 for approximately one hour before my husband caves and yells, “Nap Time!”. That subs me in to pass the ball with my oldest while I pass the baby off to his ole dad. The joys of multiple children!

Don’t get my wrong, I love it… a lot.

But this vacation served as a visual to the reality that is my life.

I don’t call anyone back in a timely manner. Same with responding to texts. I’m more forgetful. I feel like a full time mama, full time teacher, half time wife, and barely part time anything else, including friend.

It’s my season of life right now. I’m not complaining. I’m trying to remind those of you who are removed from this stage and think I’m ignoring you, that I’m certainly not… not on purpose. I’m writing to high five those of you that are fellow diaper chasers like me. I love passing a mom who puffs a breath and gives me a knowing look while carrying her screaming kid under her arm. We mentally fist bump and say, “I hear ya, girl. Keep on keepin’ on!”. I’m also writing to myself so that I remember this feeling in a few years when some babies I’m praying for make their appearances in my friends’ lives.

Trust me, I want to talk, meet you out, laugh, shop, attend a book club, work out, and all the things. I DO. But right now I can’t do that most of the time. I make time for myself and for my people, but it’s different. It’s often distracted and in short spurts. I’m so sorry. I love you no less. In fact, I love you MORE because you get it and don’t hold it against me.

This season is BUSY. I’m chauffeuring one to sports and trying to prevent the other from eating legos, but it’s still me in here. I’m just their mama first.

I know one day I’ll be sitting still and wish I was on the move with my kids. I know I may feel sad about it. I also know I’ll call up one of my friends and meet them for chips and salsa or read a book while taking a bath. I don’t dread a little quiet time.

For now, I’m here, and it’s fun. It’s different. It’s selfless. It’s busy with little to show except a pile of laundry, sink of dishes, a well rounded kid, and chubby cheeked baby that survived another day.

Enjoy it without an ounce of guilt, but heaps of grace! Every stage of it. ❤️

Love you friends!

Amy

Just love.

Just love.

Many of us have a chapter in our life story that we aren’t exactly proud of. We may or may not acknowledge it. We may laugh at it, cringe at it, cry at it, delete it from memory. But it’s still there. Those closest to us know about it, may have even been our partner in crime. Or maybe they don’t, and it’s the secret you keep locked away and pray the box is never reopened.

Thinking back on that season(s), I have a question for you. Did you know you weren’t in a good place? I would say the majority of us knew we weren’t living the way we should. No one needed to point it out to us. Yet, some did. Them pointing it out didn’t change you or your behavior. In fact, it probably made you avoid that person. It probably made you feel shame, embarrassed, judged, angry, unworthy, inadequate, like a failure etc. Those feelings likely confirmed the beliefs that made you compromise your standards in the first place.

What should we do when we love a person who is not making positive life choices? What can make your voice be heard, your opinion matter, your loved one see the error of their ways? What can change things? Love.

It’s the answer, friends. Wanna know how I know? Love NEVER fails.

I used to be the one to freely offer my opinions to family and friends I disagreed with. I pointed out their sins. I didn’t do this to be judgmental. I did this out of fear. Fear they would mess up their life, fear they would step out of God’s will, fear that if I didn’t verbally disagree with them then they would think I condoned that behavior.

Guess what? God has not given us the spirit of fear. So that fear didn’t come from him. It left my family/friends feeling distant from me and judged. The exact opposite of how I want them to feel.

The take away I learned from those experiences is to shut my mouth and show my love. Let my actions show them I love them NO MATTER WHAT. Let my actions show I have faith they will figure it out. Let my actions show my true beliefs. Let my love resemble Jesus’.

That is so much easier to say than do. Shutting my mouth isn’t always my first reaction. But they don’t need to hear it from us. Chances are they already know whatever we are going to say. They just need us to show up wherever they are on their journey and say, “Hey, I see you and I love you.” No ands, ifs, or buts. The people I remember from my wilderness seasons are the people who laid down on the floor with me and said, “I’ll stay here with you until you can stand.” They’re the people who didn’t quote the scriptures that confirmed my sins, but quoted the scriptures that said God would never leave me and his mercies were new every morning. Those people’s faces were arrows that pointed me back to Jesus.

They were THERE. So, when the moment came that I was ready to ask for help, naturally, I asked them. They were gentle, yet very honest.

That’s the moment you should use words, friends.

Praise God we aren’t called to be the decider of fates. We are called to love people like Jesus loves us. Think about it.. if you are saved, it isn’t the fear of hell that has kept you, or the joy of denying your flesh. No, it is the relentless love of Christ. He pursued you. He chose to die for you even in your sin. He is the one who will lay down on the floor beside you and say, “Even now, I believe you are worth it.” That unconditional love is the only thing strong enough to keep us. It must be shared.

Remember, everyone is on their own path, their own time frame, their own journey and it may not look like yours so don’t try to compare it to your own . Pray for them and have faith that the God who saved you will also lead them out of their darkness. ❤️ When I truly decided to believe God would handle the “rest”, it became easy to live in love.

Love, Amy

** This blog is not directed toward those who find themselves in physically, emotionally, or mentally abusive relationships. Love does not always mean you stay. I have resources for you if you need help. ❤️

Second chance.

Second chance.

A few years ago, my husband, Brent, and I were going through a really difficult time battling infertility. It had put a strain on both of us personally and our faith. We were referred to a specialist and he told us our first son’s easy breezy conception could not be explained, and that while it wouldn’t be impossible for us to conceive again, it would be wise not to get our hopes up. Those words landed like a ton of bricks in my chest.

I remember walking out of his office feeling defeated and full of doubt. I sat in the car and tried to wrap my head around possibly not having another child. Inside my heart, I longed for the baby I knew was meant to be mine.

In that moment, I felt God speak to me. It was not in an audible voice, but a thought that was not my own that made my heart beat wildly. I felt him say to share the journey with all of you. What? Now? I immediately refused. I used what our doctor had said less than 10 minutes ago as the bullet points for my argument. Remember, the “don’t get your hopes up part”?! That doesn’t seem like a good time to talk about hope to others. I felt God’s response was, “I am your hope”.

I went back and forth for several days. This season of my life was HARD, and though I am not proud of it, my faith had taken a hit. It seemed like the worst possible time for me to try to share anything with anyone. It’s easier to share when your tank is on full, a little harder when you’re running on E.

I convinced myself it was too personal and I was just being private, but honestly I was afraid I would not get pregnant and that I would look stupid for declaring to all of you that I would. I doubted God.

Fast forward through medications, minor procedures, MANY tears,  and an IUI later, my family and I were driving home. Brent mentioned that he wanted an “egg dog” from Hillbilly Hotdogs (yes, that is a thing). I gagged on the spot.

Could it be???

I was so afraid to get my hopes up at this point. I can’t even count the number of negative tests I had taken. I told Brent I was thirsty and ran into a store for a “drink” … aka a pregnancy test.

I came home and took it alone. I didn’t tell him because I didn’t want to see the disappointment on his face again. BUT my friend, IT WAS POSITIVE. I just stared at it for I don’t know how long. I walked outside where Brent was getting the mail. He saw I had been crying and came to me asking what was wrong. I held up the test. On our front sidewalk, he literally fell to his knees and began crying. I knelt beside him and we cried, thanking God.

When I settled, that soft whisper in my heart said, “Think of the hope you could have shared today.”

My breath left me because I knew exactly what that meant. Had I shared our journey beginning with that day in my car, God could have shown his faithfulness to others just as strongly as he showed it to us that day. I was too late. Sharing after the promise was fulfilled would not have required much faith on my part. I repented for doubting God and promised if he ever asked me again, I would say yes.

Almost two years later, I was praying for people struggling with the holiday and felt the same feeling in my heart that I felt in my car that day. I was supposed to share a little hope. I argued it was just my imagination, but I remembered my promise to God. I stepped out in faith and started the blog. I told myself if only my mom and sister read it, that would be fine lol.

I am thankful for a second opportunity. The story of our Beckham Jay has been shared, but I will never know who it was supposed to reach had I shared while I was in the midst of our struggle.

Moral of the story, if God has asked you to do something, don’t let doubt stop you. Sometimes his life missions for us are time sensitive and meant to help people RIGHT NOW.

But if you missed your first opportunity as I did, be encouraged because I truly believe God’s grace will give you a second chance. Be prepared for it, and when that time comes, say YES.

Love, Amy

 

Are you a “POSITIVE PATSY” or a “NEGATIVE NANCY”?

Are you a “POSITIVE PATSY” or a “NEGATIVE NANCY”?

Is your cup half empty or half full? What would your family say? What would your friends say?

I am going to pose a few scenarios below, Answer honestly to gain insight as to where your “positive meter” lands.

What would your reactions be in the following scenarios?

1. You go through a drive thru. You specifically say, “no pickles”. You pull out and…uh-oh there are exactly 4 pickles on your sandwich.
You..

a. Remove the pickles yourself and chow down. You recognize the employee was very busy and looked stressed. You hope her day gets better.

b. Roll your eyes, and immediately think about how they ALWAYS mess up your order! UGH! You may or may not eat the sandwich anyway, because ya know, waste not, want not.

c. Turn the car around, walk in and demand a refund and a new sandwich, while noting how frustrating it is you had to go through all of this trouble when you said, “NO PICKLES” in the first place.

2. You are driving to work. The car in front of you abruptly stops causing you to slam on the brakes. You spill coffee on your shirt.
You…

a. are thankful you keep napkins in the glove box and are even more thankful you didn’t wreck!

b. honk your horn! They should really be more careful!

c. Honk your horn with a finger gesture. AND OH GREAT, your shirt is ruined. Well, there goes your hopes for a good day!

3. Your friend doesn’t text you back.
You…

a. know they will get back to you when they can!

b. will give them approximately 5 minutes before you text again.

c. wonder if they realize how good of a friend you are. You ALWAYS respond when they text you.

Each ‘a’ is worth 3 points.
Each ‘b’ is worth 2 points.
Each ‘c’ is worth 1 point.

If you received 8-9 points, you are POSITIVE PATSY!
If you received 5-7 points, you are HAPPY HILLARY!
If you received >5 points, read on my little Negative Nancy

I have GOOD NEWS! Obviously, I made that quiz up and it has no scientific bearing whatsoever! Buuuttttt, a positive outlook can truly enhance your daily life and mental health!

FACT: It is easier to be negative in the moment of something unfortunate happening than to be positive.

ALSO FACT: Being positive will feel so much better than being negative in the long run.

I don’t think anyone wants to be negative. I believe people become that way for a variety of reasons.

One reason is that negativity is a defense mechanism. If I don’t get my hopes up, I will not be disappointed. If I expect to be let down, or for things to go wrong, then I won’t be taken off guard when they do. Some people are negative to prevent themselves from being vulnerable.

Another reason is that we may be surrounded by negative people. You really are the sum of the company you keep.

A negative mindset is harmful because it will take your current joy and prevent your future joy! Below I have listed some strategies that are GUARANTEED (by yours truly) to help you become more positive!

1. Ask yourself if it will matter in ten years. Will you remember they accidentally left pickles on your sandwich or that you spilled coffee ten years from today? No, so these are NOT reasons to be negative! These are “let it go” moments that are not worth your energy!

2.Avoid using words like “never” or “always”. They are dramatic words and are hardly ever true. They make you feel worse about the situation and contribute to pity parties. No one wants that!

3. Have an attitude of gratitude. It is difficult to be negative when you are thankful! We all have things to be grateful for!

4. Check your company. If you always feel drained after spending time with someone, that could be a sign their energy is negative. Limit your interactions with that person.

5. SMILE!
It may be fake at first, but usually people will smile back, and that will eventually trigger a real one! 🙂

Life is short, friend! A bad day is not a bad life! Each morning, declare that TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO HAVE A GOOD DAY and let your light shine!

Let’s be the POSITIVE PATSYS of the world!

Love, Amy