I Wish My House Was Messy.

My house is always clean. The laundry gets done quickly. The dishes are rarely stacked up in the sink. My counters are hardly ever sticky and nothing gets spilled. Everything gets put in its place and there is no clutter. My floor rarely needs sweeping and I never step on or trip over toys. My house is usually in perfect order . . . and it’s infuriating.

You see, my house used to be a wreck a lot of the time. We had diapers, wipes, blankets, books, applesauce pouches, Cheerios, toys, movies, and any other number of toddler paraphernalia strewn about the house. There were pink towels hung on the tub, sippy cups on the drying rack by the sink, random pacifiers hidden all over, and a trail of favorite toys leading to our daughter playing in the bathroom laundry hamper cabinet.

Now, there is none of that.

My daughter is gone.

Cancer took her from us three months before her third birthday.

img_5862

Where there once was sippy cups and tiny bowls, now there’s the coffee maker and a Rosemary plant I’m trying not to kill. The diaper bin is now full of her favorite things and put up in the closet with plastic bins of toys and clothes.The bathroom that once held her towels, bath toys, shampoos, soaps, and Tylenol now just has my stuff in it. I only have to worry about myself and my stuff each day. I no longer do extra laundry and dishes. There are no messes to sweep out from under a high chair and I only have to load my purse into the car. Diaper bags, snacks, car seats, extra clothes, strollers, and sunscreen aren’t on my radar anymore. In the evenings, I don’t end my night picking up the day’s mess and laying out what she needs for tomorrow. My grocery list is much shorter without extra milk, chicken nuggets, veggie pouches, diapers, yogurt, and Goldfish.

I’d give anything to have piles of laundry and dishes. I long to be late because I forgot snacks and had to change a diaper. I wish I didn’t get a full night’s sleep.

My house is always clean but, oh, how I wish it was messy.

img_4603

*Originally Published on Her View From Home*

Dear Military spouse on Veteran’s Day…

This post is not typical for me but, with it being Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share it anyways. I wrote this piece when a dear friend of mine’s husband deployed over the Summer.

*Originally Published on Her View From Home*

Dear military spouse,

I see you.

I see you counting down the days until he’s gone for basic training. I see you proudly by his side after he graduates. Sometimes I see you head to the courthouse for a quick wedding so you can stay by his side. I see you uproot your life and leave your family and friends to follow him to base after base, town after town, state after state, and sometimes, country after country. I see you making each new place a home as you join local military family groups, find activities for your kids, and get your new network of support set up.

I see you making as many memories as possible as you count down the days to his deployment. You take trips and go on dates and make sure he has everything he needs. You print pictures for him to have with him, leave love notes in his pockets and bags. You try as hard as you can to help your kids understand why Daddy has to leave and you hold them when they don’t get it. You give them all time together when you just want all of that time yourself. You buy “Daddy dolls” for the kids, get maps so you can track where he is, and make paper chains to count down the days until he’s home. Your Pinterest is full of deployment survival guides, military wife devotionals, care package ideas, and welcome home sign ideas.

I see you clutching onto his neck as you tell him goodbye not knowing if you’ll ever hug that neck again. I see you hold it together so he doesn’t have to see you cry. Then I see you hit your knees and sob as soon as he’s gone.

I see you trying to start your version of “new normal”. I see you set up play dates for the kids, trips to see family, and projects upon projects to keep you all occupied. I see you posting every article out there in support of our troops and veterans. I see you lifting boxes into the post office with overseas addresses. I see you posting his address and asking for encouraging letters and needed materials for him and his fellow soldiers. I see you frustrated because you’ve had yet another issue with military paperwork or healthcare. I see you being both Mom and Dad while trying to not let Dad’s role disappear while he’s gone.

You crash into your bed that feels too big and too cold, so some nights you end up gathering your kiddos in with you. You don’t sleep much, thinking about where he is and worrying you might miss a FaceTime or Skype call. You sit with the daily knowledge that the person you love most in the world is probably in danger or at least close to it.

I see you announcing the baby that will arrive before he gets home. I see you attending showers, decorating a nursery, and making birth plans without him here. You lean on your support system and do it without someone to share it with. You go into labor and try to get him on Skype to see his child come into the world. You do the newborn stage and so many others as a single parent.

I see you and your kids decked out in red, white, and blue. I see you waiting anxiously as you wait for his plane to land. I see your perfectly lettered welcome home sign. Your kids are bouncing up and down and the baby has a onesie saying “I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet you!” I see you keep yourself from sprinting to him as he gets off the plane. I see you hold your restraint until he’s dismissed to leave. And then, I see you finally get your hug. You jump on him and wrap him up with your arms and legs. Your kids tackle him and the baby finally gets to meet Daddy. You are a family again and you get to start a “new normal” over again.

You stand behind your man as he fights for our freedom. You see the politics and social media opinions that hate what he does and what he represents all while knowing he could die doing it. He isn’t the only one sacrificing. You sacrifice. Your children sacrifice. Your families all sacrifice.

You are strong. You are brave. You are a military wife.

And you are seen.

dreamstime_xxl_42171748.jpg

“God Bigger Man”

Job 26:7-14 
“He spreads the skies over unformed space, hangs the earth out in empty space. 
He pours water into cumulus cloud-bags and the bags don’t burst. 
He makes the moon wax and wane, putting it through its phases. 
He draws the horizon out over the ocean, sets a boundary between light and darkness. Thunder crashes and rumbles in the skies. Listen! It’s God raising his voice! 
By his power he stills sea storms, by his wisdom he tames sea monsters. 
With one breath he clears the sky, with one finger he crushes the sea serpent. 
And this is only the beginning, a mere whisper of his rule. 
Whatever would we do if he really raised his voice?!”

I don’t usually prefer the Message translations of verses…I’m an ESV and NIV gal but, today, this translation just was so good. It took the sometimes difficult wording of the Old Testament and brought it to life.

Job is listing the reasons that he clings to his faith instead of giving up in the face of his great suffering. (Remember: 10 kids gone, wealth gone, awful skin disease, etc.)

It’s so easy to see how BIG God is if you look for it. If we look around us, to the earth and waters here below, we see his almighty power. I mean hello, mountains, oceans too deep for man to explore, space….so much that we can never fathom….He made it all. Why would He make things that man, His creation, couldn’t get to and experience? Because He’s God-The Lord of all-Most High and Almighty….and He wanted to….do He did. He spoke and it was so.

His power and ‘bigness’ are everywhere we see and also everywhere we don’t see.

I think sometimes, seeing how big and powerful God is isn’t the problem. I think we can see that plainly but, the problem comes with something terrible happens. When your 2 year old gets cancer and dies.

img_8247

If He’s a BIG and GOOD God who is able to destroy evil with a breath….then why didn’t he cure my tiny baby? It would’ve taken zero effort….He could’ve healed her then gone back to all of the other much bigger things He does. But He didn’t. Or did He?

You see, I think we have miracles and healing backward. Are healing and peace amazing to see here on Earth? Absolutely!! Would I have rather had Sophie miraculously healed here and been a medical marvel? Absolutely!! Should we still pray and believe those are possible? Absolutely!!

But we also need to see that our version of healing isn’t all there is. The world looks and feels like the best place for us. We’ve come to see death as an end and not a beginning. Death-for those saved by faith through grace-is the beginning of Eternity and perfection with Jesus and all those who have gone before us. That doesn’t mean we should rush to get to death-we are called to live out our purpose and love others like Christ loved us while we are here. We just also have to accept the fact that everyone’s purpose has different timelines AND that we don’t get to understand the why behind each one.

Some are 98 or 56 years but, others are 21 or 2 years and 9 months. And still others are even 52 hours or a number of days or weeks inside their mother. Each life has a purpose. Not one is a surprise to God. No baby conceived or life ended catches Him off guard. And guess what? He’s big enough for all of them. He’s big enough for the long full lives and He’s big enough for the ones cut short.

And you know what else?
He’s big enough for those of us left behind when they’re gone. He’s big enough to catch our tears and comfort our souls until the day comes when Death is defeated for good and forever.

God is bigger friends. We don’t have to understand. Just have faith.

#SophieTheBrave #DoMoreForSoph #Godisbigger#OneDayCloser #VeggieTales

38242772_939626049556084_622094556485124096_n
*Photo from Sophie’s very favorite ‘Teggies’ episode: Where is God When I’m Scared?

Praise the Lord… in all things

Psalm 147: 1-9

Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry

38683619_945215462330476_6717157434504249344_n

I read this morning that the Bible says the phrase ‘Praise the Lord’ 250 times. There are also over 8,600 times of worship throughout Scripture. Those are not solely during times of celebration and ‘good’ things. In fact, if you’ve read the Bible…you know that there’s a lot of suffering. There’s a lot of disappointment and waiting. There’s evil and hate. From Genesis 3 all the way through to Revelation, sin runs rampant and destroys lives. Yet, there’s still praise and worship. Why? Because of the promise of sin’s defeat. The promise that ‘it is finished’. In Genesis three, in the same breath that sin is introduced into the world…the Lord responds with the promise of the One who will come and crush it. Hope is restored right after it’s lost.

This scripture builds my hope.
Hope in that the very same God that numbered and named the stars…the God that raised mountains, filled the seas, and separated the heavens from the earth. That same God-heals my broken heart and lifts me up. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Think about that. The stars-innumerable as they are-we can’t even see them all with even the most intricate telescope. The same God that numbered and named them all….He numbered and named you too. He cares for you. He hears the cry of your soul when your mouth can’t find the words and catches every tear. He heals your heart when it’s shattered.

On days of celebration and days of desperate sadness, He’s there.
And because of that…He deserves all praise and all worship.

Death is defeated friends. It IS finished. We just have to wait faithfully for Him to return and take us home.
And while we’re here……Praise the Lord. 

38391257_940863516099004_4068317349189517312_n

[HIS] Will not mine

“Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath. 
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God, 
and that to you, 
O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.”
Psalm 62:9-12

I think it’s so easy to say -put your faith in God and not man. We say ‘Just trust in the Lord’ when really we are trusting in ourselves and in the culture around us to validate us…even though we love Jesus.

The world tells us…
If we just make enough money…
If our kids go to the right school…
If we can just hit that number on the scale…
If our marriages can look happy…
If people ‘like’ our social media posts…
If we are deemed successful at work…
If our kids are well behaved…
If we have a 401k…
If we go to church…
If we serve at church…
If we just pray…

Then we’ll be happy.

It’s not wrong to want those things. It’s not wrong to want to be comfortable and happy.

But what happens when you put your faith and trust…all of your eggs…in those baskets and then…your kid gets aggressive cancer. Then that cancer mutates in a rare and unforeseen way. All of those things go out the door…and you’re in survival mode.

Your trust can’t be in man. Because man can’t do anything without God. The doctors can’t fix her without Him. All the money in the world can’t fix it. Marriage, work, social media…the world…none of it can fix her. Your sense of ‘control’…the imaginary control that you think you have over your life is gone.

When you’re there…you lean on the Lord in a way that the world could never handle. The world would crumble under the weight of your full body, heart, and soul. The grief and worry. Your prayers and energy. The world can’t handle it-Man can’t handle it-But God can.

Man will always fail you in some way.
The Lord can never and will never fail. His love and goodness endure forever. His Will is far greater than ours. Even when His Will is to heal someone in Heaven than here on earth. His Will, not mine, not man’s, not the world’s…HIS. 

38776707_946508322201190_11241535731400704_n

True Surrender

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. 
Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” 
It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. 
Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. 
They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish. 
Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of hosts is his name.”
Jeremiah 10:10-16

Let’s talk idols. An idol is defined as an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. Anything one values over God in their life. False gods, money, beauty, lust, success, power, fame…all of these are things that our culture worships.

Good things can be idols too if you value them over God. Seeking to make a difference, serving others, self-care…

An idol can also be a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered. Not a famous person…any person. Your spouse, boss, friends, pastor….your children….if you love and revere them over the Lord, they are an idol. 

img_2813

Seeking control over your life can be an idol. So can fear and worry.

It’s really easy being on a public platform, to value the approval of others. Am I saying the right thing? Posting appropriately? Am I being annoying? How many likes did that get?

The world can be your idol. Living your life as if THIS is all there is….

What are you holding onto? What can you give to the Lord or at least ask His help with? What are you valuing more than how HE sees you?

God promises that as we pray and meditate on His Word, the Holy Spirit will so satisfy us in Christ that our idols are destroyed.

Lately I’ve been asking the Lord to help me not let Sophie be an idol in my life. That He will grant my heart the ability to long for HIM more than I long for her. I pray I will seek to share HIS story through hers and that I will just be an obedient vessel writing what He puts on my heart. 

38801292_947504388768250_7888355803072036864_n

God is Bigger than Doubt

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
Jeremiah 32:27

I’ve re-read this verse so many times today. The Lord’s message to us here is so simple, NOTHING, not.one.thing is too hard for Him. Yet, for some reason we doubt Him all the time. We don’t openly call it doubt because for me personally, I fully believe my God is big and able. I truly believe all that He says He is. But I’d be lying if I said I’ve never doubted who He is.

I’ve asked myself Is the same God of the Bible that performed miraculous things…is that God capable of helping me? Is He big enough for the grief and pain that I feel? Does He see little ole me?

The answers, by the way, are yes. Even when I can’t see it.

Doubt affects us all. The reality is that no one’s faith is ever perfect in this life. It’s part of living here in a broken world full of sin. But, if something isn’t perfect, you know what is possible? Growth and improvement. My faith is not perfect, so it can grow and become stronger.

Doubt is like a gap between our faith and perfect faith. There is nothing Christians cannot doubt. Sometimes we doubt our salvation, God’s love for us, the reliability of Scripture, the existence of God, or the identity of Christ. But Jesus is the bridge for our gap.

It’s easy on this side to think-Is God really big enough to handle my problems along with everyone else’s? Where is God in this?

He is everywhere, always. In all places, at all times, with us all. 

38814262_948497215335634_8300336711146143744_n